Hello, I have a shoulder issue and have no idea what is causing this pain, if you can't be bothered reading all of the text, read "The Issue" bit and skip to the end, please help if you can, thanks.
I've had pain in both shoulders for around 2 years when doing any chest exercise and pull ups. It is inside the shoulder and gets progressively worse with each set, fatiguing if you will, before the targeted muscles. I also get this clicking in my rotator cuff area in both shoulders when lifting my arm above my head, when just above parallel. You can actually hear the clicking on the right side when doing overhead presses, and there is some pain and tightness during these, but not like pull ups and chest exercises.
The only exercises I can do with no pain is horizontal pulling exercises such as bent over rows, lower body and core. I could do tricep pulldowns at the end of last year but the shoulder issue caught up with that muscle group aswell, obviously I cant do overhead tricep extensions or any exercises lieing on the bench and so I am limited here to. I also get pain doing bicep curls. When lieing flat on my back I can actually let both arms hang parallel to side of me and cause pain as I let the humerus move 'fall' in the joint.
Action Taken So Far
I've been checked over by a General Practioner Doctor and multiple physical therapists testing for shoulder impingement and range of motion etc. and nothing is wrong there. I've been to multiple physical therapists for this issue, during this time period, I laid of weight lifting for my upper body all together for around a year to let my shoulder rest, this made no difference. I am now with a private physio who works with my countries' football team (Wales, UK) and charges Â£44 an hour and seems like he is good at what he does.
Firstly, he found my rotator cuffs were weak during external rotation and so prescribed me with a strong resistance band to do external rotations every night. I used my bodybuilding knowledge and progressively overloaded by wrapping my hand round the band more times to increase resistance. I had also incorporated push up plusses into my daily routine to increase my serratus anterior strength as i've read a lot about this muscle in regards to scapula instability and shoulder injuries. I had done this for a couple of months and found even with tape around my shoulder and scapula to increase stability, still had the pain in both shoulders when doing all of the mentioned exercises.
So, I went back to him, and he concluded that my rotator cuff strength is now good and so I suggested maybe it could be thoracic immobility causing this issue as I have had a tight neck and lower back for years. He done a few tests for thoracic mobility and found I was actually quite mobile and would categorise me as being a flexible person around my joints, and that this couldn't be the issue, this made sense as I have hypermobility in my ankles.
He then made me do press ups and recorded my back with my phone, and showed to me how much my shoulder blades were moving. This suggested to him that I have scapula instability and so told me to practice doing bodyweight exercises with as little shoulder blade movement as possible (of course there must be some movement). He also prescribed me one hand medicine ball push ups to target the muscles that stabilise the shoulder blades directly. So I've been doing these medicine ball push ups daily for around 8 weeks, and progressed to 2 medicine ball push ups after the first week.
I focus on keeping the medicine balls and shoulder blades as still as possible. I can now do sets of 15+ repetitions where the medicine balls barely move, my shoulder pain is what actually stops me from completing more repetitions. I can see how much my SA have actually grown from doing all this too. I also decided a few weeks ago to incorporate some direct lower trapezius work to see if this will give me any pain relief and increased scapula stability.
Now, I have tested the pain, and it is still pretty much the same during all of the exercises. So after a year's rest and all this work, if it is NOT the following shoulder issues, what could it be?
Rotator cuff weakness
Should I go back to the physiotherapist? If I go to a doctor again, the same range of motion and shoulder impingement tests will be done and can imagine i'll just be referred back to a physiotherapist again.
Can anyone help me please, all I want to do is bodybuild again and am starting to lose hope. Please reply and help if you have any advice or any idea on my issue, thanks.