T Nation

Shoulder Injury, Popping Noise

About 3 months ago I injured my shoulder doing LIGHT bench work. I was being a dumbass and tried to go all explosive with it and my shoulders came off the bench and something got screw up in the process of throwing around the weight. I went with the advice of my lifting buddies and decided to just work through the pain.

It started off as pretty bad pain. I couldn’t get under the bar to do a backsquat. I’ve since switched to front squat to avoid the pain of getting in the back squat position.

Here recently, I’ve developed a popping noise from the shoulder on bench press. 2 or 3 pops going down and 2 or 3 going up. When the weight is really heavy, I kind of don’t hear or feel it. The shoulder hurts every morning when I get up. I’ve been icing almost daily for 3 months. I’m afraid to go to the doctor because he will likely tell me to quit lifting weights. I’m not sure what to do at this point. My strength seems to be okay, it just hurts and makes noises during bench. Anyone know what could be causing this?

Ive been having a similar problem for almost three years. I did as your friends told you to do, lift through the pain. Not a good idea. The pain is your body telling you that your irritating the fuck out of your shoulder. The popping is more than likely swelling that is occurring due to the injury and inflammation.

My shoulder pops when I do pressing lifts. I also injured mine incline bb benching but was doing heavy weight. My stregnth is great, but my when I lift heavy it hurts like hell and I cannot do dips, flat bench, and especially not any BB presses. I have an MRA tomorrow to hopefully show wtf is going on with mine. I am in the best shape of my life. bigger and stronger than I have ever been, but if you dont get it looked at to diagnose the problem, its just going to get worse.

More scare tissue will develop over time, the pain will get worse, you may tear whatever worse, and healing after you get it fixed will just take longer. I personally have tried to deal with mine with everything I could read and do to help, but if surgery is needed, I’m gonna get it done so i can heal up and lift the way I NEED to. Good luck and get it checked out!

Dang not the answer I was looking for haha. Thanks man.

[quote]curtyb wrote:
Ive been having a similar problem for almost three years. I did as your friends told you to do, lift through the pain. Not a good idea. The pain is your body telling you that your irritating the fuck out of your shoulder. The popping is more than likely swelling that is occurring due to the injury and inflammation.

My shoulder pops when I do pressing lifts. I also injured mine incline bb benching but was doing heavy weight. My stregnth is great, but my when I lift heavy it hurts like hell and I cannot do dips, flat bench, and especially not any BB presses. I have an MRA tomorrow to hopefully show wtf is going on with mine. I am in the best shape of my life. bigger and stronger than I have ever been, but if you dont get it looked at to diagnose the problem, its just going to get worse.

More scare tissue will develop over time, the pain will get worse, you may tear whatever worse, and healing after you get it fixed will just take longer. I personally have tried to deal with mine with everything I could read and do to help, but if surgery is needed, I’m gonna get it done so i can heal up and lift the way I NEED to. Good luck and get it checked out! [/quote]

Advice doesn’t get any better than this.

COULD BE A SUBLEXATION sorry for caps lockl

Funny this thread popped up, I just went to the doctor today about it. They think it’s a Labrum cartlage tear. Does anybody know anything about this type of injury?

Depending on the severity and location of the labral tear, and the severity of the symptoms associated with the tear, it may require surgery. Recovery from surgery depends on how the tear is handled (just trimming vs repair) and if other procedures are done along with it (capsular repair, decompression, etc).

I have worked with several athletes who have been able to rehab through and continue with activity with labral tears and others who have just needed to have the surgery done.

Thanks.

My strength is nearly 100%, it’s just the aching pain and popping noise that really worries me. The PA said if I keep lifting on it, I risk tearing it even more, and possibly dislocating it.

I know this is a difficult question to answer, but if I were to have surgery, what time frame are we looking at between surgery and full recovery? 6 months? 1 year?

