T Nation

Concerned About Getting a Shoulder Injury


#1

okay so recently i've been getting this sharp pain in my right shoulder. its right where the bone meets the muscle, i believe at my acromion. it hurt mainly when i lift my arm up, especially when i lift it straight out to the side. it makes it difficult to lift up my arm. i almost failed at tossing a bag of bagels on to the top of my fridge earlier. so im not sure why im getting this. it definitely had nothing to do with overhead pressing because i havent done that in like two weeks and this started about two days ago. i think it may have something to do with doing pullups.

anyway yesterday it was fairly bad and then i woke up today and felt fine. i worked out today and i started feeling it a little but it was hardly noticeable. then i grappled with a guy for about an hour. he;s a lot stronger and better than me in jiu jitsu and so he proceeded to whoop my ass repeatedly, putting me in an americana on my right side. its submission thats pretty rough on the shoulders and i feel like an idiot now for not tellin him about it but it wasnt on my mind at the time. so anyway all that apparnetly aggravated my shoulder. i was hoping that if anyone on here has had this problem before or thinks they know what it is please let me know because im afraid of injuring my shoulder, especially since going to a doctor right now is not an option.


#2

Sounds like you're impinging your shoulder...


#3

Make sure your shoulders arent hunched up. I have to consciously relax my traps and let my shoulders down so they can kinda breath. Also Eric Cressey, look up his articles, they're awesome.


#4

thanks man. ill check out his articles for sure. and i dont usually hunch my shoulders but i have been hunching my right lately because its the only way i can pick stuff up. and also, i've heard about it quite a few times, but what exactly is an impingement?


#5

Is there a lump at your AC joint (the tip of your shoulder bone)? Could be an AC (acromio-clavicular)sprain.

That's the only shoulder injury I've had which sounds a bit like yours. Never had it from the gym, only from rugby - but an AC sprain does limit your ability to reach upwards for things, and certain movements in the gym. I don't know how you might have done it though, I did it in the impact of an awkward tackle.

As far as treatment goes, I was told to avoid lifting my arm above the line of the shoulder as much as possible - this includes doing inclined movements such as incline press and shoulder press, and also pullups. Try to reach for things in cupboards with your other arm! Other than that it's just standard icing and rest. I felt at the time that continuing to do flat chest work in the gym gave me a bit of added stability in the shoulder which aided my recovery, but that'snot really based on anything.

Hope you get better soon. Shoulder injuries are the worst.


#6

nope. theres definetely no lump. it feels exactly the same to me as the other shoulder. the pain is going away now, but that already happened before and then it came back later the next day, so i dont know, i can't pinpoint the cause. i want to say that its pullups but ive been doin pullups and pushups for more than six months and the volume hasnt gone up in the past few weeks. i guess i hit a plateau or something, but i dont see why i would be getting shoulder pain NOW after all this time. the only thing i can think of is that my form may have been slipping lately


#7

Is the AC joint the exact area where you are feeling this? If so you probably need a shoulder rehab program. I screwed my left shoulder's AC joint up in Feb 08 going for a max bench attempt. It hurt for about 6-8 months, but I got a complete recovery out of the rehab effort & concentrating on proper form.

I highly doubt pullups or pushups are the cause here. More likely a poor-form pressing movement, or landing/being thrown onto your shoulder. For example, flared elbows with a wide grip on the bench press is what caused it for me.

Suggestions:

Avoid sleeping on your side to avoid restless sleep due to pain.

You need to tell anyone you may grapple with that you have this problem.

Back off the weight %s you are using, focus on form. You said you may be letting form slip (but on which lifts?) and I can tell you my injury was from poor form.

Seek a push-pull shoulder rehab program.

I can elaborate if necessary.


#8

yup, its right there at the AC joint. I was thinking that i might have gotten lazy with my pullup form. i saw a video by some guy who is apparently a well respected expert on bodyweight exercises and he spoke about how improper shoulder position during pullups can cause injuries. this along with falling on my shoulders alot while grappling might be the cause, but theres still no way to be certain. i havent been able to do my overhead presses lately becaus ive missed a few workouts in the last three weeks. i also dont bench with a barbell because i dont have a partner to train with right now and i dont like the idea of benching without a spot.

im going to start doing some scap pushups and pushup holds for a week or two and try to build some stability in the joint. i have no doubt that the pain will go away if i lay off of overhead movements for a day. in fact the pain is almost gone right now, the thing is im worried about it coming back repetitively and getting worse. so i guess i;ll see how it feels then.


