Shoulder AC Joint Injury, Advice Needed

AC joint Arthritis and MRI need advice…
First off let me give the MRI results/report:
Left Shoulder: Supraspinatus Tendinosis and Longitudinal Intrasubstance Tear.
Subscapularis Tendinosis
Bony Hypertrophy of the AC Joint, Ventrally and Laterally Down Sloping Acromion.
Moderate sized shoulder joint effusion which extends into the long head biceps tendon sheath.

Right Shoulder: Partial Thickness Tear Extending to the bursal surface of the distal supraspinatus tendon.
Subscapularis Tendinosis and partial Thickness delaminating tear distally.
Shoulder Joint Effusion which extends into the long head biceps sheath.
Bony Hypertrophy of the AC Joint, Ventrally and laterally Down Sloping acromion.

These MRI results are from a couple of months ago. I healed up after this and a month ago I started training again not like crazy but being mindful of pain and doing exercises that don’t hurt. The doctor told me to try and avoid overhead movements. I admit that I did pull ups and pulldowns. about two weeks ago my left shoulder flared up and I stopped lifting right away and I went to a chiropractor and he has been performing ART on my shoulder and I do feel better.

But I am uncomfortable with what the chiropractor said. He basically said my days of lifting heavy are over. And he said I should slice everything in half, the weights and the reps. My problem with that is, what kind of workout will that be? I don’t see how you can benefit from that. Im ok with not lifting heavy again (kind of), but to to keep the reps low??? Maybe I misheard him wrong. I don’t know. He said the MRIs weren’t that bad and then he tells me this stuff.
Basically my workouts I divide Upper and Lower Body. I have been doing a 2 to 1 ratio of back to chest exercises. I have been doing this since this started and four to six weeks into working out I get this flare up. Can you guys and gals be kind enough to give me some advice on all this and how I should be working out? Are there surgical options I could do? I really don’t want to give up lifting. Its the only thing that maintains my sanity.

Thanks everybody!

If you were born in 1975 then it’s not necessarily abnormal for you to have partial thickness tears in the rotator cuff. Your biomechanics are probably off which is causing an impingement in the shoulder. The acromion process hypertrophy may be making this worse. This is the big problem with imaging. You have a bunch of stuff that probably could cause pain, but probably isn’t what’s causing pain. Furthermore, if it is what’s causing pain, which thing is causing pain? Did you try any sort of correctives before resorting to an MRI? What were your symptoms? You’re not broken, don’t let anyone treat you that way. Find someone who will help you.

Thanks for the quick reply. The only exercises that cause me pain are lateral raises for a fact. But I can’t say I experience the pain while working out. I usually get the flare up after working out. I haven’t really done any corrective exercises but I have tried some . I just need some sort of guidance.

I can tell this chiro is a pessimist. I’ve been dealing with this problem since 2009. I haven’t consecutively worked out since then. Like I said, I start and then after a few weeks of training I have to stop. I don’t know which exercise is doing it to me.

By the way I’m Croatian too! Kako si? Ja mozem biti bolje!

I’ve got some pretty bad AC joint issues as well. I had to give up lifting completely for about four or five years, maybe longer.

Mine still flares up, but I’ve found pretty good ways to work around it.

I hardly to any heavy pressing - vertical or horizontal.

TONS of lateral raises. I know these are what hurts, but you may want to consider going back to using SUPER light weights and slowly building strength back up, using lots of different techniques like holds and swings but never crossing into the zone where you feel like you’ll cause a flare up. Always back off when something feels wrong.

With pull-ups, there is probably a small range of motion where you feel solid and stable. I’d say it’s okay to do some work in this range, but don’t do much in a fully extended position - never hang loosely with arms straight, always immediately get your elbows bent and stabilize those shoulders.

REPS, VOLUME, FREQUENCY - none of these are bad as long as you learn to self-regulate, back-off when needed, and go light. You can still get great tension, pump, and stimulation if you figure out ways to make light weights seem heavy.

Lastly, I find that digging my finger into the precise area on my acromion where I feel the pain tends to help out.

Oh, and lastly lastly but very important: UNILATERAL movements. When you work with a bar, the clavicle/shoulder girdle becomes fixed around that bar and you create stress all along the entire structure. Bad. Embrace unilateral work - it also tends to open up new angles and methods.

Good luck - this does not have to get in the way of lifting if you are open to new methods and committed to sticking with it.

Thanks for the info! I will definitely take your advice!

I do remember an issue that a physical therapist brought up. I had slight winging of my scapula on the left side. Does this possibly have something to do with this?

Avoid exercises that irritate it. I train very similar to Serge S. I decided against the surgery btw.