Yesterday, my left shoulder temporarily dislocated during the most safe and relaxing position of my workout: child’s pose.

After 15 years of ignoring this condition, I realize I now have a problem.

I was in my favorite class of the week — Saturday morning PiYo — and as I fanned my arms above my head and adjusted into Warrior II pose, my shoulder did its thing. That annoying thing it has done occasionally over the years, and which it has done more frequently over the past few years. The bone dislodged, which was incredibly painful. I quickly bent down on my mat, massaging it, hoping it’d slip back into its socket. Ten or so seconds later, it clicked back into place, and — because I’m an idiot and think my body can handle it — I resumed.

I figured it was safe to do so, since we were now cooling down in our final minutes of stretching and resting. Lie in child’s pose, with your hands stretched out on the mat. Stretch your right hand under your left. Then your left hand under your right. And now, back to center.

And with that, my left shoulder dislodged again — in child’s pose, of all poses.

After class, I couldn’t even roll up my mat.


It took a while before the bone slipped back into place the second time; I showed one of my instructors and she told me that my shoulder was subluxated. I’ve never known the term for this, even after seeing a physical therapist in my mid-twenties (who then showed me a number of band resistance exercises to do regularly, which — of course — I never continued).

So, yeah. My name is Cheri, and I experience chronic shoulder subluxation, and I have avoided doing anything about it for 15 years. Subluxation, technically, is when the humerus — the bone of the upper arm — is temporarily dislodged from the socket. The difference between dislocation is that subluxation is temporary: the muscles and ligaments surrounding the joint eventually place the humerus back where it should be.

I fear, though, that having experienced this since I was 20 or so years old, the connective tissues are too weak and damaged to fully heal, and I may have to do more than strengthening exercises to make the joint more stable.

I missed class yesterday, and am resting again today and likely tomorrow; in the past, after my shoulder pops back in, it takes a matter of minutes for the area to feel better. But two days later, my shoulder is still quite sore, so I don’t think I’m working out or lifting weights for the next several days. As I’ve written here over the past several months, daily exercise has become routine in my life again, and it has made me happier and healthier.

It sucks to injure yourself doing something you really enjoy.



5 thoughts on “Setback”

  1. Aaaaaarrrrrgh! I know exactly what you mean – that ignoring something for years and years, that thinking you’re somehow invincible and that it will heal itself and go away. I have a thing with my hip, I know it’s reduced cartilage but suspect it’s more than that. I want to walk the Camino – guess I’m gonna have to get my hip properly sorted. Hope you get your shoulder sorted. I hate that feeling when you can’t do all you want to do because if some kind of injury. Heal quickly.


  2. I dislocated my shoulder when I was about five and it was agony, I still remember the sensation of it being popped back in (*winces*) so I know exactly how you feel. Hope you recover quickly.


  3. Ouch! I have also some issues with my shoulders and I am practising Yoga in combination with my Feldenkrais lately, but some of the Yoga positions are, in my opinion, too extreme or achieved creating a lot of tension in the body.
    Yoga has an ideal image of the body, many positions tend to create space amongst bones and can give amazing flexibility.
    However, in the long term too much flexibility can be an issue and also ligaments can be torn. Hope you will recover quickly.


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