T Nation

Strange shoulder pain

For four or five months now my shoulders (anterior delts in particular) have been perpetually sore. They are not sore like they would be the day after a workout, instead, if I contract the muscles for more than a few seconds at a time I feel an intense lactic acid buildup type burning sensation. I first noticed this several months ago when I was blow-drying my hair (I used to have long hair), and just holding up the hair dryer caused a lot of pain. This pain hasn?t effected me much at the gym, because I?m contracting the muscles for shorter periods at a time, but again, whenever I have to hold something for a longer period of time it hurts pretty bad. Has anyone else experienced anything similar?



I guess my hair is a lot shorter then yours and my blow drier much lighter, because I don’t ever recall having to intensely contract my delts while blow drying.
Either your delts are all fast twitch muscle (I doubt it), or you have some serious endurace strength issues.

Good thing you’re not a duck, or you’d be staying north for winter. :wink:

Rick, I think you missed the point. The fact that the pain occurs even with such a light weight is the problem I’m interested in resolving. As far as muscle endurance, I have no similar problems in any other muscle groups, so I don’t think a general lack of endurance is the problem. I posted a pic on here maybe a year ago which makes obvious I’m not a weakling. Anyway any ideas of what might be going on would be appreciated.


Is it only with overhead motion?

Yes, I’ve noticed the pain particularly during overhead motion and holds.

Your pecs and/or lats are probably really tight so holding your arm over your head is actually making your delts flex very hard.

The best thing I would suggest is to incorporate a good pec/lat stretching routine into your program until your range of motion is better.

Thanks a lot, I hadn’t considered that.


question: do you get any numbness in your fingers/upper extremeities after holding arms overhead?

Not sure I agree with ras, or even know what he’s trying to say, for that matter.

Sounds a bit more like external impingement, a shoulder condition extremely common in bodybuilders. Basically, the anterior and middle delts are way too strong for the smaller muscles of the rotator cuff, which serve to depress the humerus (see my article, “Cracking the Rotator Cuff Conundrum,” for details). You’ll want to stretch all the internal rotators, especially the pecs, lats, and anterior delts. Meanwhile, work to strengthen the rhomboids, mid/lower traps, and external rotators. Cut WAY back on volume for chest, and don’t do pullups/downs for back (just do rows). Avoid any motion that puts your arm above 90 degress of abduction. Ice a few times a day, too.

Hope this helps; good luck!