T Nation

Nagging Bicep Injury


Hello. 5 months ago I was doing side lateral cable raises and noticed something was wrong in my left arm, in particular the elbow area, but I figured it would go away. I continued working out but when I started doing preacher curls, the pain was so excruciating that I had to quit. But there was no loss of strength and nothing visually noticeable.

Ever since then, I’ve seen 3 doctors including a sports doctor, a sports physical therapist, a massage therapist, had an MRI, and none of which have been able to help me. The MRI, which looked at my elbow where I usually feel pain and discomfort, found no problems.

The good news is the pain, which was initially about a 9/10 when I injured it, is a now about a 1/10. The bad news is the pain just hasn’t gotten any better for the last 3 months, where I’ve mostly avoided the gym.

Right now all me or my doctors have been able to do is guess. The guess is that it is a very tiny tear either in my distal tendon or my bicep muscle.

Initially I assumed it was tendinitis, after doing rehab for tendinitis for a while, the condition didn’t change. The docs that looked at my MRI didn’t think I had tendinitis. X-rays didn’t find any problems with the bones.

It’s really frustrating. I still don’t know what’s wrong, and lifting seems to very slowly make it worse, whereas rest doesn’t seem to be making it better. What is even more frustrating is at times I will also feel pain near the shoulder, in the forearm, and on the bicep head itself, though usually the pain is in the elbow.

Any ideas what could be the problem and what to do? My doctors are literally shrugging at me at this point, I’m pretty much on my own with this. I’m running out of things to try.


The MRI didn’t reveal inflammation at/around the distal biceps and/or biceps-tendon insertion site? Ask your doc to look over the MRI report for something to this effect (it may be in the body of the report, not the impression/conclusion). If there’s nothing in there about it, see if your doc can ask the radiologist to re-read the study looking for this particular finding.


Way back when they told me they couldn’t find any issues of any kind, they probably would have told me this if it showed up. In any case, I’m waiting to hear back from the doc on your questions. In the meantime anyone else have any ideas?


You have to stop using that arm for lifting until the muscles thin out. Once that arm is smaller, the muscles will thin out and re-allign where they need to be. Then hit it with acupuncture and the nerve will sit back where it needs to be.