T Nation

Impinged Nerve?


#1

9 days ago I had a shoulder workout.

8 Days ago, I woke up with a horrible pain in my rhomboid/trap area. It's pretty much constant, with degrees varying from uncomfortable to excruciating. I'm pretty sure it's an awful knot or impinged nerve, but I'm leaning towards the nerve being tweaked. Reasons being:

Heat and massage, ibuprofen, foam rolling, lax ball rolling, nor flexoral helps the situation to a significant extent.

For the first 4-5 days, I would get random bouts of a dull, numby, tingly pain that would radiate down my upper arm down to my forearm. I'd get the same pain radiate down my rear delt and what feels like into my shoulder capsule or rotator cuff.

What does actually help the situation is using a shitload of liniment (which I can't abuse - my skin gets the brunt of it) and when I'm lifting, it seems to keep the pain at bay, EXCEPT for doing certain movements. DC style 'across the body hammer curls' were EXCRUCIATING even with warmup weights.

I went to the chiro on thursday but he didn't do much. I was a first time patient, so he was thorough with background info and all of that, but didn't do anything to help the problem. He told me my spine was fine (and gave me a small adjustment) and that the problem was a shoulder injury (because I have a previous shoulder injury - which I'll go into detail about in a minute) and referred me to another doctor.

As for the shoulder injury, 5-6 years ago, I tore my right labrum (right shoulder is the shoulder in question here FTR, lol) playing lacrosse. I never got it fixed because I've got loose shoulder capsules and the doc said if it's not causing me any pain on a daily basis (which it doesn't) that I might opt out of fixing it because the surgery may actually tighten up my shoulder capsule to the point that it's uncomfortable for me. So I opted out of sugery since it didn't hinder me much. It's a little unstable during certain movements, but I can bench/OHP just fine.

I don't think this injury is from that, though. Unless this is a byproduct of what that injury caused. The chiro I went to the other day said my rotator cuff is basically not activating anymore and my right pec, trap, and lat are overcompensating to stabilize the joint (which makes sense, my right pec, trap and lat are all larger than the left side). The next day in the gym, I tried some external rotation movements and my right shoulder was very poor in comparison to my left. When I tried to do cable external rotation with my elbow against my hip, I couldn't externally rotate my right arm without my rear delt taking over the movement and my elbow leaving my hip. So I definitely need to work on that.

Other random clues:

The pain seems to subside if I'm laying on my back, and have my upper arm perpendicular to my midline and my elbow at a 90 degree angle externally rotated. Furthermore, if I put a pillow under my elbow (and thus causing gravity to externally rotate my shoulder), it seems that the pain completely disappears.

If I am to do a front lat spread with my thumbs resting on my hip, my right lat/teres major doesn't flare out AT ALL, and if I try to flare them, I get sharp pain in my rear delt/shoulder capsule area.

Sorry that all the info's just throw up there, I wrote as much info about it as I could in no particular order.

Thanks for any help!


#2

After unintentionally mimicking the movement of one of my shoulder routine exercises in the shower this evening and experiencing a shitload of sharp pain, I think that may have been what did it.

I don't have a name for the exercise, but I hold a pair of DB's in hand and do a high shrug with my hands still in a neutral grip. (The end position is very similar to the position ones arms/shoulders would be in at the bottom of a dip - except instead of pressing down, I'm pulling up.)

I'm wondering if maybe I tried to go too heavy and ended up leaning my head forward and rounding my shoulders, and thus the movement promoting internal rotation (I think it would, no?) and maybe fucking something up doing that?

I don't know, but that's certainly what could've done it. Weird thing is, though, that my shoulder workout went well and the injury was delayed. :confused:


#3

Hi, In 2001 I woke up one morning with pain in my neck, rhomboids, traps. Thought I had slept wrong. Did not subside so after about 2 weeks I got an mri. Result was a herniation in C5/6. My thumb and index finger had become tingly and almost numb. eventually the pain went away but the numbness remained. In 2005 the pain came back, this time into my shoulder blade area, like a knot that would not go away. I would press up against door casings to push on the knotted area thinking it was muscle related from working out or working. The pain subsided but from that point foward it would always be lurking in various levels of annoyance.

Fast foward to Feb 2010. The level of the knotted feeling and pain had returned and was elevated to the point where I was taking Ibuprofin 6 at a time several times a day and trying to get relief by pressing on the area, heating pads etc. Oddly enough sitting at a computer and articulating the mouse for several hours a day would really make it worse. Then came the Friday morning I went to get the coffee cup from the microwave and almost dropped it because I colud not correctly and with enough strength, hang onto the cup. I brushed it off but by noon time it had become very knotted feeling and painful and I could tell I was increasinly over the course of the morning, losing the abiltiy to even articulate the mouse on the pad.

I remembered the very first MRI I had back in 2001, and the PA who saw me told me this..." if the numbness or pain ever changes to sudden loss of use of your hand or arm call me right away...So at noon time I called his office. His nurse called back and said to me... " He is waiting for you, He says for you to come in now."

So i did, when I got there,he spent about 5 minutes doing a few simple tests,stopped, called the nurse in and said "Call the the Hospital and tell them we have an emergency MRI en route" He turned to me and said " You need an MRI Right Now" By the time I get to the hospital I am in such pain I can't lay down in the MRI tunnel.
After 4 shots of Morphine and a sedative they shoot the MRI. The neurologist comes in to see me and says nI have a herniation at C6/6 pushing on the nerve root and the window to do surgery and fix it is less than 24 hours before the nerves die, so we need to operate tomorrow morning.

Long story short, I had surgery at 08:00 AM, was in incredible pain for a few days after, but then it got better. the knot had dissapeared and the shoulder blade and rhomboid and neck pain had pretty much gone.

In hindsight all three times occoured during a period where I was working out fairly regularly and with pretty fair intensity around the affected area. I'm not sure exactly what the cause was but any and All of the exersizes that compress the cervical spine are now suspect to me and I have learned to avoid doing most of them. Shoulder shrugs, deadlifts, and bent over upright rowing are three things I enjoyed and pushed myself on, but now I'm pretty sure they were major factors in causing the the herniations to become suddenly worse. There are other movements as well that I personally think can make a cDisk herniation become worse, But I am not a doctor or trainer so I will limit my advice.

I still have a discernable deficit of strength in my right Triceps, shoulder and forearm. All from the damage that the dick herniation caused in just the few hours time. But I will tell you,your symptoms sound to me like a cDisk herniation issue and If I were you I would go get an MRI now so you know for sure.

Good Luck and when it come to potential nerve damage, When in doubt check it out...Fast.