I am at my wits end dealing with these issues, and hoping someone here might have some miraculous insight or could help.
For years I have had issues with tightness/spasms in my traps, particularly on the right side, starting with a bjj injury. Also, my traps were taking over for my upper back muscles during movements. I have been working to correct this but the more I do the worse pain gets in my upper back. There is now pain to the point where working out hurts almost too much and I don't want to for fear its making something worse. Just doing a bent over rear fly with no weights at all hurts my shoulder blade area. This pain is also brought on anytime I extend or rotate my thoracic area.
About 6 years ago, I was put into a can opener during bjj. I should have tapped right away, but I fought and escaped (bad idea...for those guys that do bjj, remember to tap early and often. It's not worth an injury to fight it). That night, I had pain in my right trap area and couldn't turn my head to the right. It healed up after a few weeks and I went back to bjj. For the next two years, I would occasionally tweak my neck again, and have to take a week or so off, but it always healed up fine. About 3.5 years ago, I hurt it badly. Someone had my back and an arm around my head, and I was twisting to turn into his guard, and heard a crack-crack-crack sound in my neck. Or maybe pop-pop-pop, or something like that. Pain gradually came on over the course of an hour, and, like the first time I hurt my neck, I couldn't turn my head to the right. Unfortunately, this time it didn't get better like normal. After a few weeks, I went to the doctor who gave me and MRI which was fine, and sent me to PT for a few months, which didn't help. After that the Dr. referred me to a pain management specialist who just said take Ibuprofin when it hurt...not much help. After that I went to a chiropractor, who took X-rays and said I had a loss of lordosis in my neck. I went to him for two months or so, and when he cracked my neck I felt great for about thirty minutes, but it had no lasting effect. I tried going back to bjj a couple times, but any time someone grappled with my neck it caused my trap muscles to spasm and caused pain for a couple days. At this time I was getting real busy with school so I stopped trying to go back to bjj and dealt with moderate pain/tightness in my traps and upper back for the past couple years. It basically felt like my traps were always spazzed out and trigger points constantly between my shoulder blades, but no acute pain. I was able to lift weights, but not grapple. Any time someone got a hold of my neck, my traps would spasm out more than normal and cause pain for a couple days. I dealt with this for a long time; I couldn't do bjj, but at least I could lift weights. And, I always figured that I'm young, and it'll go away on its own some day (wrong). A few months ago I tried doing dragon flags for the first time. I can't do one, so I was working on just negatives. For the first few reps, I felt pain in my upper back, like the bench wasn't padded enough or something, but then I realized the pain was coming from like the muscles in my upper back and not just from rubbing on the bench. I stopped doing them, and a couple minutes later noticed my right trap start to spasm out and clamp up again. 6 months or so before this I had gone through surgery for a hip impingement and labral tear, and liked the doctor I had seen for that so I went to see if he couple help me at all. Said I had a trap strain and bad posture (upper crossed syndrome) and sent me to PT. As I worked with them, they said that every time I did a horizontal row or something like that, my traps took over at the end and when I squeezed my shoulder blades together, I shrugged up also. So, for the past couple years, any time I did a row thinking I was helping strengthen my upper back, I was really worsening the situation because my traps were taking over. They worked with me on the muscles in my upper back and also cracked my back and neck to loosen things up. This is when my upper back began to hurt any time I did an exercise involving it, such as fly's, rows, ext. The pain was manageable and I worked through it. After PT for 8 weeks or so, there was no improvement, so the doctor tried giving me trigger point injections at a couple spots in my right trap and shoulder blade area. Back to PT for 8 more weeks, and again, no improvement. They said basically my posture was bad and I needed to work to correct my muscle imbalances and it would take a long time to improve due to a lifetime of bad habits. (I agree I need to work on this). I stopped going to PT and kept doing exercises to correct my posture. Any time I hit the muscles between my shoulder blades there was some pain, but I could work through it. I decided to go to a chiropractor who does Graston technique to see if he could help things for me. For a couple weeks this seemed to not really be helping or hurting. However, last week, my upper back and neck started killing me. I had started doing exercises to stretch into thoracic extension, so that might have hurt it, or maybe he cracked my back in a certain way to hurt it, I don't know. But now, if I extend or rotate my thoracic spine there is pain between my shoulder blades, which is way worse than its ever been. I can't do exercises with my upper back due to pain. I just got x-rays taken, but have not been back to the chiropractor yet. Thinking of telling him to just Graston me and not crack me. I would love to be able to do bjj again but realize that will probably not happen. However, at this point, I just want to be able to lift weights again and get through the day without having to get up at work every 15 minutes and rub a lacrosse ball on my back due to things spasming, and constantly rubbing my neck due to traps that feel locked up all the time. If anyone has any insight as to what could be going on or anything to help me, please do so. I can post my xrays if that would be helpful.
Thank you very much,
-Neck and upper back piss me off, can’t workout without pain or do bjj.
-If extend or rotate my thoracic area, there is pain.
-Need to exercise to correct muscle imbalances, but can’t without acute pain. (Should I push through it? it seems the more I do the more it hurts…)
-fucking help please.