T Nation

I'm a Mess...

So for the past 6-7 months I have been dealing with a lot of physical issues.

On the left side of my body:
Entire back complex is weak
Rhomboid is very small and weak
Teres minor gets involved and tight with every pulling exercise
Rear Delt gets fatigued almost instantly
Lat also gets fatigued very fast, and the contractions are painful and weak
Infraspinatus is a tight mess
Forearm at the elbow is tight as hell
Spasms running down my back
Bicep attachment in the shoulder is inflamed
Side of the shoulder from elbow to the trap seems to be tight

Right side of my body:
Levator is very tight
Infraspinatus is tight
Upper chest is tight
Very excessive rounding of the shoulder
Trap is tight
Clavicle clicks and feels very painful at the sternum
Serratus and lat are tight, almost to the point of cramping
Bicep is very tight

Knee pain in both knees

I spent 4-6 hours a day doing mobility work, soft tissue work, and corrective exercises. I spend the rest of the day in a depressive rut obsessing about my issues. I deal with depression the way it is, and this has kept me in a deep depression for months, despite medication.

I have seen a physiologist twice, 4 chiros, and 2 PT’s. None of them seem to know a fucking thing. They have robbed me of money that I don’t have, and have solved none of my issues.

I sleep in a Tempurpedic Cloud. Another expensive item that seems to make problems worse. I seem to feel better when sleeping in my 15 year old twin mattress for a few weeks.

I am very conscious of my posture, sitting and standing.

I have no idea where to go from here. None of the work that I have done has amounted to anything. I am able to have a decent lifting session maybe once a week. A few light ones per week. Practicing exercises with a broomstick causes great fatigue in the left lat.

In the past I have done hip mobility to help with some of the spasm pain. It rids of it quickly, but it is not long term. My bed seems to be an issue, but I have slept on several different surfaces the past 7 months, and they all do the same.

I managed a weight of 220 for a few months, slowly dropped to 215, had a very deep depression in which I was hospitalized, at which point I weighed 185, and right now weight about 195. I am reaching another very low state of depression. Obviously having depression, plus dealing with painful injuries and wasting hours and dollars for nothing is very frustrating.

Does ANYBODY have any suggestions? Do I get an MRI, X Ray - do I even bother with these doctors since they clearly don’t give a shit? If I see some foreign doctor again and he tries to tell me that this is simple myofascial pain I will freak out.

Thank you for reading. Any advice is appreciated. Keep in mind that I have done dozens of corrective shoulder/back exercises, almost every exercise on mobilitywod.com, and spend hours a day on a RumbleRoller. Dear MacGyver, please save my dog.

This is just what I think about it:

MRI might be nice, but they are very expensive, and you have put up with enough expenses already. So, I guess weigh the benefits vs cost of that. It will tell if anything is messed up in the muscle and connective tissue and stuff pretty accurately.

Keep doing the mobility and hip flexibility stuff, but 4-6 hours a day is lunacy. I would wear myself out doing that much mobility/soft tissue work and stuff. Find the best mobility movements and foam rolling movements for you. Take the most effective ones and use them and cut out the chaff. You have to have some “training economy” if you know what I mean.

I feel like you would be best served by making your back muscles strong like ropes of coiled steel. Don’t worry about your bed. Don’t obsess over your posture, ever. Don’t worry about your weight right now. All those things are probably just going to stress you out and consume your time, money, and energy and add to your depression. Those are small time, focus on the big issue. You can out train your bed! Also, you’re too young to have to give a shit about those things really.

If you stop worrying so much about that other shit, hopefully you’ll have more energy for training. This is probably the opposite of what you are doing, but basically what I’m saying is I think you should lift heavier. When is the last time you deadlifted over 400? Do some kroc rows with 120’s. Do a ton of pullups or lat pulldowns. Do stiff leg deads, glute-ham raises, leg curls, squats, leg presses and plenty of ab work. Don’t use a belt until you absolutely have to. Muscle imbalances and weaknesses can cause all sorts of problems, and you’re too young to be having any of them. If you can make everything in your back ungodly strong, they tend to sort themselves out.

Anyway, that’s just what I’d do.

