Hello all. I would like to share my "sports hernia" story in hopes that it helps somebody avoid the many years of suffering I endured.
In 2008, I felt a pain in my left lower abdomen after playing basketball. I was at the gym for several hours most days playing ball & lifting weights so I figured I pulled a muscle or something. Went to the urgent care & they said nothing was wrong. Keep training as usual they said. So I did.
The pain continued to get worse & worse over time so I made appointments with multiple doctors, specialists, etc. to figure out what was wrong. After a bunch of doctors & scans said nothing was wrong, a local doctor said I had an inguinal hernia & needed surgery to repair it. Being young, naive, scared & in pain, I had the surgery that this doctor claimed would be the solution to my pain. An laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair with mesh.
Not only did I not get better after this, my pain increased SEVERELY & I couldn't do anything for months. I had to lay in bed all day in my early 20s, only leaving the house for doctors appointments to continue the search for what was causing my pain. Of course, the inguinal hernia surgeon acted surprised when I complained of continuing pain. He pumped me full of narcotic pain medication & told me to deal with it.
I researched all I could & ended up on this site, in this thread, reading about sports hernias & the doctors who repair them. At this point I had seen well over a dozen doctors & had several different scans, tests, physical therapists, medications, etc. to no avail.
I made an appointment with Dr. Demetrius E Litwin in Worcester, MA for a consultation & after driving halfway across the country to meet with him, he told me I had a sports hernia & could either take several years away from activity or have a "repair" surgery with him that he felt would solve my problem. Being young, naive & anxious to get back to sports & life I opted for the exploratory surgery he recommended.
This surgery left me in even more pain than the previous & I was horrified at how much worse things had gotten. Of course, pain is to be expected after a major surgery, but I'm talking months/years afterwards, I was still in more pain then when I started. I would drive all the way to Worcester to meet with him for follow-ups & he did not even show up! Instead, sending an assistant to meet with me. When I called the office about the continuing pain, they told me to "rub some icy hot on it." My experience with him & his office was beyond disrespectful. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy & truly believe he is an evil person.
Instead of recognizing a pattern of surgeons mutilating instead of helping, I continued to place trust in the traditional medical industry & sought out yet another surgeon mentioned many times in this thread: Dr. William Meyers. He helped all of my favorite athletes with their "sports hernias." What could go wrong?
I drove again across the country to his office in Philadelphia for a consultation. He had scans done & told me what I did indeed have a sports hernia that was improperly repaired by Dr. Litwin & he could fix me up with a surgery. Not only that, but I needed to have the mesh removed from my first surgery as it was all bunched up & causing even more problems. Also, the scan showed a sports hernia on my right side too, not just my left!
Of course, he recommended I get both of these "sports hernias" repaired, but since it would be too painful to do both at once, I should instead have two separate surgeries with him, for over 10 grand each! Oh & he doesn't work with insurance either so that's out of pocket.
Broke due to what was now a physical disability preventing me from working a job, in constant pain & also in debt from college degrees & multiple failed surgeries, I was desperate enough to buy Dr. Meyers' sales pitch. I was also very fortunate to have my parents be able to pay for these surgeries. So let's get them scheduled & get back to living, right?
Wrong, the scan the scan also revealed a labral tear in my hip that needed to be repaired first. Of course, his good buddy Dr. Struan Coleman in New York was the guy I needed to see, said Dr. Meyers.
Wow, Dr. Coleman was the team doctor for the New York Mets! Impressive. I was sure nothing could go wrong with a guy like that, so I booked an appointment with him in New York City & once again, drove across the country to see a surgeon.
Of course Dr. Coleman was certain he could repair my hip tear & make my pain go away. So I had the surgery. Not only did he "repair" my labral tear, he cut my psoas muscle to "lengthen" it too while I was knocked out. Of course, this resulted in several more months of rehab & no relief from the pain. They were happy to pump me full of narcotics every time I followed up to complain about my pain & ask what to do.
The lengthening of the psoas muscle that was done as part of this surgery may be the worst of them all & caused MAJOR problems as now my left psoas is much looser & longer than my right, which is of course, unnatural. It took several years of specialized psoas work with a massage therapist, intense stretching routines, pain & tightness to even get things back to "normal," which I doubt they will ever be.
