T Nation

Upper Arm Pain

I have been experiencing some sharp pain in my upper arm and was hoping that someone could give me an opinion as to what it could be.

The pain is on the outside of the arm about two-thirds of the way up from the elbow… between the elbow and the shoulder. It doesn’t feel like a muscle or tendon pain…

It began about a month ago and only hurt when I was benching but lately it has been getting a little worse and hurts if I raise my arm up to the side (picture an upright row) or to the back.

Anyway, if anyone has some advice I would really appreciate it. Otherwise I guess I will have to take time off of work and go to a doctor…

Thanks!

The area you are describing sounds like the attachment point of the deltoid. That muscle has some function in all of the described motions you mentioned.

Did you notice the pain all at once (acute injury?) and then got to this current stage of pain? No collision or trauma to the affected area?

Did you notice swelling after the initial onset of pain? If you compress the bone of the arm from two different sides, is there pain?

If the compression causes pain, that might be a sign of a small fracture, but you would probably be in a LOT more pain.

NSAID’s are going to be a must right about now, as well as laying off the weights in any motion that hurts. Try to keep moving it, though, and if/when you are able, try some light weight eccentric exercise for the area (i.e. push press the weights up and do the negatives for a military press).

The more I know about your injury, the more I can try to help you out, brotha.

[quote]the MaxX wrote:
The area you are describing sounds like the attachment point of the deltoid. That muscle has some function in all of the described motions you mentioned.

Did you notice the pain all at once (acute injury?) and then got to this current stage of pain? No collision or trauma to the affected area?

Did you notice swelling after the initial onset of pain? If you compress the bone of the arm from two different sides, is there pain?

If the compression causes pain, that might be a sign of a small fracture, but you would probably be in a LOT more pain.

NSAID’s are going to be a must right about now, as well as laying off the weights in any motion that hurts. Try to keep moving it, though, and if/when you are able, try some light weight eccentric exercise for the area (i.e. push press the weights up and do the negatives for a military press).

The more I know about your injury, the more I can try to help you out, brotha. [/quote]

the MaxX,

Thanks for the input!

  1. Did you notice the pain all at once (acute injury?) and then got to this current stage of pain?

No, the pain was pretty minor while benching and then got worse over time. When it first happened it was manageable and no big deal.

  1. No collision or trauma to the affected area?

None.

  1. Did you notice swelling after the initial onset of pain?

None.

  1. If you compress the bone of the arm from two different sides, is there pain?

No. Only movement causes the pain.

Now that you mention it, I did start adding more shoulder work lately. So, maybe that exacerbated the problem.

Thanks again!

RedElephant, get into a good physical therapist and at least get your problem professionally diagnosed. Once you have a diagnosis, you can research all your many options to fix/correct the underlying problem.

I had a similar problem. My shoulders tend to round, slouch forward. I had what’s called an impingement syndrome. I had adaptively shortend and tight internal rotators and weak external rotators. My rehave involved strengthening external rotators and STRETCHING internal rotators. I found Horrigan’s book, “The 7-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution” to be extremely helpful in rehabbing/correcting my problem.

Good luck to you! Don’t try to self-diagnose yourself. One visit to a PT is well worth the price of admission, even if you don’t have insurance!

Does regular flat benching cause pain in the front of the shoulder?
If so it may not be the shoulder but actually a shortened pectoral muscle. This condition will not allow your shoulder to retract causing the pain. A good chiropractor or even a massage therapist can usually relieve the pain. Good luck!

To ‘The MaxX’ - you sound like a medical student.
To all -It’s foolhardy to give medical advice over without actually seeing the patient. You may well being giving incorrect advice, as you’re unsure of the diagnosis.
Shoulder problems are vague and often all present in a similar fashion, and even neck pain can radiate down the lateral aspect of the arm - the location of the pain is often the least helpful thing.
Stop being tight and SEE A FUCKING DOCTOR! You invest all this time, money and effort on your body and then skimp on it’s maintenance. Idiot.
Anyway, sounds like your rotator cuff.
GO GET EXAMINED!. By a decent musculoskeletal person. I’d reccomend an orthopod, or at least a musculoskeletal physician.

Everyone,

Many thanks for your input. It is really great to have a community of people who are so willing to share!

[quote]girth wrote:
Stop being tight…
skimp on it’s maintenance…
Idiot…
[/quote]

I didn’t provide my whole life story as it was not pertinent to the problem, but it isn’t an issue of being tight, skimping, or being an idiot (at least in my humble opinion). The fact is that I am currently living in Tokyo and I have found that going to Japanese doctors for anything other than an antibiotic is worthless, which is my fault for not learning Japanese by now. So when I said take time off to go to a doctor, that meant flying to Florida, which I am fully prepared to do. However, I was hoping that I could wait until the end of the year when I would be returning to the States anyway. I was just hoping to get good advice in the interim so that I wouldn’t have to quit working out much of the upper body.

Thanks, again, to everyone.

In that case, avoid movements that exacerbate the pain in the interim. Always sound advice for any injury or chronic problem. You’re right, I did get a little angry, but i’ve always had a bug up my ass on this issue. Good luck.

I have been bench pressing for about 4 weeks now and am starting to experience a similar problem.
However, I bench press every day. Do you people think it’s an overkill and I should switch to every other day?

I am thinking it might be overloaded and overworked joints since usually we don’t make these movements on a daily basis (i.e. it is not natural to make a pushing motion with both hands 8/5/3 times.

Or maybe it is the routine - I start with lighter weights and do 8-10 reps, then put on extra 5 pounds and do 5-6 reps, then put on another 5 pounds and do 2-3, sometimes 4 reps.

Any ideas?

Forgive me if I am asking basic questions since I am a newb to strength training afterall.

Tampa-Terry,

the way you describe it , it sounds like sub acromial impingement, doesn’t that usually present under the anterior delt?

I was under the understanding that scap. stability was the cure for that?

I think i used to have that kind of pain before. I started to eat Jell-o every day (about 7 g of protein from jell-o) its supposed to have some amino acids that help joint recovery (its made fron animal collagen actually, plus its pretty cheap!!), and started doing some exercises from pavels “Superjoints” for the shoulder joint and now im good, lasted for about two weeks never stoped training tho. Don`t know if it was the jell-o or the exercises but im good now.