I’d try the neanderthal no more program by Cressey

With mobility work, etc. do you include foam rolling? I will agree with what has been said that 4-6 hours a day is excessive, but I will also advise you to be cautious with regards to doing that much foam rolling (from advice which I’m 99% certain I came across on here at some point.) Foam rolling affects what are known as the Golgi Tendon Apparatus and Muscle Spindles that are present in muscle fibres and tendons, and are also known as muscle ‘proprioceptors’. Proprioception involves the body’s own ability to be aware of what all it’s parts are doing-i.e. it’s own sense of self-awareness, and it’s something that you don’t really want to start to confuse. Whereas some appropriate foam rolling is advised, too much of it, too forcefully applied, may start to have negative effects.

What did the chiros/PTs find?

Mate, you need to get some positivity into your life. Stop sweating the small stuff and find some time to relax or something. I know this probably doesn’t help but you just sound like you’ve worn yourself out and gotten into a serious rut. You are over thinking everything and it’s getting you down even more. Learn to relax and your body will probably improve on its own.

What are you currently doing for your depression and associated anxiety? Are you on meds? Are you getting therapy?

It sounds to me – and this is just a first impression – that you’re taking the discomfort from your mental health issues and externalizing it. Then, you’re trying to deal with it an somewhat compulsive manner. It sounds like you’re basically saying “if only I can fix all this tightness in my body, I’ll finally feel better”.

I wouldn’t “waste” any more money at this point talking to doctors or PTs, and definitely not getting an MRI. At least not yet.

Here’s what I’d suggest:

  1. fill up a bathtub with hot water, almost too hot; add 2 cups epsom salt and 1 cup baking soda. Force yourself to relax in it and sweat for at least 15 minutes. Rinse off with a shower.
  2. go find a park or some sort of “nature”. Sit on a bench and just watch things for 20 minutes; watch the bugs, watch the wind blow things around, listen to the birds, the sound of the occasional car driving by… just get yourself as present and focused in the moment. Do it for no shorter than 20 minutes.

You should feel just a little bit better after those. You might not notice that you feel better, but give it a week. Don’t worry if you miss a day. Just pay attention to how it makes you feel, to just observe and let things take their own course.

Third thing:

Focus on “cleaning up your diet” and addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I’ve noticed that not getting enough elements like Magnesium cause some serious problems. This means consuming it, AND absorbing it.

Go find the book “The UltraMind Solution” at a bookstore or library. You can skip the beginning of it, but there’s checklists later on. Go do those checklists, and see what you might be ‘deficient’ on.

I know this might not be what you were looking for, but give it a chance. Just pay attention to how your body reacts to these things. They don’t require a whole lot of time.

Without an assessment no one can determine exactly what is wrong. However, it sounds like you are catastrophizing your pain. Depression no doubt makes pain worse (pain is an output from the brain, not an input from the tissues). Learn to relax and de-stress. No PT or chiro will work if you don’t believe it will and are believing that your whole body is messed up.

I don’t really have any input or helpful advice. Just wanted to say I feel for ya man. I’ve been a mess for the past 6 months as well and that shit aint fun. Hope you figure your stuff out soon and can continue to train hard

you do 4-6 hours a day of mobility work but your symptoms are:

On the left side of my body:
Entire back complex is weak
Rhomboid is very small and weak
Teres minor gets involved and tight with every pulling exercise
Rear Delt gets fatigued almost instantly
Lat also gets fatigued very fast, and the contractions are painful and weak
Infraspinatus is a tight mess
Forearm at the elbow is tight as hell
Spasms running down my back
Bicep attachment in the shoulder is inflamed
Side of the shoulder from elbow to the trap seems to be tight

Right side of my body:
Levator is very tight
Infraspinatus is tight
Upper chest is tight
Very excessive rounding of the shoulder
Trap is tight
Clavicle clicks and feels very painful at the sternum
Serratus and lat are tight, almost to the point of cramping
Bicep is very tight

Is there anything the isn’t tight? You getting enough potassium and salt in your diet?

Try an hour of yoga a day mate be a better use of your time if after 4-6hours of mobility work if you’re this tight.

Get a deep tissue massage and a beej you’ll feel right as rain.

[quote]LoRez wrote:
What are you currently doing for your depression and associated anxiety? Are you on meds? Are you getting therapy?

