T Nation

Advice for Pec Pain

I’ve been reading T-Nation for about a month now and this is my first post. I’m requesting any advice you guys might have concerning some rehabilitation. I work as a security contractor and I’m overseas right now, forward-deployed. There are plenty of gyms here but no physical therapists, only emergency medicine people, so I’m out of ideas.

I’m 39 years old and have been weight training off and on for about fifteen of the last twenty years. I spent ten years in special ops and consequently did quite a bit of damage to my body, to include 3 ruptured discs, neck and wrist arthritis, and a hernia, for the main ones.

The lifestyle I lead prevents me from ever getting solid, consistent training, but I do the best I can.

I’ve been over here 4 months on this trip. I started a split routine when I got here; day 1, chest and shoulders; day 2, back and triceps; day 3, legs and biceps. I had some good success with this in the past so I thought I’d try it again.

About two weeks into the program, I felt pain a day AFTER a chest/shoulders workout. It was a muscular pain along my left collarbone, basically the top of my pectoral, about an inch or two long. Very precise location, and it felt kind of like “shinsplints” that runners get.

I iced it and prescribed myself 800mg ibuprofen x 4 daily; I repeated icing it several times per day. After a week I started back with the workout. But for chest, I would only bench the bar weight for a few weeks, and over the next two months continued to increase the weight slightly.

I was trying to avoid atrophy and to also maintain “range of motion” and keep stretching the muscle gently. I was able to continue with shoulders normally.

Two weeks ago I had experienced no pain and was ready to jump in again. But after three chest workouts the problem returned. This time it was obviously because the muscle was just “tight” for a few days after the workout and wasn’t warming up enough or recovering fast enough to cope.

This time the pain is less centralized as the supporting muscles in the neck try to compensate, and it’s starting to affect my left shoulder.

I’m wondering if anyone has any rehab advice for me. I’ll be over here another two months. I’ve been hitting the rest of the body but my upper body is my weakness to begin with and it’s falling farther behind. Perhaps I should try an alternate exercise such as dips? or other compound exercises that will allow me to work my pecs and shoulders?

I am planning to switch to a full body routine, probably Waterbury, after I get this figured out.

Sorry if I’ve been overly verbose - just wanted to provide enough info. -b30

You didn’t mention where you are, just “I’m overseas right now, forward-deployed”

Active Release Technique might help.

Go to there search engine and see if there is a provider in the country you’re in. Go to:

www.activerelease.com

and click on Provider Search.

It lists many countries.

Good luck. Hope this helps.

[quote]t-guy69 wrote:
You didn’t mention where you are, just “I’m overseas right now, forward-deployed”

Active Release Technique might help.

Go to there search engine and see if there is a provider in the country you’re in. Go to:

www.activerelease.com

and click on Provider Search.

It lists many countries.

Good luck. Hope this helps.
[/quote]

Thanks for the reply. I usually don’t want to pin down my location too specifically for security reasons. But I suppose I can admit that I’m in Iraq, in an area that’s bad enough that we don’t travel. So I’m essentially on my own for another two months or so. I’m going to check out the link, and if my problem hasn’t resolved by the time I get stateside, I will try it out. -b30

There are a couple of articles on this site advocating the use of a foam roller or a tennisball to self massage.

Also, check out the many articles written about shoulder problems and how to rehab them.

Stretch the pecs and the cuff several times a day.

www.exrx.net/Stretches/ChestGeneral/BehindHead.html
www.exrx.net/Stretches/ChestGeneral/Doorway.html
www.exrx.net/Stretches/DeltoidAnterior/Doorway.html
www.exrx.net/Stretches/Biceps/Standing.html
www.exrx.net/Stretches/Subscapularis/Broomstick.html

And strengthen the upper back and posterior deltoids.

Also, first part of this article.
8 Weeks to Monster Shoulders
by Alwyn Cosgrove and Chad Waterbury
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=818555

These articles
Heal that Hunchback!
by Mike Robertson, M.S., C.S.C.S., U.S.A.W.
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459846

Eric Cressey wrote a lot of stuff about §rehabbing the shoulder.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:
There are a couple of articles on this site advocating the use of a foam roller or a tennisball to self massage.

Also, check out the many articles written about shoulder problems and how to rehab them.

Stretch the pecs and the cuff several times a day.

www.exrx.net/Stretches/ChestGeneral/BehindHead.html
www.exrx.net/Stretches/ChestGeneral/Doorway.html
www.exrx.net/Stretches/DeltoidAnterior/Doorway.html
www.exrx.net/Stretches/Biceps/Standing.html
www.exrx.net/Stretches/Subscapularis/Broomstick.html

And strengthen the upper back and posterior deltoids.

Also, first part of this article.
8 Weeks to Monster Shoulders
by Alwyn Cosgrove and Chad Waterbury
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=818555

These articles
Heal that Hunchback!
by Mike Robertson, M.S., C.S.C.S., U.S.A.W.
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459846

Eric Cressey wrote a lot of stuff about §rehabbing the shoulder.[/quote]

Thanks. I think this is what I need. I have had slightly less range of motion and strength in my left shoulder for a while. Also, since I initially injured my left pec, I continued rowing exercises and likely threw the balance off even further. I think that by following the Cosgrove/Waterbury article I can repair this. Thanks again -b30