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  1. #1
    Registered User homegymer's Avatar
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    Shoulder Pain Persists, anyone have first hand experience?

    I've been weight lifting for years, primarily using Power Lifting techniques and routines at first, and more recently moving to Bodybuilding style techniques and routines. There had been several incidents in the past where I would hurt my right shoulder up in the clavicle area - and I've figured out that by backing off and performing internal/external rotations for awhile would fix it. This has not happened in a long long time, since I've been implementing a more wholesome shoulder routine targeting each of the muscle groups.

    More specifically I guess to the point, a few weeks ago I hurt my shoulder. I don't know how I did it, or what caused it. But it hasn't gotten any better, and wasn't sure the best approach to fix it. Backing off and performing lighter shoulder work didn't seem to really help in the long run. In this case, the pain is right on the outside of the shoulder, on the side of the upper arm / humerous. I feel it most when:
    - bench pressing - chest work is entirely impacted
    - skullcrushers
    - shoulder pressing movements
    - lying on my right side on that shoulder with the arm raised
    - slight pain when performing tbar rows or bent over rows, but it is manageable
    - performing yard work and attempting to lift or twist equipment with that arm

    What feels fine and isn't impacted:
    - bicep curls
    - rear delt rows
    - leg/ab work
    - seated tricep extension with dumbbell behind/over head

    My best guess to the cause is:
    - bad form or overtraining in the gym, which would be a surprise perhaps since I've been performing the same routine for a few months now at least
    - forced work at home situation due to covid, and bad desk ergonomics setup

    I can't tell if I should be taking a 1-2 month break from the gym and performing stretching or cardio, or if I should be exercising and focusing on very light weight and strict form, or do nothing at all and let it rest, etc.

    Any ideas appreciated! Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Don't panic Skwidward's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by homegymer View Post
    I've ...Any ideas appreciated! Thanks!
    You mentioned in the past having pain in the front of the shoulder at the clavicle. To me, that implies an AC (acromioclavicular) joint injury—where your shoulder blade articulates with the clavicle at that sticky up, bony bit on top of your shoulder.

    This could be from DCO (distal clavicular osteolysis)—the cartilage wears down, so you have bone on bone causing arthritis (joint inflammation) and pain.

    Things that aggravate that joint and could indicate DCO:
    Pushing up from a chair, like in a dipping motion
    Reaching the arm from the injured side across your chest to touch your non-injured shoulder

    I had DCO and rehabbed it myself with help from Nainoa back in 2007. I kept a journal in the journal section.

    The basics of which were super light shoulder/RC stuff and one arm dB rows (the MVP) gradually creeping the weight up and no pushing at all.

    However, this new flare up sounds like your pain is now where your delts, maybe the medial delt in particular, meets your humorous.

    To me, that sounds like an impingement—the rotator cuff tendons are getting pinched between the head of the humorous and the acromion and are getting sheared causing pain.

    Things that aggravate an impingement:
    Internal rotation that comes with say... reaching back to wipe your a$$ with the arm on the injured side
    Reaching down between your legs from the front with the injured side’s arm like you’re gonna do a one-armed pull through and turning your hand anti-clockwise, internal rotation

    Been rehabbing this one for the last year.

    For this I basically do PNF diagonal shoulder movements with a theraband and some RC stuff. I’m about a month into finally doing some upper body stuff now with light resistance bands—the good ones that are like cables at the gym.
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  3. #3
    Registered User homegymer's Avatar
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    Reaching the arm from the injured side across your chest to touch your non-injured shoulder
    Interesting you mention this part. If I reach around in front of me, and grab my left shoulder, it feels mostly ok. But as soon as I push up on my right elbow I feel it.

    The things you mention that "aggravate impingement" I don't feel any discomfort at all actually (maybe this is expected?)

    I've been thinking about just taking a break for one month (I hate taking lifting breaks), and focus on religiously performing light shoulder stretch routines (some of which you refer to) as possible to open up the joint and let any inflammation go down. Not really sure what else to do. I don't have resistance bands, but I just placed an order for a cable pulley tower, which I'm hoping will help tremendously.
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  4. #4
    Don't panic Skwidward's Avatar
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    Skwidward is offline
    Originally Posted by homegymer View Post
    Interesting you mention this part. If I reach around in front of me, and grab my left shoulder, it feels mostly ok. But as soon as I push up on my right elbow I feel it.

    The things you mention that "aggravate impingement" I don't feel any discomfort at all actually (maybe this is expected?)

    I've been thinking about just taking a break for one month (I hate taking lifting breaks), and focus on religiously performing light shoulder stretch routines (some of which you refer to) as possible to open up the joint and let any inflammation go down. Not really sure what else to do. I don't have resistance bands, but I just placed an order for a cable pulley tower, which I'm hoping will help tremendously.
    The shoulder’s a complicated joint. There’re many things that can go wrong outside of those two types of injuries. I don’t mean to patronize; I’m sure you’re aware of that.

    Your plan sounds like a good one. I feel that allowing my shoulders to each move through their own particular ROM, within reason, with something like cables, or bands, or even dumbbells is the best way to go. This has always helped me in the past as opposed to forcing the joint to move through a certain ROM with a bar or whatever, which has always made things worse or caused more issues.

    As I’ve grown older I’ve definitely become a subscriber to the school of thought that encourages movements that do not cause pain and discourages those that do, regardless of what works for anyone else.
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