It sounds to me – and this is just a first impression – that you’re taking the discomfort from your mental health issues and externalizing it. Then, you’re trying to deal with it an somewhat compulsive manner. It sounds like you’re basically saying “if only I can fix all this tightness in my body, I’ll finally feel better”.

I wouldn’t “waste” any more money at this point talking to doctors or PTs, and definitely not getting an MRI. At least not yet.

Here’s what I’d suggest:

  1. fill up a bathtub with hot water, almost too hot; add 2 cups epsom salt and 1 cup baking soda. Force yourself to relax in it and sweat for at least 15 minutes. Rinse off with a shower.
  2. go find a park or some sort of “nature”. Sit on a bench and just watch things for 20 minutes; watch the bugs, watch the wind blow things around, listen to the birds, the sound of the occasional car driving by… just get yourself as present and focused in the moment. Do it for no shorter than 20 minutes.

You should feel just a little bit better after those. You might not notice that you feel better, but give it a week. Don’t worry if you miss a day. Just pay attention to how it makes you feel, to just observe and let things take their own course.

Third thing:

Focus on “cleaning up your diet” and addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I’ve noticed that not getting enough elements like Magnesium cause some serious problems. This means consuming it, AND absorbing it.

Go find the book “The UltraMind Solution” at a bookstore or library. You can skip the beginning of it, but there’s checklists later on. Go do those checklists, and see what you might be ‘deficient’ on.

I know this might not be what you were looking for, but give it a chance. Just pay attention to how your body reacts to these things. They don’t require a whole lot of time.[/quote]

This was very helpful to me, and you seem to have read me out quite easily.

I am seeing pyschotherapy a few times a month and taking 2 different meds for depression. I have been on about 4-5 different ones over the course of the years, as well as spent some time in the hospital. In my opinion, it all kind of seems like a bunch of crap.

I never take any time for myself, or allow myself to relax, or just have a clear mind and enjoy things. Honestly, I don’t really know how. I have not been conditioned to do so up until this point and it’s very hard for me to get the hang of, even after extensive pyschotherapy.

Honestly, I think that it is the solution to all of my problems.

Caffein can cause muscle tension and wreak havoc with minor injuries for some people. If you drink coffee or get other sources of caffein, try eliminating it for a month and see what happens. It’s a long shot but easy enough to try out.

Howie,
This sounds like me. I’ve had nagging pain in my left shoulder/chest for months. I can tell you that it is very-much stress related. I am a sportswriter with a schedule similar to that of a teacher. This summer, my work schedule was light and the pain was almost non-existent. Once I got back to the grind, almost immediately that area really tightened up and nothing I do seems to loosen it up.

I’ve also had GI issues and again, all stress related.

Those that know me from the old days of this site know that I’ve dealt with anxiety issues for years. I had a log talking about getting back into lifting after suffering multiple anxiety attacks.

I know it’s hard to do, but taking time for yourself is crucial. I wish I would listen to my own advice because I don’t do enough meditating/deep breathing, basically things that clam me down and reduce stress. It is easier said than done but if you make it a priority, I think you will begin feeling better.

If you need to chat, feel free to send me a PM.

[quote]Djwlfpack wrote:
Howie,
This sounds like me. I’ve had nagging pain in my left shoulder/chest for months. I can tell you that it is very-much stress related. I am a sportswriter with a schedule similar to that of a teacher. This summer, my work schedule was light and the pain was almost non-existent. Once I got back to the grind, almost immediately that area really tightened up and nothing I do seems to loosen it up.

I’ve also had GI issues and again, all stress related.

Those that know me from the old days of this site know that I’ve dealt with anxiety issues for years. I had a log talking about getting back into lifting after suffering multiple anxiety attacks.

I know it’s hard to do, but taking time for yourself is crucial. I wish I would listen to my own advice because I don’t do enough meditating/deep breathing, basically things that clam me down and reduce stress. It is easier said than done but if you make it a priority, I think you will begin feeling better.

If you need to chat, feel free to send me a PM.[/quote]

DJ,

I really appreciate your input. I carry so much stress in my upper back and my shoulders that some days it is unbearable. I have dealt with GI issues as well. I eat as clean as I possibly can, getting in my minerals and fibers, but have these issues nonetheless.

