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I'll Take Bursitis For $1000, Alex


I've been lifting for years and have no history of shoulder injuries. However...

On Monday, my workout wrapped with incline db presses (the last sets using a little more weight than I should have) and chins, 10x4 for both. Later that night, just reaching for some papers on my dining room table, I had a very sharp ache in my left shoulder, running midway down my upper arm. It wasn't acute exactly, but a very uncomfortable ache, almost numbing, that faded to a rather dull pain within ten minutes or so.

The rest of that night, Tuesday and today have been marked with a mild discomfort in my shoulder, mostly but not exclusively at the bottom of my deltoid around the medial head, where it intersects my biceps and triceps. I have a full range of motion, it's just rather tender.

I start a new softball league in three weeks and pressing my way to a shoulder impingement sounds like a bad way to start the season, so I've opted to take the week off from lifting (I'm beat anyway) and take anti-inflammatory meds, with the intent to resume next Monday without any overhead pressing.

Any opinions on the matter would be aprpeciated, in terms of diagnosis and recovery. I presume it's no big deal, but a friend of mine needed rotator cuff surgery due to a lifting injury, and I figure better safe than sorry. I used to do upright rows, painlessly but with Rice Krispie sound effects in my left shoulder, so here's hoping I'm not heading towards the O.R. myself :smiley:


I had a rotator cuff impingement in January. The doctor originally thought it was bursitis but they are treated the same way anyway. I received a 1/2 cortisone 1/2 something else shot to help with the inflammation. Then I had physcial thereapy for about six weeks. While this helped, the pain hasn't completely gone away. At some extreme angles of my shoulder it still hurts. From what I have been told, rotator cuff injuries are very difficult to get rid of and take a long time to heal. I imagine mine should slowly subside and I just stop what I am doing if I feel discomfort.

If I were you, I would probably try to get physical therapy or at least see a doctor. One thing to keep in mind is that if you keep lifting through the pain, eventually the damage could worsen so you would need surgery according to my physical therapist.


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See your primary care provider. My 2 cents is that itis"(tendonitis/bursitis/tendonosis) are usually gradual onset processes. If it hasn't been bothering you a little for a while while you worked through it I would be suspicious of an acute injury. Having said that, Biceptal tendonitis is often confused for rotator cuff dysfunction. REST/ICE and get checked out is still your best bet.


I would avoid doing chins and presses on the same day. Also watch your form on the dumbell presses. Make sure are using super perfect form to avoid using your shoulders to lift the weight. I can tell when I'm using bad form because my shoulders start to burn badly on chest day.


I forgot to ask in my other post how old are you and how long have you been training? Bicepital tendonitis and a degenerative process in the labrum have similar symptoms. If your an old guy(35+ like me) who has been traing through the mild shoulder discomfort for years I would consider that as well. A contrast MRI is your best diagnostic tool in that case. Manual exams aren't always sensitive enough to differentiate between the degenerated labrum vs the biceps tendon-itis/osis


I'm 30 years old and have been training off and on since I was 19. This is literally the first time I've ever felt pain in my shoulder, but now that I think of it, I had trouble with military presses last year due to a sharp pain at the top of my left triceps, near my rear deltoid. This is the same arm, but not the same pain/location (that incident still flares up if I push or pull at certain angles).

Bushido, on both of your tests, I don't feel any pain or experience any weakness. The only symptom I really have at this point is a slight twinge and a sort of 'clicking' sound on lateral raises as I drop my arm back to my side. I take the sound to indicate looseness or similar, but it only happens if I had my hand raised above shoulder height.

I'm presently taking Tylenol for arthritis 2x a day, and will continue with that until all discomfort subsides. I'm hoping that plus rest and better form/exercise selection in the future will keep it in check. I have to figure it was the incline dumbbells that did me in, as I was very fatigued but pushed on to finish my sets - totally yanked them into place, and though I didn't feel any pain, my form was no kind of good.

Thanks for the feedback, guys - I'll keep looking into the matter. Interesting, if nothing else.


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Thanks again for the advice - based on my history, I'm more or less assuming that diagnosis as well. The worry about it is probably doing me more harm than the injury itself. Missing the season would kill me :stuck_out_tongue:

Any other suggestions for recovery beyond a period of rest and anti-inflammatory meds? As I mentioned, I intend to back off incline and overhead pressing for the time being, and will also add some lighter weight lateral raises to improve stability in the joint.


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