Anyway, after Dr. Coleman mutilated me for a lot of money, I went back to see Dr. Meyers because I was still in pain (now hip & psoas pain too). It still didn't occur to me that I should stay away from surgeons, because my whole life I was taught that if you have a problem, you go to a doctor & they fix you.
Dr. Meyers performed the "sports hernia" surgery on my left side & assured me that this was the answer to my pain once & for all. It wasn't. He even gave me his "personal" phone number to call if I had any problems! Wow. Not realizing this is a predatory tactic to gain patients' trust, I felt special & that he really cared.
When I called him with pain & questions he told me to "grin & bear it." To work through the pain instead of resting. Of course, this didn't work so he prescribed me some heavy drugs with nasty side effects to get through it. When those didn't work, he had a brilliant idea - that I should come in for another sports hernia surgery on my right side!
Embarrassingly, I still didn't realize what was going on & went in for the second surgery with Dr. Meyers. This was my fifth surgery in just 3 years & again, it only made things much worse.
At this point I still had the initial pain that started everything in 2008, but now I also had chronic hip pain, psoas pain on one side, psoas tightness on the other, abdominal pain on BOTH sides, testicle pain, major scarring internally & externally, pieces of synthetic mesh inside of my body, major debt, destroyed credit, physical disability preventing me from work, severe depression & the feeling that I was crazy because I was still in pain after having operations with the finest doctors in the world who were telling me to "put some icy hot on it" & to "grin & bear it." Oh & I had an opiate addiction now too which my local doctor was happy to keep going by prescribing hundreds of pills at a time with multiple refills.
It was a foregone conclusion at this point that I would be permanently disabled with chronic pain for the rest of my life & the best I could hope for was to manage the pain. Local doctors had me convinced that shooting me up with numbing drugs & steroids would help, but of course those only made my legs go numb & caused sciatica which I didn't have previous to the shots.
Despite this extensive paper trail, I was denied disability by the state because the lawyer I hired to help me with the application made a mistake that caused me to look like a fool at the hearing in front of a judge. Ironically, he still sends me bills for this "work."
In a last desperate attempt to find a solution, I went to the Mayo Clinic & saw multiple doctors about my situation. One said I was crazy & needed to do an expensive course with him to fix my head. Another said that I should have my right hip operated on, because it was the only thing that was left un-mutilated. I didn't have to do it right away, but if I didn't do it within a few years, I would be in a wheelchair. Of course, I didn't do it & I'm not in a wheelchair.
The last doctor I saw at Mayo was not only the only one to tell me I didn't need a surgery, he insisted that I did not get anymore surgeries. His name was Dr. David Farley & he told me that he sees hundreds of patients each year who have failed sports hernia surgeries from doctors like Litwin, etc. & that he feels surgery is not the answer to this problem the majority of the time. He said the unfortunate nature of this injury & the human body is that it just needs a lot of time to heal. My life would have turned out a lot different if I had heard this in 2008.
Over the next few years I started studying nutrition & eliminating processed foods from my diet, which helped the pain tremendously & began the healing process. Unfortunately this led me down a rabbit hole of extreme raw food diets in an attempt to fully heal & while they did help initially, they caused more problems than they helped in the long run.
I also studied the work of Dr. John Sarno which was quite a revelation & helped me a lot.
Ultimately, it took several years of healing aka not getting surgeries, staying FAR away from doctors, eating a healthy diet, stretching, not overtraining, re-evaluating how much exercise is healthy (I no longer believe that endurance sports are healthy) & understanding the principles of John Sarno's work before I was able to consider myself healed.
I'm not the same as I was before this started of course, that was 13 years ago, but I'm finally strong & fit again, able to work & workout & do what I enjoy without pain. The experience totally changed me as a person for the better, but I wouldn't wish it upon anybody.
As a fellow human, I absolutely beg anybody who reads this to stay as far away as humanly possible from Dr. Litwin, Dr. Meyers, Dr. Coleman or any other doctor who suggests having a surgery for a "sports hernia."
At the very least, try eating right, resting & checking out Dr. Sarno's book first. The Great Pain Deception by Steve Ozanich is another great book to read. There's nothing to lose with this approach & if it doesn't work you can always go under the knife later & buy one of these doctors another new car.