T Nation

Shoulder/Chest Problem, Not Sure


#1

Hey everyone,

I have had a problem with my shoulder/chest/scapula (not sure which) for over 6 months now, as a result I haven't been able to train and have pretty much lost a whole 2 years of progress that I made from when I first started training, I am very depressed and it hasn't got better at all. I have spent over £300 on physiotherapist's, chiropractors and reflexologists, here is what they have said:

Physiotherapist (forgot about me each time i saw him):
1st thing he said: Your left back muscles are too tight compared to your right, do thoracic extensions on a foam roller.

2nd thing he said: You just seem a bit tight in your spine and ribs, do thoracic extensions on a foam roller.
3rd thing he said: Sounds like you have weak rotator cuff muscles on your right side, do external rotations on a band for 3x30 3 times a day.

Chiropractor:
your spine might be twisted, here let me crack your back. Great, now my nurse will massage you for 10 mins, thanks for your money, oh and stop weight training until the problem goes away.

Reflexologist:
You are too stressed out, chill out, man.

How I THINK it started: I was carrying a heavy ass bag to college, for a month, over my right shoulder, must of weighted about 15kg.

The problem:
It is not painful at all, just very uncomfortable, I know there is an imbalance and i dont know how to fix it.

CHEST EXERCISES:
Whenever I do ANY CHEST EXERCISES AT ALL my right pec is completely unresponsive to the movement, my right delt takes over straight away, burns alot in the anterior and POSTERIOR parts and I have to stop the set. Also when I do push ups my right arm wings out more.

BACK EXERCISES:
I am finding it very hard to contract both sides of my back equally, my right side pulls back a lot further than my left. Sometimes in lat pulldowns, my right pec will throb in the lower outer portion near my nipple.

SHOULDER EXERCISES: No real problem

DUMBBELL PULLOVERS: As the dumbbell goes over my head in the downward motion, it feels like my scapula digs into the bench, and that my right arm will snap off. This happens with very light weights, even 10kg

FLEXIBILITY:
My right shoulder is alot more flexible than my left, almost hypermobile.

FEELING:
Whenever I go over speed bumps, or jump, my left pec will move and I will feel the sensation, but I will not with my right.

Whenever I yawn, my left pec will contract from my neck straining, yet my right pec will not.

Whenever I shiver, my left pec will contract and shake, but my right is yet again, unresponsive.

It 'feels' like my right shoulder is a lot less stable than my left, it feels like it has slightly seperated from my shoulder and is hunching forward.

My left pec also became a bit thicker than my right in the early stages of this problem when I was still training at the gym, it hasn't changed since. This was due to my right pec not contracting and my shoulder/arm taking over the strain instead.

I also emailed Eric Cressey about it in slightly less detail, he told me to get my pec minor, subscapularis and coracobrachialis massaged, however, since I had no money, I googled how to massage them and gave detailed instructions to my friend on how to do it. It didn't really make a difference.

Sorry that this was a long post, I just need to cover every detail. I really need help.

I LOVE TRAINING, it was my life! But I can't do it anymore, all I can do is leg presses etc. because any involvement of my upper body and weights just makes the problem much more uncomfortable. I am a poor student, and I have spent alot of my money trying to get this problem fixed, only to get shit advice.

I still read about training and I itch every day to go to the gym, I have still tried but it just results in a few days of discomfort and frustration. I am getting very depressed now and it just seems there is no answer to my problems.

I know a lot of people on this site are very knowledgeable, if anyone could shed any light onto this situation it would be greatly appreciated!

Pictures are attached in next post


#2

front relaxed, as you can see here the right pec is noticably smaller, my right shoulder is still down slightly due to carrying a heavy bag - but it was worse.


#3

back relaxed

From the above and this pic, you can see that my right side is pulled back more.


#4

right side (problem) relaxed


#5

left side relaxed

from the two side pics, on the right side picture, you can see my left pec, on the left side picture, you can’t see my right pec. This is proof that the right pec is smaller, and that the right side of my body is pulled back more than my left.


#6

back, rear delts contracted


#7

back, scapula retracted


#8

back double bi


#9

arms out to accentuate clavicle, not flexed


#10

Shoulder flexibility, upwardly rotated


#11

shoulder flexibility, downardly rotated


#12

I honestly believe there will be people here that can help, i am not one. I do however have an opinion that someone more educated can expand on or rubbish if necessary…!

Nice to meet you, hope you have a great set of quads and hams from all the lower body work i bet you aren’t doing! lol!

Now, in my limited knowledge of your problem, i think it sounds not so much of a pec problem, but a scapula problem, due to imbalances in the back and shoulder musculature.

For me, i need ideally to touch you, feel your muscles, look at your gait, take some measurements, have you perform some simple “tests” to really get to grips with the issue, but without, all i can suggest is it seems you have very poor scapula stabilation which will be from the right lat which seems to be weak as shit, lower Traps, rhomboids and your subscapularis and infraspinatus are all weak, and quite possibly could be caused from the bag if carried over the right shoulder… (there is some confusion in your post between L+R) if you hunched that shoulder up and forward, activating the upper traps, pec minor, and stretching alot of the muscles previously mentioned…

If it is the above (and TBH if it was, you wouldnt have had so much trouble with the professionals i hope), then it would be a marrer of a shit load of rowing movements, face plls etc… but don’t go running to the gym yet!

It is a hard one, i need someone else at this point.

