T Nation

Shoulder Problems: Torn Labrum


I went to see an orthopedic surgeon early this week and he preliminarily diagnosed me (pending MRI) with a SLAP. This is a torn labrum. Has anyone on this site had experience with this injury?


Hey SS,
I have the same thing. Had some trouble with it years ago but not so much now. I find as long as I concentrate on keeping my shoulders strong, especially the rotator cuff, and don't do too many real heavy Barbell Military presses and heavy barbell bench press it doesn't bother me that much. Heavy DB stuff seems to be ok...go figure!! Keeping up with joint supps and fish oil also seems to help. Lay off the heavy bench and military for a while, use some NSAIDs until it feels better and then concentrate on the cuff muscles and start to add in some heavier DB work and I'll bet you'll be fine. Good luck and let me know how it goes. I tore mine in my late 30's and I'm in my 50's now still working out every day and causing trouble!!


Not personally but I've had clients with this injury. If that is indeed your diagnosis, whether or not you elect to have surgery will depend on your degree of disfunction and/or pain. The glenoid labrum basically increases the depth of the gleno-humeral joint socket. If it's torn, that means this joint will be less stable.

That said, in the G/H joint, a lot of stablity can be achived through muscular strengthing, even if the labrum is torn. Best of luck with this in either case!


I had a SLAP grade 3 at 19yrs old. I had arthroscopic surgery to pin down the labrum as well as the biceps tendon and it took a VERY long time to heal. (consequently, I had to give up playing D1 softball in college) If you still have a rotator cuff (had my first surgery to fix this/cut some out) then you need to keep that strong as it stabilizes the joint. Be careful with weights that are held away from the body and try to keep them close (to prevent dislocation) and whatever you do, GO SLOW.

The road is long, it took me about 4 years to get as close to full ROM as possible and it still hurts everyday. You may need to change the way you do things (i.e. how you reach for things, how you put your clothes on, etc) and you might never be 100% but you may be as close to functional as possible.

I hope it all works out for you. Best of luck,



I have had the same thing...in both shoulders. My right shoulder had a full tear and the left was partil. The two surgeries were by different docs. my right was stapled back to the bone and I also had bone spurs so they had to shave part of my collar bone. The left was tied back onto the bone. Both docs stated I had very lose shoulder joints (they said genetics) so the inserted some type of heat rod to shrink the joint.
In both cases it took about 6 months before I was able to begin and upper body work other than PT The first few weeks can be painful but I am glad I did it. My strength has gone past what it ever was. But with that said if there is a way to rehab it witout surgery try that first!


I have a torn labrum in my right shoulder (confirmed by MRI), and I believe I now have a tear in my left shoulder.

For my right shoulder, I had to avoid all overhead pressing, most other shoulder work, certain benching exercises and also ease up on pullups and some biceps exercises. I iced it, used Aleve, and sought chiropractic care involving adjustments, massage, muscle stim and ultrasound. After six months, I no longer had pain/problems with my right shoulder. In fact, it feels better than ever.

Now I need to go back for treatment on my left shoulder and hopefully, it will react the same. I do some overhead pressing (implementing it back into the program six months ago), and it has not caused too many problems (some days I have pain in the left shoulder).

I didn't want to have surgery because it wasn't bad enough to necessitate it at the time. A friend of mine is a PT, and he said that if the pain is so bad that it keeps you up at night or causes problems with sleeping, that's when you should elect surgery. Otherwise, if ice, ibuprofen and massage or other techniques work, it's not worth having surgery as many people who lift weights will have a torn labrum.


How many chiro treatments did you go through and could you be specific as to what protocols he used and how many sessions of each?


Thinking I've got the same issue. Any telltale signs to confirm other than an MRI diagnosis?

PS. I'll PM Dr. Ryan and see if he can offer some thoughts on this too.


A contrast MRI will be the best way to confirm it, but a good PT will be accurate with a diagnosis.

I went to the chiropractor 2-3 times per week for the first month. Then it went down to two visits a week for a couple weeks and then once a week for a couple months and then once every other week. This was over a six-month period.

Each session consisted of an adjustment (I also had other issues with my head/neck/back that were addressed), and massage therapy. I would also alternate between the muscle stim unit and ultrasound at each visit until the pain began to go away (after about three months, I noticed a HUGE difference).

By the time I was going once every other week, I was not having much pain or problems other than slight soreness or stiffness. Now, my right shoulder feels great! I haven't had treatments since March, and I haven't had any problems. However, my left shoulder began doing the same thing that my right shoulder was doing several months ago. Now that I have insurance again, I plan on going back to be treated again.


I had a torn labrum and other instability issues in my shoulder. A torn labrum can facilitate instability in the shoulder (making it more prone to migrate in and out of the joint), so before surgery I would find a specialist in shoulder physical therapy that has experience with this. The typical rotator exercises are only a portion of the rehab for this. There are PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation exercises) that train movements that will teach/help centralize the humerus in the socket (what the labrum aids in doing). Weight can be added to these exercises to add strength to these movements. As Mr. Staley said a torn labrum does not equal surgery, there are other options.


