Shoulder Discomfort

Hi guys,
my left shoulder hurts when i extend my arm and try to bring it behind my body (like a sprinter does it when he crosses the finishline)
as i push the arm higher its starts hurting, like a twinge. Also if i try doing wide grip bicep curls.
I only have this problem in my left shoulder and when im in a training phase. It seems to come from Dips& Bench Presses but Im not quite sure.
I can push heavy weight overhead and bench heavy without a problem. the only painful thing is trying to bring my arm backwards. Is this a Rotator Cuff thing?
Do you know what this is and what to do (exercises) to get rid of it?
Would be glad if someone helps me :)!
Thanks in advance


When you say “try to bring your arm up behind your body” do you mean like when you are trying to undo your bra strap? (Not that sprinters do this but still could be important).

Yup could be rotator cuff, could be long head of biceps, could be a number of things.
Where exactly is the pain? in the front of your shoulder?

no its only if i my arm is fully extended. the pain is in the middle of the shoulder. difficult to locate, for some reason :confused:

It sounds like you have biceps tendonitis (biceps tendonopathy). You need to see a soft tissue specialist such as a Remedial Massage Therapist. This is what I do for a living.

This problem most likely wont go away by itself and if you continue to do exercises such as dips it will get worse.

If you do experience pain doing bench press or barbell curls then switch to dumbbells for a while and that should work ok. If curls hurt too much then stop doing bicep exercises altogether.

Bottom line is you need to see a soft tissue specialist ASAP.

Yes you could see a soft tissue “specialist” (surely this name should be restricted, but never mind, a debate for another day) and that may help (if they are good). However it’s important to know the exact injury and to treat the cause not just the symptoms if you want long term benefits. The wrong treatments could aggravate you more…

Such predisposing factors could include:
Faulty technique
Poor scapulothoracic biomechanics
Excessively tight or weak stablisers both rotator cuff and scapular.
restrictions through your thoracic or cervicle spine.
muscle imbalances

This is just a sample of what could be happening. It does sound a bit like bicep tendinopathy, if resisting shoulder flexion with your palm facing upwards and with your arm straight aggravates your shoulder then i would be looking that way myself. Of course it may be something other than a bicep tendinopathy and if it doesn’t settle quickly you’d be best advised to see a registered health professional who can diagnose your problem such as a physical therapist or sports physician.

As mentioned above stay away from aggravating movements for a while.

ok thanks for the help!
Im doing rotator cuff work now, after every upper body day.
Its already better :)!

[quote]GainPlex wrote:
ok thanks for the help!
Im doing rotator cuff work now, after every upper body day.
Its already better :)![/quote]

What kind of rotator cuff work are you doing? I’m always interested in hearing what works for people.

I do it 2 times a week after my upper body day.
i it on a scottbank sidways and place my ellbow on the pad :wink:

I now rested a couple of days and the pain got worse when i do the movement.
Gonna see a doctor soon.
Thanks for your help!

Its sounds almost like the same type of injury I am rehabbing through right now. Almost same symptoms as you have verbatim. I have been lifting for about two years seriously when my impingement happened. If there is one piece of advice to take:


I felt pain in my shoulder, like a “Twinge” and it progressively got worse as I struggled through my workouts, thinking it was just a minor strain or pull, it would go away. Well, it didn’t and if your injury matches close to mine, this is what you can probably expect as the norm for your treatment.

After pain when lifting my arm behind my back, pain when performing Lat raises, Dips, Pushups, Bench —basically progressing into any form of push or pulls from trying to work through it-- I saw a doctor. If you go to a walk-in clinic or family practice, you will probably receive some type of anti- inflammatory to take for a couple of weeks and told to rest the arm and alternate times of heat and ice. That did not work for me so they referred me to a Orthopedic Specialist. The Ortho I was referred to was a very respected MD that handled all of the shoulder injuries for LSU athletics and from what I understood the routine for treatment goes like this:

Started one month of Physical therapy which consisted of a very thorough examination and a plan of rehab that revolved around strengthening the muscles of the rotator cuff. All lifting heavy was abandoned and I began with band resistance with exercises that focused on internal and external rotation which progressed into wall climbs and pendulum and stick raise exercises, this was 2 hours a day 4 days a week. The focus was to try and loosen the impingement and and keep the muscle from rubbing bone in my shoulder and fraying the muscle.

PT helped unfreeze an impingement for me but I had other issues going on. The next step was steroid injections directly into the shoulder, which did not help.I then took and MRI of my shoulder which revealed a tear in the cuff. Long adventure summed up: The only thing that helped me was arthoscopy surgery.

My ortho went in and removed bone spurs, tightened loose ligaments, repaired a tear,and performed Subacromial Decompression which is widening the space in a bone which is the pathway that some muscles move in the shoulder, they burrow it out,widening it–so the muscle cant impinge when it is worked.

Sooooooo— what are we looking at so far: anti- inflammatory first, then PT, then Steroid injections and if all else fails, surgery then rehab

If it can be avoided I suggest surgery be a last resort because it will disrupt your life and your quality of living will drastically be reduced for A LONG FREAKIN’ TIME. My procedure was done August 22 and I am still in an immobilizer now and looking at the least 2 months of rehab before I am able to lift ANY type of weight overhead. And if my rehab goes as scheduled I am still 4 months out before being able to return to work and start my normal everyday life. I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom on you, but just trying to give insight on an injury that may be resembling my own. Please update us on your doctor visit and if I can help out anyway by sharing any experience please let me know, PM or something and please…


@ MarkyMark78
tanks a bunch for your valuable input. I experience some pain in my right shoulder on and off for 9 months. Not real bad but a signal for rest. It might come from taking a shower, eating or probably sleeping on it. My guess is tondonitis maybe middle delt. My healthy lower body is progressing faster since i workout on-off upper half.
I feel your pain and hope progress comes steady. With crazy work schedule i am close to 6 weeks total rest.
I try to avoid inflammatory foods. Likely source pressing and dipping too deep, i am very flexible.
Any, all suggestion welcome.
All the best.