I’m really worried since I stopped bench pressing this week and all exercises that relate to the shoulder such as cleans, front squats, deadlifts, chinups, etc. I’m VERY worried about how much muscle I will be loosing. Kind of depressing.

Out of curiosity, have they done an MRI to confirm a labral tear? What types of physical exams have they done to your shoulder? Did they state where and the degree of labral tear they are suspecting?

In regards to your question, it all depends on what is done with the surgery, but if it is a labral repair, it could be as short as 3 months or as long as 1 year, depending on how rehab goes, what is done surgically, any other problems noted and fixed during surgery, etc.

elano,
I sure as hell hope it’s not a labral tear. From all I’ve heard and read up to now, one has to have the surgery if shoulder stability in serious athletic activities (read: you’re not a weekend warrior) is a must.

pat from our forums had had done labral tear reconstruction, maybe you can shoot him a PM or have him have a look at this thread.

Apart from surgery, I’ve read about people having had success using prolotherapy for labral tear repairs.

My personal take (I’m no medical expert) on the matter is: although the outcome of surgical labral tear reconstruction can be pretty good, it takes a long time and is pretty painful, resulting in a rather long absence from work and training.
That’s why I’d give prolotherapy a shot for about 3-4 months.

No way in hell would I give physical therapy alone a shot.

At least make sure to get a proper diagnosis.

FattyFat,
I agree with your points about if shoulder stability is a big part of ones athletic activity, then surgery is a generally highly recommended.

I do agree with prolotherapy for certain usages, but not really for labral repair. I have seen good results in some cases with SI Joint cases and mixed results with patellar tendon and achilles tendon treatments. I haven’t heard much regarding labral issues, but just from my frame of mind, you would have to be very specific in where your injection was placed, know exactly where the labral tear is, and be able to get to that spot of the tear in order to hopefully get some of the results one would hope to get from prolotherapy (which is debatable as well). In elano’s case, the doctors have not done an MRI and unsure of the location of the tear, or if there is even a tear there. They may have an idea based on physical and orthopedic exams, but we don’t even know yet what has been done.

Prolotherapy can be a very painful procedure as well and generally only light gentle motion is recommended to be done for the first day or two after injections. I’m not saying prolotherapy is a waist, but I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in it for a labral repair, especially with the lack of research on prolotherapy in general. I am also basing my point of view on my experiences with prolotherapy, which I admit has not involved any shoulder based treatments.

I will disagree with not going for a physical therapy based treatment plan. I have worked with several athletes in the past and currently work with one right now with a severe labral tear (about 2-3 oclock to 6-7 oclock) and has responded greatly with a soft tissue manipulation and rehab approach and has had symptomatic improvement and has not had to modify or remove duties that are expected on him for his job. The only pharms he has taken has been Mobic for anti-inflammatory purposes. In the setting I work in, I am not limited by insurance in terms of what I can do and the length/frequency of visits, which I think makes a big difference when compared to traditional PT visits where insurance does play a big role. But if properly done, I am a strong advocate of a rehab only approach as long as there is no gross instability in the joint due to the tear.

LevelHeaded,
thanks for shedding light on this matter from an expert/experienced point of view.

You’ve actually pointed out my reasons for badmouthing PT as the sole therapy for a labral tear:

Where I’m from, you usually get a prescription for 4-6 20 min sessions and are allowed to get a follow-up for another 4 20-25 min sessions in the same quarter. Maybe that’s why two friends of mine didn’t have success with this.
My own experience with PT hasn’t been any better (after a subluxation, docs thought I might’ve had torn my labrum). Finding a good PT is almost as hard as finding a good sports physician. Even in a city with a renowned sports university ;(

I have only had a physical exam done by a PA. I was referred to an orthopedic doctor and have an appointment in 6 days to talk with them. I’m hoping for the best, but the clicking and popping makes me believe it’s getting pretty bad.

