Weightlifter Gets Her “World Class” Shoulders Back

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As a four-time national masters weightlifting champion, Chicagoan Gwen Chamberlin is an athlete whose success in the sport came later in life. After starting Crossfit, Gwen slowly gravitated toward weightlifting at the age of 45. One decade later, she’s developed an impressive resume in the world of competitive weightlifting – even after overcoming a few obstacles along the way.

A few years ago, the demands of the sport began to affect her shoulders. She sought general medical advice at first before realizing she needed more extensive care. Her physical therapist recommended Dr. Gregory Nicholson, a sports medicine shoulder specialist at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. After meeting him, Gwen was impressed with his experience in shoulder care and his supportive attitude. “He didn’t treat me like an old lady. He treated me like an athlete,” she shares.

Dr. Nicholson diagnosed her with a torn supraspinatus tendon and posterior cuff. The supraspinatus muscle is located on the back of the shoulder and is part of the three muscles that make up what is referred to as the rotator cuff, which helps to lift and rotate the arm. Rotator cuff repair surgery reattaches these muscles to the bones of the shoulder.

Dr. Nicholson recommended repair surgery to get her back to health and back to the gym. After undergoing surgery with Dr. Nicholson, Gwen found that the recovery time away from the gym was well worth it. In fact, she achieved her personal lifetime best weight lift.

Despite a newly repaired and thriving shoulder, she started to experience nagging pain in her other shoulder, threatening her goals. Naturally, Gwen went back to Dr. Nicholson. Almost two years to the day after her first surgery, he performed a second rotator cuff surgery on the opposite shoulder, during which he also discovered the need to repair the bicep muscles.


“I am so grateful that I’m now back to health and competing with what he calls my ‘world class shoulders.’”


Today, Gwen is showing no signs of slowing down. Within eight months of her second shoulder surgery, she was back lifting at full strength and with full range of motion. This allowed her to prepare for the Masters National Championship this month. She’s also set to compete in the Pan American Masters in June and the Masters World Championship in August.

“Dr. Nicholson is one of the best,” Gwen explains.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Gregory P. Nicholson, call 877-MD-BONES. For more information about keeping your shoulders healthy, visit www.shouldersforlife.org or https://chicagoshoulderdoc.com/.

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