T Nation

Remedy for Shoulder Pain?

Pain in both shoulders has crept up rather quickly over the past 2 weeks / 6 training days. The pain occurs during movement of the arms and increases as I bring my arms up and over my head to touch. The pain moves up the shoulder and appears to move into the arm as it is raised into almost the top outer area of the bicep where it meets the tricep. No pain at rest.

The clavicle and acromion bones (where delt & trap meet) are sore when pressure is applied especially around where they join at the top of the shoulder. Delts don’t appear to be sore to the touch.

I have been lifting heavy in the 5-7 rep range. Lots of compound movements.

Yesterday was a chest day and appears to have really aggravated what was at first a light benign soreness. Movements included:

-Incline dumbbell fly
-Flat bench
-Incline Smith
-Chain push-ups
–E-Z-curl-bar standing curls, moderate weight
Hammer curls.

Diet sees regular supplementation of fish-oil and other healthy fats.

I’m about 5’8 @ 175 lbs and at best guess between 15-20% BF.

Looking what I can do, corrective wise, stretching? Any advise? Should I be concerned?

If I were you (and I’ve been in a situation like yours), I’d be concerned… It looks like you’re developing an external impingement (the head of the humerus pushes against the acromion).

You should read as soon as possible a few articles from Eric Cressey (Sholder Savers part I, II and III), from Cressey and Robertson (Neanderthal no More part I, II, III, IV), Cosgrove and Waterbury “Eight week to monster shoulders” (the first part is a very effective prehab protocol), and all you can find about lower trap and scapula.

Basically, you may need more horizontal pulling (row), with scapular retraction, strengthening rotator cuff, rear delts and lower-middle trapezius, stretching of pecs, lat and front delts.

Get all the articles, study them, and find what work for you.

Thanks for the great advise and articles. Going to go dig. In hindsight I have not been doing enough pulling motions and I believe my bench might be sloppy.

When benching: chest out, scapulae back and down (toward your feet), elbows tucked (45° to torso).

When pulling (row, pull-up, deadlift lock-out): chest out, scapulae back and down…

When sitting at your desk: chest out, scapulae back and down…

When hooking chicks: chest out, scapulae back and down… :slight_smile:

Good luck!

Ps: If I where you, I’d read ALL Cressey’s stuff (on T-Nation, on hiswebsite, on elitefs.com, etc…)

I’ve been rehabbing a similar condition. Basically, inflammation of the ac joint causing impingement.

External rotations and lower trap work is helping the most. I would ice the shit out of the your ac joint for a couple days to try and get some of the inflammation down and avoid anything that aggravates it.

ART/Trigger point work on my traps and biceps is helping too. I would do some trap stretches as well as those seem to be helping me. More of a tighter upper trap pulling on the ac joint, and not enough activation in the lower trap to balance it out.

I’d really work on getting it taken care of, as I worked through mine for awhile, and now I’ve been away from heavy lifting for about 3 weeks trying to get it back to normal. Save yourself the down time and just get it taken care of.

I haven’t been doing these program but it might be use to come up with some rehab movements:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0ONHZmsFec .

try doing a lot of external and internal rotations with 5-10 lb dumbbells. avoid lifting anything overhead, do a lot of delt raises with light weights, use dumbbells and a neutral grip for all pressing exercises (ditch the barbell entirely for a while), row for twice as many reps as you press, and do your flat bench press with the dumbbells from the floor so that your shoulders can bear a little less of the load.

I did a lot of this stuff after I developed a scapular impingement when I pitched in college. It ended my career pretty much, but all the rehabbing of it still allowed me to recover well enough to pitch in some recreational leagues and blow guys away. I was never the same after the initial impingement, but I eventually went from throwing 90 mph to struggling to throw 90 feet on a straight line to throwing in the low 80’s with a stiff tail wind. I credit the “recovery” to doing all of the above movements.

Thanks all for the advise and personal experience & points of view.

I am curious about a few things:

A) Can I continue to go heavy with lower body work? (back squats, leg press etc…?)
B) Can I still work in moderate dead-lifting at this point?

I was thinking of staying away from bench / chest for at least 2 weeks and going light with rowing motions and strictly working with dumbbells for greater control.

@fabiop - I knew my form was all wrong “when hooking chicks”.

@theuofh - Thanks for the YouTube link. What do you mean “taken care of”? See a massage therapist? chiro? or did you mean work through Cressey’s routines?

@artw - Sorry to hear it blew your career mate. The dumbell press on the ground is a great idea, THANKS!

[quote]paulsveda wrote:

A) Can I continue to go heavy with lower body work? (back squats, leg press etc…?)
B) Can I still work in moderate dead-lifting at this point?

C) I was thinking of staying away from bench / chest for at least 2 weeks and going light with rowing motions and strictly working with dumbbells for greater control.


A) As long as your shoulders don’t hurt on back squat, yes! You may try clean grip front squat: even if it doesn’t seems, it’s actually easier on shoulders (and it help thoracic spine mobility);

B) If it’s a painless exercise (and it should be), go as heavvy as possible, just remember “scapulae back and down” :slight_smile: On a serious note, you should hold the lock-out position for a count of three and try to retract-depress your scapula as hard as possible (see Neanderthal No More IV - the actual program);

C) Good idea to stay away from bench press. If rowing doesn’t hurt, no reason to go (too) light. Use DBs or a parallel grip cable row , which make it easier to keep arms as close to torso as possible. Do I need to repeat the “scapula” mantra?

An RMI wouldn’t hurt, as well as a GOOD physical therapist. Good luck, and keep enjoy training!

I simply mean doing whatever it takes to get your shoulder healthy and strong again.

I would say you are ok w/ most lower body exercises as long as they don’t cause pain. If you feel it getting aggravated when performing them or wake up the next day w/ your shoulder worse, I’d back off/avoid those exercises.