T Nation

AC Injury and Recovery Time ?

After 15+ years of training, I’ve finally experienced my first significant injury. I can’t tell exactly when I hurt my shoulder or what I was doing, but I can trace it back to the New Years timeframe when I was working on Heavy Bench superset with pull-ups (to the front).

I recall leaving a workout with some kind of pain on the top of my collarbone and the front of my shoulder. Since that day, I’ve not been able to consistently work on any chest excercises (bench, flys, etc). Over the past few months, I have had weeks where I would try to ease back into a lighter Chest workout, only to have the pain return soon after I would start. Some weeks, I could perform dumbell bench without too much pain, but flys or anything with a barbell were out of the question.

After 3 months of shoulder/chest pain and laying-off any chest workouts with intensity or volume, I figured it was time to visit someone in the medical field to see why my shoulder just doesn’t want to heal.

I almost cried when the orthopedic surgeon I visited told me that my xrays indicated that I was “wearing out” my AC joint in my right shoulder. He never once told me that I wouldn’t be able to lift again nor did he tell me the “grade” of the damage. He basically laid out two options.

Option 1 - Take a cortizone shot to the shoulder joint and continue doing so as long as it was effective to allow me to continue working out, etc.

Option 2 - Surgery once Option 1 was no longer effective.

Does anyone know of any long term side effects of the cortizone shots? How long should I wait after the initial injection to start trying to rehabilitate the joint and tissue around it? Any recommendations for things I can do to slowly bring stregth back to the joint?

Through-out the injurgy I’ve been able to perform almost any workout painfree, the execption is anything dealing with barbell benchpress (reg. or incline), flys, or dips. Much to the surprise of my Ortho., most of the shoulder excercises (Overhead barbell, lateral raises, front raises, rear delts) really don’t hurt at all. The pain comes anytime I try to press anything in front of my chest or push myself up off the floor.

Can one truly recover 100% from an AC injury or is Surgery required? The doc made it sound like I would never be the same again and that once the damage has been done, you can’t recover without some level of surgery.

Please let me know if any of you have had this experience, I’m feeling old at 32.

That sucks. I wonder, if you stopped training would your shoulder heal? I screwed my lower back up so bad, I saw a few chiropractors.

I asked “will it heal up by its self?” they said no. Guess what, they were wrong but I let it heal. Don’t underestimate the human body God did a good designing it. If I were you I’d lay off the training for a bit. You’ll probably want to use your arm when you actually get old.

I know its hard to stay out of the gym. Don’t worry once you gain muscle it doesn’t take long to get it back.
PS I hope you like training legs

i’ve heard about low resistanse training, starting at lowest kilos, in the exersises for the shoulder and building up the strenght (after injuries…) doing them slow and 100% exactly, and slowly increase weight load over time " and feeling"

thrn maybe the area that has been injured can regain it’s strenght