Stress and depression are huge problems for me. The depression seems to be very manic as well, and my body follows it up and down. In the end I create my own stress, so this - physically and mentally - is very hard to recover from.

I work at staying positive as well as trying to find time to meditate/spend time outside and just breath and smell and relax - but next thing you know weeks have gone by and I don’t even know where I’ve been. I just “wake up” and wonder what the hell is going on.

It just seems like there is always something that needs to be done - work, endless house chores (I live alone in a pretty small house, so in reality there isn’t a lot to clean), yard work - you name it. I always am stressing about something, needing to perfect something or split hairs and over analyze. I leave NO time for myself.

I could go on and on with my issues but it doesn’t change anything - there is really only one simple, yet seemingly impossible way to go about changing everything. And I say seemingly impossible because one second you think you have it, and the next it is gone and you are back in a hole.

How do people find the time to live? This is not something that I have ever been conditioned to do. I have been conditioned to work and work and work. I don’t mean to use this as a cop-out, but I almost feel as if I don’t know HOW to be happy, or to treat myself. I’ve taught myself many things, but this is one thing that I can’t seem to get the hang of.

You can learn how to do it; at least you can learn how to do it better than you are now. I frequently forget how to do it and later end up “waking up”, just as you described, and get myself back on track again. It’s very easy to sink back into an autopilot state where the stress just builds up and you don’t even realize it.

There IS an overwhelming amount of work to be done, and the way I’ve dealt with that is to let my standards drop a little bit. Figure out the things that are absolutely important to me now, and just make sure those are done. And simply ignore the other stuff. I force myself to relax too.

I can go on for pages of all the stuff I “should” be doing, but none of that really HAS to be done right now. I’ve narrowed it down basically to: having food to eat; having clean dishes to eat the food; having a comfortable place to sleep; having clean clothes to wear. The rest of the stuff sometimes falls by the wayside as I vary between being more or less depressed, but the essentials I’ve been able to do. I know it’s nowhere near optimal, but for several months this year, I was living pretty much on a whole milk + multivitamin diet. It was the only way I could make sure I was getting enough food, and it didn’t require much thought.

Now that I’m feeling somewhat better, I’ve been able to focus on a few more things.

I also created a nice relaxing outdoor place for me (I just have a balcony to work with), with a few plants and a comfortable chair. Whenever I’m too stressed, I can just “escape” there for awhile, and it helps me feel better.

I don’t have a solution for you, and psychotherapy + meds haven’t done much for me either. Honestly, taking vitamin D in the morning, and zinc and magnesium before bed has done more for me than any of the meds. I also was using some l-theanine/GABA mix (Theanine Serene by Source Naturals), and that was helping. I’m not sure why I stopped taking it.

So, I guess my advice comes down to this: figure out the most important things, focus on those, let the rest of it go to the wayside. (Sometimes out-of-sight, out-of-mind works too… take the junk and just hide it away in a closet or garage so it doesn’t grab your attention.) And find something that makes you feel a little bit calm, a little bit more in the present, and spend some time doing that.

Also, make sure you get at least some socialization in your life. Several years ago, I used to force myself to spend a night a week out at a bar/club, just to be around people, and away from the stress of home. These days, I have one night a week I spend playing pool with friends. It helps to have that.

I will be honest i read your post and scrolled down. You might be ready for a change. If so pm me friend me if needed i have no clue.
I now things doctors ignore and vice versa.
Pain is free so is smiling

I seen my counselor yesterday and I will be seeing my psychiatrist next Thursday. They will suggest changing medication, again…

Honestly I don’t believe on this type of treatment (drugs) but they insist that it is the only way. I really like both of them, but I wish they would see that after years, this IS NOT working.

I also seen my doctor yesterday and he gaves me the heads up on rotator cuff tendonitis. Pretty much the aftermath of all of my previous issues.

How can I train with this? What should I do? I start PT on Wednesday.

Here is what I am thinking about doing for the next 2 weeks at least. Swimming, Bulgarian Split Squats, BW Squats, Glute Bridge and Jump Rope. And of course whatever my PT has me doing. I’ll do my BW exercises in the morning and swim after work.

I will probably sit in on some BJJ practices too. Maybe just jump rope while everybody rolls.