T Nation

Sore Upper Shoulder, What Could it be????


Okay, on tuesday 17th February I decided to work my RC muscles to strengthen them for my weight training. I used 7kg Dumbbells and did 8-10 reps, and to be fair was probably using too much (should have gone for 10-12 reps really on a lighter weight). Anyway, I had no pain during or after the exercise, and was sore the following day around the deltoid region - most probably the subscapularis. this was sore for about 2 days (normal for most muscles), and by yesterday (Friday) it was completely gone.

However, yesterday at around midday a strange ache in my deltoid region started to come on (not painful), but sporadic and occasional i.e. maybe every couple of hours for a few minutes on and off. It then went until the evening again. I had no trouble sleeping as it seemed to go before that stage. The only other thing I can think could have triggered it was a friend lightly punching me on my deltoid region (although not by any means hard). There is no bruising, nor educed ROM, no pain whilst exercising.

I had a workout today, and as no soreness remained did my arms (biceps and triceps). No exercise caused any pain, although the ache did come on during the session, and eased whilst I was exercising. I must emphasise however that on exercises such as the bench press etc (close grip bench press) ones shoulders are obviously used quite a lot, yet there was no pain or increased aching from that. So is this just muscle fatigue, or an RC issue? I am not having another gym session until Thursday anyway, so have a good rest until then.

Any advice would be great, as I am getting concerned!!


Sounds like mine. I blew up my right RC about 17 years ago, so I wasn't too pleased when the left shoulder started hurting as well, just before Christmas. Wasn't sure it was an RC problem as the right shoulder was different (supraspinatus - deep ache, impingement, very unpleasant). The left is tender around the AC joint, and is sometimes sore down into the deltoid.
Had a physio look at it and he said it was the subscap.

I work on a computer all day and have the posture to match - stiff thorassic spine and very tight shoulder capsules, which I'm having him work on. In the meantime I'm not benching, doing overhead work or dips (the worst thing you can do for AC joint pain) and have been following the advice in Eric Cressey's shoulder savers articles. I'd get it checked out to be sure, but I'd suggest doing the same.


This only started though after a light little RC session. i've never had it before


Just keep an eye on it, and do the scap stability work in the meantime. Shoulders are sods when they get injured - better to be safe than sorry.


High true.

It could just be the acute soreness from doing an acute lift. see if it goes away. maybe you just woke your supraspinasis out of sleeping beautyesque slumber.



lol, thanks for the reply dude. Well, it is not aching at all so far today (been awake for an hour), but it may kick in soon again). You reckon it's nothing much then if I am able to work out with it without pain? I have ultrasound and NSAIDS to run just in case, any point?