Pull-Ups And Turmeric

About 5 years ago, I made the random decision that I was going to start doing pull-ups. Although I have been involved in sports my whole life and I’m still pretty active in the gym, pull-ups are not something that I have ever been good at.

My main excuse was my height. I’m about 6’4”, and I have long arms. I’m not exactly built for pull-ups. In fact, the first time I went to the gym to get my baseline pull-up number…I did 1 1/2 pull-ups. That’s right…I counted the 1/2 pull-up. It was hard.

No worries. I had decided that I was going to get better at pull-ups, and that’s what I was going to do. I attacked it head-on and for the next year, I pretty much did pull-ups or something pull-up related every single day.

The good news, I got to where I could do 25 unassisted pull-ups. Pretty good for someone who started at 1 1/2. The bad news, I completely trashed my right shoulder. The wear and tear from daily shoulder exercises had taken its toll.

Before I go any further, let me say this. Don’t do what I did. I was so locked in on my goal, I didn’t give my body a chance to recover. I sacrificed my long-term success for my short-term gains. That was a mistake.

Back to my shoulder…at first, it was just a mild pain. I would describe it as more of an ache than anything else. I was pretty sure if I rested and gave my shoulder a chance to heal, I would be fine. So that’s what I did.

Initially, it felt better, but as soon as I started using my shoulder again, the pain came back. Not only did it come back, but it got worse. The pain was no longer just a mild ache, it was sharp and shooting. It got to the point where I couldn’t lift an 8 lbs weight over my head, I couldn’t play catch with my kids, and the pain would wake me up almost every night.

I know from my clinical experience that shoulders can take a while to heal, but I was trying every trick I knew and it wasn’t getting any better. I started to think that shoulder surgery was in my near future. Thankfully, it never came to that, and I’ll tell you why.

About 1 year ago, a guy from the gym asked me if I had ever taken turmeric. Apparently, a lot of the weight-lifters at the gym were taking it because of it’s natural anti-inflammatory benefits. He knew I was having trouble with my shoulder, and suggested that I try it.

What do I have to lose? I did a little research about turmeric, and decided to take a turmeric supplement instead of just taking the spice by itself. Turmeric is absorbed by the body better when it is accompanied with black pepper. I wanted to get the maximum benefit of the turmeric, and I didn’t want to mess around with trying to come up with my own turmeric/black pepper mixture. The supplement already had the black pepper in it, so that’s the route I took.

The supplement I end up getting was called Dr. Tobias’s Turmeric 15x. This is NOT a commercial for that particular supplement. There are a lot of fine turmeric supplements out there. I’m just letting you know what I got because some of you are going to wonder. 

The short version of the story is my shoulder got much better. I would say it’s 95% healed. I’m pretty sure that the other 5% is just going to be my lasting reminder to not do stupid things. I can live with that.

But I didn’t take the turmeric and instantly start feeling better. It wasn’t like that at all. Actually, I bought a 3-month supply. A month or so into it, I was pretty convinced that the turmeric wasn’t helping. I felt exactly the same, but I didn’t give up.

I was determined to finish my 3-month supply before I came to any conclusions. I know that supplements are NOT like medications. Medications are designed to work very quickly. Supplements don’t work like that. When people expect a supplement to work as quickly as a medication, they often give up on supplements too early.

It took about 7-8 weeks before I started noticing a change. The first thing I noticed is that the pain wasn’t waking me up at night. Then I noticed that I could lift more weight at the gym. Eventually, I got to where I could throw a ball again. I was pretty blown away. It turns out that most of my shoulder pain was the result of chronic inflammation. Once I got the inflammation under control, my body was finally able to heal.

It’s been about a year now, and I still take turmeric on a daily basis. It has helped me a lot, and I’ve recommended it to a lot of people.

I’m not saying it’s a cure-all. It’s not. There are a lot of reasons why a shoulder may have pain. The same is true for your back, your knees, your ankles, or any other part of your body. There isn’t one perfect solution for everyone.

Some problems require chiropractic adjustments. Some require therapy. Some problems require surgery. Some problems may just require rest. Regardless, inflammation is a serious problem for a lot of people, and it often keeps people in pain. That’s why it makes a lot of sense to reduce inflammation whenever possible. Maybe you should give turmeric a try?