#9

Oh and if you know any exercises or techniques or anything to help shoulder health and prevent/treat shoulder injuries it would be helpful and i would appreciate it.


#10

Internal & External Rotation, with bands:

Excercises 5-8 will probably do a lot of good. I still do 5 and 6 with my warm-ups. 9 & 10 couldn't hurt, though I never used them. Bands are your best bet, otherwise use very light DBs.

--

Empty Can (I use dumbbells for this, and do both arms at the same time)

Use a very light weight for the Empty Can.

--

Once the pain starts to go away, I would suggest you start doing dips, never letting your upper arm go past parallel with the ground. Avoid bench dips (like the plague), do parallel bar dips. Keep your elbows tucked in and lean forward a bit. Dips are great for shoulder health if done right.

Hope that helps.


#11

Oh and yeah, falling on your shoulders alot is almost definitely the problem.


#12

thanks man, i REALLY appreciate that you took the time to make that response. do you think that the falling on the shoulder is bad even on mats? i definitely wanna work on them dips i just need to find some parallel bars.


#13

You're welcome. When you're falling onto a mat it's certainly not as bad as hard ground, but repeated offenses definitely build up and lead to chronic problems. I developed a nasty mid-back chronic pain from doing shoulder rolls in aikido classes some years back. Check out this article on AC joint irritation/separation:

http://www.hicksvillephysicaltherapy.com/Arthritis/Arthritis-Overview/preview_a~362/article.html

About halfway down you can see just about the worst angle to fall on it from. Based on your description of your pain level your irritation is probably only Grade 1. I think mine was Grade 2.

If you can focus on rolling more when being thrown you'll probably irritate it less. If you want to keep sparring while you work through the issue, remember to tell your sparring partners that you have the problem, and have them do it from the other side if you must perform the particular motions that lead to landing on the shoulder area. (And maybe ask them to throw you softer/guide your weight through the motion for longer, instead of just dropping you.)

I would try cutting down on those particular activities, personally, until your shoulders' integrity is restored and built up. Maybe to 1/2 or 1/4th the activity level that led to the irritation in the first place.


#14

thanks bro, that article was like a perfect description of what i have. the angle it showed for falling on the shoulder was pretty much exactly how ive been falling on my shoulder. so this explains a lot. you've been really helpful man, im a lot less worried now.


#15

thanks bro, that article was like a perfect description of what i have. the angle it showed for falling on the shoulder was pretty much exactly how ive been falling on my shoulder. so this explains a lot. you've been really helpful man, im a lot less worried now.


#16

I had a problem that sounds a lot like what you are describing. I actually posted about it in the injuries and rehab section of this forum and got a lot of really useful posts. First and foremost, I would definitely recommend seeing a physical therapist at least for one session so they can diagnose you, because self diagnosis or internet diagnosis isn't always the best approach. Then again, I don't know what your situation is (health insurance, etc.) so that may not be an option right now.

Neverless, what happened to my shoulder was a combination of having a weak rotator cuff and therefore overusing other muscles for certain exercises. For example, instead of properly engaging my rotator cuff and the rear delts and such for doing things like overhead presses, I was using too much of my traps (I think that's the way the therapist explained it to me). When she diagnosed me, I had a couple "trigger points" in my shoulder, which she was able to work out through a couple sessions. She also gave me some rotator cuff exercises to work on to strengthen my cuff. Also, I laid off the pressing for a few weeks and iced it regularly to help reduce any inflammation.

All said and done it took about 3-4 weeks and the pain was completely gone and I was back to lifting like normal.


#17

yeah luckily the pain i got isnt severe. its pretty mild. the thing is that usually a little pain or ache here or there doesnt bother me because that stuff happens you know and it doesnt usually mean you have an injury but the pain i felt was really weird and sharp so it concerned me. going to a physician really isnt an option right now and thats why i wanted to get as much info as possible right now about what i can do to make sure this doesnt turn in to anything really bad.


#18

I have a suggestion. Go see a damn Sports Medicine Doctor!! Everyone on here has mention everythings but that .


#19

i may have also mentioned once or twice that going to a doctor is not an option for me right now.


#20

Then you have a major problem. You do understand that seeking medical advice from unqualified people on a forum may not be the smartest thing, right? Would you go to the neighbors to work on your new car or a certified michanic ? See my point. I assumeing not seeing a specialist is due to economic reasons ?