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Crackling shoulders

Hi all. This has been discussed but I didn’t find any conclusive advice. So - my shoulders crackle and pop, esp. right one. The worst crackling can be felt when I do “cuban rotation” to strengthen my rot.cuff. It literally feels through skin that tendons are sliding and rubbing in the area that is just in front of AC joint (the bony bump in the shoulder), under the front delt. It is not painful and there is no feeling of bones grinding. Also, the same shoulder snaps loudly every once in a while, but the snaps come from inside the joint, not from the front. Now, everyone says that crackling without pain is not a problem, but it has became louder - even my GF is noticing it. I stretch my shoulders regularly after a little strain accident with my rotator cuff, but it seems the crackling and snapping gets worse after stretching and/or massage. Also switching to heavier weights (doing 5x5) seems to make it louder. Am I grinding my shoulders to mush, or am I just regaining mobility, as my massage therapist seems to say?

I have had the same thing for years. You just have to learn to accept it. You have hacked up the layer of cartilage between the ball and plate of your shoulder joint, and unless you get it cleaned up surgically, it’s there to stay. It may improve slightly like mine, but I doubt it will go away. If it does, let me know how you did it, every one I asks says surgery. It doesn’t reall effect my lifting that much now that I have most of my strength back, but just take it easy with certain lifts. Not too heavy on the cubans and military presses.

Ron Harris (JKD/MMA instructor) claims to have fixed his popping shoulder problem by doing sets of push-ups with lots of different hand positions. I’ll try and find a link.

Hmm…wonder what broke it, as my lifting has not been hard-core; rather like once-twice/week until just recently when I got really bitten by BB bug and embarked on Meltdown 1 program, followed by 5x5. Before that, no shoulder presses or bench presses; just lateral lifts - nothing that should stress shoulders too much, if you don’t count pecdec machine (evil…). This seems a relatively short time to wreck perfectly good cartilage, as I have not had any problems with my shoulders prior to this. To make it clearer; the crackling feeling is not coming from inside the joint, but rather from the tendons that start from the upper chest and cross the joint. I might be wrong, but it does not feel like bone grinding bits of cartilage, but more like tendons jumping around. Shouldn’t broken cartilage in the joint cause locking of the joint or other ROM problems?

The occasional snapping noise I am not worried about, as everyone has snapping joints somewhere. It’s this constant crackling that is somewhat unnerving.

neckcranked: if you find a link, please share.

Maybe you have a different problem to me. I have multiple dislocations from years of rugby. Mine cracks mostly above parallel to floor level, but sometimes just randomly. Last night I was watching tv with my girlfriend and suddenly POP. It sounded like a peice of pop corn cooking. I wasn’t even moving! Anyway, the best idea is probably to get an MRI on it if you can arrange it through your insurance. As long as it doen’t hurt too much. I realise I’m probably going to have terrible arthritis when I’m older, but what can you do? It’s already screwed, and there’s no way I’m stopping lifting and other sports.

Sounds like you have the same problem as me. It’s not the cartilage but seriously unstable shoulder joints. I had mine diagnosed at the SWIS convention. Mine however hurt and guess what they never used too. Basically instead of your humerus rotating in the glenoid it’s got some side to side play which causes it to “pull” on or “twang” near by tendons etc. I’ve been doing some rotator cuff exercises for this. I’m suspecting it will take along time before this improves. Hope this helps. :slight_smile:

Now, this I can buy :slight_smile: I know for a fact that I have an imbalance between int/ext rotators, and I am correcting it. That’s what caused the strain in RC, and even the guy giving the massage commented upon tightness and overworked muscles when he massaged my rear delts. I guess that aikido lessons I took a couple of years ago did not help, since it is mostly pushing hands away from you, all the time, and having your shoulder joints locked.

A MRI scan would tell the truth, but it is hideously expensive, and given that there is no pain involved, I seriously doubt that I could get it covered by insurance. I think the key is more RC exercises+chest stretching, despite the crackling. Of course, the moment my shoulders get sore, I’ll be seeing a doctor. But currently, exercises like seated half-presses even with big weights are ok - no pain, no locking etc. Just sound effects :slight_smile:

Hi guys - after a weekend of web research, it seems that the culprit really is weak RC, allowing the head of humerus to travel too forward in the joint when rotating. (Yeah, to make things more fun, we had our first snowfall, and I proceeded to fall on a spot of ice. Landed directly on my outstretched hand, jamming the shoulder to exact direction it is already unstable. Luckily, no lasting damage, but there could have been…) Anyway, thanks for feedback, guys! Now, where’s that rubber band…?

I have it as well. trust me & work to strengthen the shoulder with rotator cuff lifts. i had surgery & it took me 1 yr. to recover and it is now 3 years later & i am back to square one.

strengthen the shoulder & deal with it.

Scratch, care to elaborate? How did your problems start and what caused them (bench/shoulder presses)? Why did the doctor decide to operate and what actually was broken in your shoulder?