T Nation

Recovering From a Muscle Tear


Ive never been much on the message board here for various reasons, but I know there are some people out there that have had a similar promblem to what I have and what might be the best route to cure what ails me.

Basicly what happened was that over a year and a half ago I tore a few of the muscles in my upper back(in the muscle belly) while helping a friend move. It was misdiagnosed by the military dotors as a budging disc for over 6 months(due to the residual pain and local swelling in the neck area), so after a time it has healed with scar tissue that is a large knot in various spots of the muscle. It is painful to lift and causes the muscle to tire prematurely so I can not currently lift right now.

Ive been trying to get in to see the doctors, but being deployed isnt helping much. Ive heard some negative feedback about the cortisone shots in the lump to break it up and that only time will heal such things, along with massage theraphy. I know people cant give absolute answers over the internet, but Im curious to what other peoples experinces have been.
Thanks in advance


I'm mostly responding because I know the military. Awesome docs, but leaves you wondering sometimes... My husband had probs with his shoulder. Did phys therapy for 8 months or so, then they told him that cortisone would probably work. Was on increased amounts of motrin, then neproxin. Did a cortisone session, was supposed to either cure or last 3-4 months. It felt great for 2. Then they said, "oh, we don't want to give you more than a couple of sessions of this." So they gave him another session, prior to deployment to Balad AB, Iraq. It killed him while he was there. Got surgery when he got back. The surgery was March 05, and he doesn't think it helped much. In YOUR case, though... it seems like a more urgent problem. I hope they take awesome care of you! I have probs with my shoulder & need to have them look at it. Ugh.



The only thing that helps my two-time hamstring tear is higher rep eccentric loading. 2 x 12-15 leg curls, 2 x 12-15 hip extensions added in to three workouts per week.

The major question is exactly what function does the torn muscle provide? Does it shrug the shoulder up? Back? Back and down? Externally rotate at the shoulder? Internally rotate?

When we figure out the movement the muscle in question is responsible for, we can figure out exercises to begin eccentrically loading it.


i am recovering from a major tear and can give you some advice...feel free to message me if you would like..but here are some key points...

1) time and patentence. Realize you have a serious injury and it going to take time.

2) Measure success in small steps. The natural inclination is for us to value our recovery a success is to be measure is I am back 100% prior to injury. Take very small small goals...increase range of motion of a inch, decreased pain, I handled five more pounds that last week, I can hold an isometric position for 20 seconds longer, I cranked out a few more high reps....

3) Get to a very good ART or deep tissue person to start breaking up scar tissue...if not available research about self trigger points. In your case reasearch about a relative inexpesnisve piece of equipment called the Theracane.

4) Check your nutrition. Make sure you are avoiding keep your blood acidic. Only adds to injury and can set you up again.

5) Take the mental perspective that you have been injured and right now you are not worried about what you were prior to the injury but at this moment the injury is testing your will. It is a lot more challenging to overcome an injury then to be perfectly healthy and train. I once heard that Westside Barbell did not consider you truly in...until you overcame one major injury...don't know that for sure but the point is it takes a special mentality to overcome it. You are doing the right thing by seeking advice.

5) Seek alternative medicine....accupuncture, accupressue, blood cupping is an excellent one for an injury...one of the things that helped me was Qijong...when I first started doing this post injury..I was thinking this "yoda" "flows of enenrgy thru you body" is bs...but it really did help. A thousand years of Chinese medicine can't be wrong.

6) At this point in your injury stay away from ice.

7) During the recovery phase even if you can't train heavy try to keep you t-levels high. Higher T-levels help the recover process.

8) Take your recovery into mutliple mini sessions for a few mintues every day. Tell coworkers you are working a hurt muscle. I even have gone to the john so I could have a few minutes to stretch and do some range of motion stuff.

9) Be very aware of the muscle groups surronding the injury. Massage them and make sure they are not overcompensating for the injured muscle. Sometimes with an injury you injured muscle does not come back 100% because the body reconizes it is hurt and force the surronding muscles to work order and put you body into different postions than it would normally.

10) Train the other side of the body muscle group. For example if you tore you right bicep..train your left bicep..It helps in the recovery.

11) BW exercises are great for injury recovery. So are isometrics.

12) DON'T GIVE @$%$#%$#%$#@% UP!!!! I am still in my recovery phase over a year later but I have come a long ways and continue to go farther...it does not mean I have days..when I think..ok I am ready to retire and become a suburban dad....but I take a litte break and think about the 85 year old lady in the corner of the gym with osteo doing partial lunges...and I think ok stop being a T.O. and get back to work.

Good luck please feel free ask more specific questions. Remember ..."you are not alone"


I tore it in multiple places. They are all in my upper right portion of the back. I would have to assume that 3 of the places were in the trap, the top part right above the shoulder blade, and the 2 others are lower and are about in the middle of the right side. Im assuming they could also possibly be the rhombus or part of the lat because of location and I have not been fully diagnosted as to which exact muscles it was. It basicly hurts to do any pressing or pulling, making it hard to do anything for the upperbody.
I did mangage to get some massage theraphy out of pocket and the therapist was the one that explained to me what was going on. The knots were so huge that others therapists were called over to check it out. I was told it was the largest they had ever seen. The main problem with this was that now I dont have access to the massage theraphy as I am downrange in Afghanistan and Im trying to slowly get myself back on track and the docts here said all they can really do for me is to inject the knots with cortizone and go roll over a baseball or rock with all my weight to help break up the knots.

Also thanks for the other replies, they mean alot actually. Ive been suffering with this pain for over a year and half now, and had basicly given up hope. Im a mess and not even close to what I once was. I had a hard time picking myself out in a photo the other day, thats how bad I let myself go. Time to put the pack back on and beat this thing...



Really take a look and do a search on the Theracane or Knobstick. They will enable you to reach around to your back and break the knots a lot better than a rock. Also, trying doing a search on item called GooseBalls. They would help break those knots up a lot. Keep that areas warm and blood flowing thru there.
Good luck!


Thanks for the support.

Have you used any of those products you posted on? I was able to find the Theracane but the other 2 drew up
blanks on internet searches. If you could direct me to sites that carry those products I would appreciate it so I can find out which one will best fit my needs. Thanks again

Edit:I just did an ebay search and found a product called Goosebumps Balls. Are these the ones you mentioned? Also would you suggest the entire kit from the website of Theracane?