(This article is copied from another forum, and is written by a personal trainer who`s known as DC, Dante or "Doggcrapp".)

How to cure shoulder problems (Trust me this will do it 90% of the time)

With a large towel or broomstick I want you to hold it with straight arms for the entire time of what i describe in the following movement--a large "rolled up like a rope" beach towel works good but honestly a longer broomstick (without the bristles) works best in my opinion. Start out with it with a really wide grip (with straight arms) in front of you (on your quads) and with straight arms bring it up and overhead and then down and back to the middle of your back--STRAIGHT ARMS ALL THE WAY--this is going to be very difficult and hard the first couple times out and then will be "old hat" with time----and its going to be painful in a stretching pump kind of way---i want 50 reps each time you do this--one repetition is from in front of your face (all with straight arms) to up overhead and back, and then down all the way to the middle of your back and then back up overhead to in front of your face again (again all with straight arms)--the important part of the movement is the area overhead that is really tight--do all of this carefully/slowly---dont just whip it over and back---if your hand is slipping off the broomstick even with the widest grip, or you cant bring your arms over straight and the start bending on you, you have some serious shoulder inflexibility and need to work this hard and get up to speed (or you could just need a longer broomstick too)--again do all of these revolutions controlled and carefully--push into the stretch as you go along toward the 50 revolutions, your chest will be pushing outward and your shoulders rolling back--your shoulders are going to blow up with so much blood its going to be incredibly painfull pumpwise--Do this once a day at nite as many times a week as you can---sometimes I have people do it every single day---but every time you do it try to move your grip inward (thats the key)----its going to be very hard to do but try your best to move your grip inward for the next 2-4 weeks and your range of motion with shoulders will increase dramatically and any impingement and the majority of other problems should be gone in 2 weeks--also try to move your grip in as you are doing the 50 revolutions--start off with a stretching but relatively easy 10 to warm up some, then try to move your grip in even by a centimeter if you can for the next 20 revolutions and then at 30 try to move the grip in another centimeter--really try to push what you can do stretchwise once your warmed up here--trust me this sounds easy but your going to be muttering "fuck you dante" after you get to your 25th revolution--Ive cured too many shoulder problems with this simple movement now its pretty ridiculous, and this and a menthol rub applied liberally daily and before sleep has cured alot of shoulder/bicepital tendonitis in trainees ---Heres a pic attached to this post so you can get an idea (thanks to a trainee of mine who cured his shoulders with this)--but remember the broomstick goes overhead and all the way back to the middle of the back (he just drew the start of the movement when you begin)


Iron I.C.

Thanks for the reference to DC. I few weeks ago, I friend in the gym referred me to this article. The stretch definitely helps and takes away the shoulder ach.



I had my MRI on October 18th. They injected a dye into my shoulder to increase the resolution of the MRI imaging. I have a follow up appoint Monday with the Orthopedic Surgeon to review the results. I will post the results.

All in all the shoulder is feeling better. I have training very lightly in the upper body and concentrating on rotator cuff movements and tricep work. The shoulder is still not stable especially on any weight movements away from my body.

I started to box squat lightly, by doing speed work with green bands and 225. I noticed the pressure of the bar on my left shoulder and do mot want to push me luck.


I tore my labrum my freshman year in a high school football game.

Post op sucks (2+ months in a sling)

Rehab sucks (painful)

Not being able to play your favorite sports sucks

Waking up in the middle of the night because your arm got into an awkward and very painful position sucks

My shoulder now is AWESOME

I was told my shoulder would never be 100% again, I can assure you that it is.

I was told that incline benching and military presses should be avoided. Its BS, I do any lift I want in the gym and I never have a problem.

I believe that because I worked hard in rehab and stuck to my home workouts religiously that my shoulder was able to get back to full ROM and strength. It probably has a lot to do with being so young when it happend too.


I`m happy to hear that you are fully recovered!

About the article from DC: I tried it myself and it works wonders! I have recommendet it to several others and most are very satisfied with the results.


where is the picture for the shoulder movement with the broomstick that DC wrote about?


Let me know what the MRI results are and I'll see if I can help out.

Take care,



Is there a specific area of the shoulder that hurts with a torn labrum? I've had a bit of pain whilst flat BB benching at area where the deltoid/bicep meet and was wondering if this is the problem you are talking about. I'm going to stop benching and dips for a month or so and increase the amount of rotator cuff exercises to see if this helps.




so... i just had surgery on my right labrum. detached and torn along with torn rotator cuff.
the original injury was very old, 17 years +. it just got to the point that i couldnt do the things i like doing as in working out and riding my motacycle.

so anyway right now i have no pain. my surgery was friday 10/28/05. pre surgery i had pain always. now i know that i have rehab coming up and fully expect that to be painfull, been there done that. and its tuff learning to be left handed at 45. but right now i can tell you its worth it to me. oh yeah, no meds either, did take pain killers the day after surgery though.


Doggcrapp is describing "shoulder dislocates". This is a well-known exercise.


I just did the 50 reps of shoulder dislocates for the first time. They sure do work and the pump you get in the shoulders is very intense. I'll be interested to see how my "clunky" shoulders feel after a few weeks of doing this.