T Nation

Shoulder Pain

was hoping you could help me. for a little while my right shoulder ‘hasnt quite felt right’ - i was ignoring it (stupid i know), but now ive laid off training for 5 weeks - it still hurts. ill attempt to describe the various ways im able to replicate the pain:

  1. the bottom part of a military press (especially with dumbells - i think this is because the way i press with dumbells, the barbell would go through the middle of my head!) is painful - even with light weight (or if i simply do the motion with no weight!)

  2. if i hold my arm out to the side and form an L shape, such that my fist is parallel to the floor, then if i ‘rotate’ it 90 degrees upwards - like a cuban rotation, so my fist is pointing the ceiling, this hurts - not hugely, but it feels uncomfortable, towards the front of the shoulder

  3. the very bottom part of tricep dips

  4. OCCASIONALLY the last part of the negative motion of a bench press hurts - usually benching is fine

  5. the negative motion of chest flyes with dumbells

  6. if i was to hold, say, a pool cue with a wide grip and ‘rotate’ it from in front of my waist to behind my back, the part of the movement as the pool cue passes behind my head/neck will feel awkward and uncomfortable

the pain was bad, thats why ive stopped doing anything with any arm involvement (surviving off squats, back hyperextensions and stomach work for now - however even holding the bar for squats is a little painful).

does anyone have any preliminary ideas what’s wrong? could something be wrong with my rotator cuff? will i need surgery? (panicking!) the thing that concerns me most is that after a complete layoff, i can still replicate the pain with no weight.

i know the internet is no susbtitute for medical advice, but due to insurance reasons i wont be able to get this checked out for another 3-4 weeks, and id like to know what i’m in for.

any advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated. thanks for running a good site!


I could be wrong, but it sounds like a combination of bicipital tendonitis and either teres minor/infraspinatus pain. If any external rotation bothers you, it is the latter two muscles. To test this, hold your elbow against your side and bring your forearm so it is parallel with the floor with your hand facing towards your body (semi-supinated or neutral). Now, have someone hold pressure on the palm and try to press against the pressure. If this causes pain, then the answer is there. For more details, ask Mike Robertson or Eric Cressey. Those boys know their stuff hardcore!

Could be impingement?

hi there!

thanks for replying.

ok - just to check my understanding of what you wanted me to do… i pin my right elbow to my side, whilst the palm of my hand faces my chest (knuckles facing away). i then ‘rotate’ my arm, such that when im done, my palm is facing away from my body.

when i do this with a band it hurts. when theres no resistance, it still feels kinda uncomfortable

armed with this information, are you guys able to hazard a guess as to what’s going on? and if so… how will i go about ‘fixing’ it?