I was so close to retiring from swimming, but this kept me going [sp]

Back in 2005, I had a really bad injury on my back during one of my swimming sessions. To elaborate further, we started doing pull ups at a really young age to give us the upper body strength we needed for swimming.

However, it was pretty impossible to do pull ups at our age as our muscles were not fully developed yet. We did assisted pull ups instead, whereby it was done in pairs and the other person would be holding our legs and supporting us while we did each pull up.


P.S. Don’t laugh at my photo, it was taken in 2005 and I never knew that I would use it on my blog. 

… Nah I’m just joking, I laughed at my photo as well.

As a person, I’ve been competitive since young, so I’d always push every set to my limits before letting go, but it backfired really bad during this incident:
We were given a set of 10 pull ups to do, but I was really tired that day so I could only do 9. But due to my competitive personality, I just could not settle for 9.

Instead of asking my partner to put my legs down, I pushed on and attempted my last rep. I was struggling so much that I could only pull up halfway, and before I knew it, my hand slipped and I fell on the floor with quite a huge impact. It wasn’t a normal fall as my partner was still holding onto my legs. My back literally arched in an awkward angle when I fell.

I kid you not, IT WAS REALLY PAINFUL. 

It kinda felt like a soccer player just did a penalty kick and instead of kicking the ball, he kicked me instead. I know I may be exaggerating a little, but that was how it felt when I was at that age, nothing ever hit me so hard before.

“Oh my god Sheng Jun are you ok?!” My partner was in shock.

“Yeah… it’s nothing.” I tried to rub off my tears of pain when nobody was looking as it was actually hurting A LOT. I didn’t wanna let anyone know about it because of pride issues and embarrassment, so I pretended like nothing happened. 

I didn’t let my parents know about this incident at first, but as the days went by the pain started to get really bad on my lower back to the point that it was unbearable. I had to leave training sessions early because my back was hurting so much every time I swam and I just couldn’t bear with the pain.

When I finally broke it out to my parents, they initially got quite angry that I kept this serious injury from them, but I apologized and they did their best to help me with my injury. We consulted several doctors for help, but most of them recommended back braces or shoe insoles, so I tried those for awhile.

Due to the seriousness of the injury, the back braises and insoles didn’t really help much so I stopped swimming totally as my back was just hurting too much. At that point of time, my parents thought that that was the end of my swimming career, even I myself didn’t see a way of continuing swimming.


Swimming was my life since young, it gave me a strong sense of identity and meaning to life, so quitting the sport was like the end of the world to me. As much as I didn’t want to quit, I had no choice as I didn’t see a better option than to let my body recovery by itself.

After much consideration, my parents and I both agreed that we quit swimming for the time being, and go back when my back is fully healed. It was really a sad news for me but I really didn’t have a choice. (I actually cried when the decision was made, that was how much I really loved swimming haha)

So you may be wondering, if I had such a bad back injury, why am I still swimming today?

X Ray structure

Well, consider myself lucky – things took a turn when we saw a free Chiropractic roadshow that was running at Parkway Parade. At that point of time, we had no idea what Chiropractic was, but we saw different skeleton structures over there which caught our eye a little, and since I had nothing to lose, why not check it out for a bit?

X Ray structure 2

So here was my experience: I saw a doctor holding X ray figures and explaining to people the different types of lower back problems that people encounter due to their daily regime, and how Chiropractic care can help you improve your posture and cure those lower back pains.

Ok cool you’re good at talking, so why must I believe you? 

skeleton structure

I was really skeptical at first as doctors have been helping me and they didn’t seem to work, so why should I trust a Chiropractor? I told my mum to not waste time and move on.

On the other hand, my mum was more open minded.

“Sheng Jun! We also got nothing to lose, why not just try it? You everyday also complain your back pain, plus it’s free also right!” My mum tried to persuade me.

“You want you try la, good then you tell me, if bad at least I’m not the one that kena.” 

… I was such a naughty boy.

So my mum got on and let the doctor (Dr Bryan) access her spine. After some assessment, he was ready to give my mum a slight treatment to ease off some lower back tension.

All I could remember from that was “CRACK… CRACK” on her lower back and it looked super shiok.

“Wa eh Sheng Jun, it’s really damn good, I feel a lot better now.” My mum was really impressed. 

“Really meh, aiya I think first la. Can we go elsewhere now.” I was still skeptical about it though it looked super good. 

Overtime my mum managed to persuade me to try a Chiropractic treatment, and eventually I did try it out since my back was already in an incurable state so I had nothing to lose.

In order to start a proper Chiropractic treatment I had to get my X-ray done so that Dr Bryan could see which way my spine was slanted and work accordingly to get it back into place.

Chiropractic 2

I did an X-ray and my spine was a little slanted, that was causing all my pains during swimming. (The photo above isn’t an X Ray, but you could tell my backbone was slanted) Dr Bryan adjusted my spine based on my X-ray and after the first treatment, I was quite amazed as I could feel a slight difference in my back. The tension on my back felt lesser and I just felt better overall.

Besides feeling better, the “cracks” felt really shiok as well. I know often a times many of us twist left and right vigorously just to get that daily “crack” that we need. At the Chiropractor, it’s constant cracks for your neck and whole spine, which feels really good.

Here’s an example of how a ‘crack’ works:


He basically feels the areas which are tight in your neck before initiating the crack. Don’t worry, it’s not painful and you feel super relaxed after the adjustment. It kinda feels like the best back/neck crack you ever had in your life!

Just imagine an endless chain of cracks, how awesome is that?

I was really happy with the results after my first session at the Chiropractor so I decided to buy a package with them so that I could come on a regular basis.

Now for the good news: over the course of 3 months, Dr Bryan cured my injury and I was finally able to swim without pains again. Trust me, it was really an indescribable feeling being able to swim normally again. I felt so much freedom in my strokes and nothing was holding me back. In fact, I felt much more streamlined in the pool as my spine was straight. The thought of quitting swimming really scared me but I’m glad that Chiropractic care has helped me continue my career in swimming.

pang sheng jun bryan hymes final

Over the years I’ve established a great relationship with Dr Bryan from Chiropractic First and I still visit him before every major competition to get myself adjusted so that I’m more streamlined in the pool. It does make a difference especially when every millisecond counts for my races now.

It’s also a pleasant news knowing that they have got me on board as a brand ambassador for Chiropractic First! This will definitely help me in my swimming career, factoring in the amount of times I get adjusted before a major competition.

I’m really glad that I’m part of the Chiropractic First team now. 🙂 Can’t believe it’s already 10 years since my first visit to Chiropractic first! Time really flies.

Anyway I hope this blog post will give you an idea on how Chiropractic can help sportsmen with any injuries or giving the extra edge when it comes to races! I personally go for a Chiropractic treatment before my races and it has helped.

If you’re wondering, this is the Chiropractor center that I go to:

chiropractic first

I’ll be sure to let you guys know if there are any good offers coming up if you’re ever interested in getting yourself adjusted as well! 🙂


*Photos in this blog post were taken with my Nikon AW 1 Underwater Camera


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