Thanks for your help fatty fat and levelheaded. I will post up next week after I meet with the doctor.

FattyFat,

Definitely understand your frustration and don’t disagree with you on the point of view of limited PT visits. The whole insurance situation with PT visits frustrates me endlessly, but it is a losing battle. The big thing is finding a great therapist who will go above and beyond and help his/her patients to the fullest and also provide structured, individualized at home programs for their patients. Also, I recommend finding a PT who has a great relationship with local S&C coaches/performance enhancement coaches/trainers who can help guide the person into their activities.

Hey elano,

Similar situation here…

I took a hiatus from lifting and the problem went away, but since I’ve started again the problems back.

Same place, same sort of pain - no popping yet though.

I’ve literally tried everything to sort it out, I just cant see this being something I’d need surgery on if we have the same issue…

It’s really not THAT painful just irritating as shit.

Ive personally torn both labrums so i guess you could say im well versed on the matter. One test that i still have problems with is a shoulder stability test called the O’Briens test, or “empty can” test. basically hold your arm in front of you like your doing a front raise with your palms facing out and thumbs straight down. if you can lift your arm up and its stable (have a buddy try and resist you pushing up a little below your parallel plane) you shuold be good. disclaimer i am by no means a doctor, but its a test i failed miserably when i tore each one. I personally tore both of mine playing football.

The first i seperated my freshman year towards the end of the season, and i just kinda assumed a little pain was from that. 2nd year it started killing me to do hitting drills. last year (09) i ended up tearing my other shoulder, all through the summer I had light pain with it every once and awhile, mostly when lifting light on bench. I maxed out at 365 for 6 and it didnt bother me there. but the impact s was what did it. Note the first tear was halfway around my shoulder, from noon to 6, and the second was 3/4, 9 to 6. for educational purposes there are 2 kinds of labral tears im aware of, SLAP tears and Bankart tears, or front and back respectively. slap is mostly what pitchers do from what i understand, back is front high impact/loading, pushing your humerus out the back.

Rehab times for both, the first i had surgery on oct. 28, i was pissed i couldnt get dressed up as anything but a zombie for halloween cuz of the sling. I was lifting again by mid jan-feb. the 2nd wasnt nearly as fast. surgery was 9/1/09, i was out of the sling in 3 weeks but had trouble lifting for awhile, ive been back at it full go no pain since about june july, but benching with 1 board, i recently went straight to the chest no pain although i prob could have b4.

If you have any more questions about the process/surgery/recovery please feel free

Thank you CLX160!

I tried the obriens test like you said and it didn’t really hurt much. How did you react to this test?

I just got back from my first Ortho doctor visit. He says that he doesn’t think it’s a major injury. He diagnosed me with a labral sprain and AC arthrosis. He said I might have a small tear but he doesn’t think I need surgery and said that physical therapy should fix it.

Now I’m conflicted between whether I should do like he says and stop all overhead lifting (been 2 weeks already), or should I continue training like I was. I have a college powerlfting meet in december and I was really wanting to do that. But if PT can get me healed up, it would be nice. I just have a hard time believing that PT is going to fix this.

i failed both tests miserably, the first time it would just be really sore when id snap the football wrong (i played center). the 2nd time was bad, like whenever i would hit a blocking dummy my shoulder would sublex (pop out partially and pop back in), i misshapped the socket and they had to do thermal capsulorrhapy to get it back to the right shape. I am by no means a doctor, just a guy whose seperated his shoulder and tore both labrums. make sure the swelling goes down at least. i cant do frontals anymore bc of it all so just take it easy.

Hey elano,

I think you should skip ALL upper body lifting, along with squat and deadlift variations and oly pulls, do the pt, and stop worrying about losing some muscle for 3 months or so and put things in perspective (Do you really want to risk injuring it worse and being out for a year or more?). Then go back to normal lifting starting at VERY light weight working your way up slowly. Be smart and be strong for the long haul.