Joe


#13

[quote]Joe Brook wrote:
a scapula problem, due to imbalances in the back and shoulder musculature.[/quote]
Agree on this one

[quote]Joe Brook wrote:
it seems you have very poor scapula stabilation which will be from the right lat which seems to be weak as shit, lower Traps, rhomboids and your subscapularis and infraspinatus are all weak, and quite possibly could be caused from the bag if carried over the right shoulder…[/quote]
That seems like a good theory. My right lat is smaller in my back pics, and my right arm was bigger (half an inch bigger than my left), so it may of taken over the job of my lat.

[quote]Joe Brook wrote:
(there is some confusion in your post between L+R)[/quote] sorry, just fixed that, thanks for pointing it out!

[quote]Joe Brook wrote:
If it is the above (and TBH if it was, you wouldnt have had so much trouble with the professionals i hope)[/quote]
Sometimes I wonder how they are called professionals, from the information gathered on this site i’ve been able to tell a couple of friends how to fix their problems from a few questions after they have spent loads on these ‘professionals’. It just seems they try to keep you coming back to sap your money. If they really fixed your problems, you wouldn’t go back to keep paying them!

Edit: I know there are some really good physios out there, I didn’t mean for this to offend you in any way if you do stuff like that for a living. I am just a bit ticked off at the treatment recieved for the money I have payed.

[quote]Joe Brook wrote:
It is a hard one, i need someone else at this point.[/quote]
Thanks for the help joe


#14

I agree with the professionals rant. i really do. I personally feel if i am going to charge money for a service, whether training or therapy, i need to be able to do ANYTHING they need me to do,AND/OR have a solid, respectable referral system.

I currently train people and i am confident to take their money, as i know what i am doing, they will be given a top-notch service to the absolute best of my ability.
I am also a qualified sports injury therapist, and while i have more knowledge than someone who isnt, due to the fact i havent practiced for years, i simply would never charge someone for any theraputic service, even a simple relaxing massage, as i dont believe i am competent ENOUGH in that field to provide a service for a cost, only as a free “bonus” service, more infomation or direction than therapy these days.
it seems some professionals do not share these values.

JB


#15

Well, you could use some thoracic extensions! :wink:

Have you done much foam rolling or tennis/cricket ball work? You should be able to hit some trigger points in the muscles Cressey mentioned. The coracobrachialis should be easy - the rest you have to dig a ball into your armpit and kind of pray. Googling ‘tennis ball (desired muscle)’ works.

Back to the thoracic extensions - you do have pretty pronounced forward head posture. If you work on that I bet your problem muscles with free up.

This is a pretty cool article - sums up a lot of good things to try. The tennis ball for the upper traps is great.

Hmm… just scanned through your old logs. I’m going to have to come back to this later. I’d at least try the rolling, wall slides and YTWLs. I don’t really know how your healthcare system works but can you get into a orthopedist to check out your shoulder?

Edit - Not a professional either - just hoping to steer you towards a solution.


#16

I say this with the caveat that I have no idea what may be wrong with you and am not very knowledgeable in this area, but when I hear shoulder problem I’ve found this shoulder stretch to usually be of great help.

If you’re flexibility is bad and you don’t have a long enough stick try using a bath towel, and I’d go slower than in the video.


#17

I read neanderthal no more series, and I can safely say my posture is not the best:

excessive kyphosis and lordsis.

forward head posture, results in stiff neck and my mouth being open most of the time.

left arm: humerus is internally rotated.

Right arm: humerus is exterally rotated.

Right scapula is retracted more than the left.

Right shoulder girdle is lower than the left.

Right hip is lower than the left.

Interally rotated femur & inversion of the knee.

Ok so thats great, but how do I fix it?

I’m obviously fucked up in the posture department due to sitting poorly in a chair for my whole teenage life (school, then sitting playing computer games FOR TWO YEARS STRAIGHT because I became depressed and dropped out).

Believe it or not my kyphosis was alot worse than this and has improved greatly.

In the neanderthal series it does have a pre-habilitation program, however it states that is for after I have fixed my problems, which need a physical therapy program.

Anyone got any ideas on how to fix the above posture problems?


#18

You try anything in that MWA article yet? You should have some nasty upper trap trigger points. Have you ever tried any rolling/tennis ball stuff? Haven’t seen you ever mention it.


#19

[quote]HoratioSandoval wrote:
You try anything in that MWA article yet? You should have some nasty upper trap trigger points. Have you ever tried any rolling/tennis ball stuff? Haven’t seen you ever mention it.[/quote]

yea I checked out the article, seems stretching of my levator scapulae will help. I’ll do the tennis boll rolling and everything else on there too.


#20

Ok, so I attempted to start Eric Cressey’s neanderthal program part 1, and I can’t do it!

The lower body portion was ok, with snatch grip deadlifts etc. but as soon as i tried the upper body i just get fucked over!

I was doing the seated cable row, pronated, medium grip… I can only feel the muscles in the left side of my torso contracting!!!

After the 6th set I was fucking furious, It was as if i had just been doing one arm rowing on my left side.

So to summarize:
Can only feel LEFT PEC contracting in EVERY SINGLE CHEST MOVEMENT. Can only feel LEFT BACK MUSCLES contracting in ROWING MOVEMENTS.

I don’t know if its my left side that is the problem and that its too tight, or if my right side is a problem where I have no mind-muscle connection between the torso muscles. Maybe it’s both!?

This is probably why when at my peak (7kg ago) my right arm was almost an entire inch bigger than my left.

I’m so fucking frustrated, angry, depressed that I can’t train normally (for 7 months now!), and because this isn’t causing me any PHYSICAL pain, just discomfort, no physical therapists etc. give a shit.