T Nation

Nerve Injury?

Here’s my problem… recently, I noticed a problem with my left shoulder. It would rise up when I benched, because I couldn’t keep my scapula back and down on that side. I also couldn’t curl any appreciable weight beyond 45 degrees with that arm. After checking with the athletic therapist here at school, I learned that my lower traps and rhomboids had “stopped working” (his term) on my left side. He attributed that to stingers (I had 3-4 this past football season)or some other kind of nerve damage. As it stands now, when I raise my arms to the side my left shoulder and scapula “lift” up and out. There’s no pain in these muscles, but they don’t seem to be doing their job of stabilizing my shoulder blade. The only pain is in the joint after I do anything with it, even something as simple as sprinting with full arm action.

Anyone have any experience with this or something similar? Ideas to fix it?

The only recent thing I can think of is a “tweak” of my upper trap suffered while doing snatches around Christmas. But the programs I’ve been doing since then has been built around deads, cleans and snatches (one and two-arm), so I would think something would have popped up before now if that was the problem.

Let’s hear it…

As a Freshman in high school, I damaged the growth plates in my elbow. I had a surgery, and although I never fully regained my full range of motion, I was able to participate in sports and training. On the college level I was injured again. Once my elbow and arm were functional, and the bones had knit and the screws were removed, I once again headed to the gym to lift. I could never fully lock out, and always seemed a little off balance, but my bench was respectable, as was my size, so as long as I was relatively pain free I was happy. I teach and coach, and I lift daily in my garage gym, which is equipped better than most commercial gyms I have lifted in.

20 monthes ago, during a set of weighted dips, I really hurt my shoulder. My wrist and shoulder are really messed up due to my elbow not rotating fully, or not locking out straight. I lifted in pain, like a dumbass, all be it light, because I just can’t not lift. Anyhow, on a Saturday, I had a fairly pain free day and went nuts. I worked out with my 6’11" son, who plays D-1 basketball, and who I brag on every chance I get, even here, and of course had to out bench him. Then I mowed the lawn, cut rubber mat for my gym floor, raked leaves, and a bunch of other stuff. My shoulder had a dull throbbing pain in it when I went to sleep.

When I awoke on Sunday morning, and tried to get out of bed, the most painful experience of my life occured, and I’ve had a few. It felt like my neck and shoulder were being stabbed by a huge knife. I couldn’t even stand up. I laid that way for about six hours, scaring the hell out of my poor wife and sons, until I finally went to the emergency room. All I got were great drugs. They helped some.

I went to the doctor on Monday, and was scheduled for a MRI. They located a pinched nerve due to my unbalanced and asymetrical lifting and muscle growth. They scheduled me for surgery. I was unable to stand up for any period of time due to the intense pain, and was off work and in bed for two weeks. I went to my chiropractor, physical therapist. After some massage and manipulation, I could stand the pain. They hooked up electrical stim as well so I could to back to school. As long as I didn’t stand up, I was ok. Finally I could stand up for awhile, but I couldn’t even throw a basketball up for a lay-in. After intense physical therapy and chiropractic treatment, and ART therapy, gradually the weakness has gone. I didn’t have the surgery, the pain has slowly subsided, and gradually I am getting back to where I was as far as strength levels and lifting. I am still not fully recovered though.