T Nation

Weird Shoulder Pain


#1

A couple months ago I suddenly had pain issues lifting my shoulder over my head, don’t know what caused it. It was on a non-lifting day. After a week I was able to move it around fine doing everyday activities, but it was still affecting me in the gym. Stinging borderline intense pain near the shoulder when bench pressing (in the front or the side). It was even worse during lateral raises, I had to stop doing those. I’m barely hanging onto bench press, I wear a shoulder strap that makes the pain manageable, but don’t know for how much longer I can get away with this.

I ONLY feel ANY pain during those 2 exercises. I mean I also do Overhead Presses, Curls, Tricep Pressdowns, Pendlay Rows, Face Pulls, Lat Pulldowns, etc and none of these even trigger it a little bit.

I have a hard time pinpointing its exact location because the pain kind of radiates and shoots and goes away. But it’s somewhere in the anterior or side delt. I’ve taken periods of time off working out but this never makes any difference. The pain usually doesn’t persist, but lately it has been for a time following aggravation.

I’ve been poking around for a long time but have yet to find anywhere painful to the touch.

Taking Ibuprofen doesn’t have any effect.

Could it be tendons? Nerves? Tightness?


#2

Here’s a stab at it:

Sub acromial/shoulder bursitis secondary to shoulder impingement

Rotator Cuff/Shoulder tendinitis secondary to shoulder impingement.

Rotator Cuff tear due to accumulated micro trauma

Could be other shit too but doesn’t matter. If it’s not getting better with time it usual means it won’t ever and will require some real interventions.

What’s important is what modifications you should be making to your lifting in the mean time while you seek professional advice, get a proper diagnosis and get treated.

For now don’t do shit that will aggravate your shoulder. You won’t lose all your gains or someshit. Go see a doctor who knows about shoulders or on request will refer you to a physiotherapist or physical therapist.


#3

Sounds good. Saw a doc, got an x-ray, gonna do PT soon. X-ray didn’t find the issue. Doc couldn’t trigger the pain, but I told him I gotta be lifting heavy.

I’m wondering if maybe I should do chest flies and push-ups instead. Unbelievably, push-ups does not trigger any pain even though it’s a very similar movement to the bench press. Maybe if I pulled my arms in a little bit? Doesn’t make any sense…

I always get these kind of injuries that are really super hard to diagnose.


#4

X Rays gives mostly information about bone so unless you fractured something or there’s bone spurs then probably won’t get too much info from that.

Do what you can in the mean time or at least try out some stuff you never would’ve before because chances are you’ll be doing these work around exercises up to your diagnosis and during the rehab process. So if alternatives are pain free for you do them unless otherwise advised.

Tucking more may be a modification that works but try it out with light weight to be sure. Would stay away from exercises that flare your elbows more e.g flyes.

Try weighted push ups with a 25kg/55lb plate on your back.

If you’re unsatisfied with your doc or PT you can always go get a second opinion or ask for further scans e.g MRI


#5

If you end up with a diagnosis tell us pls


#6

Will do. But plan for now is not an MRI, given how I’m already battling my insurance for an MRI on my hip for a much worse injury. Been trying to get that MRI for months now. Getting an MRI approved anymore is a joke.

So unless my PT really thinks he knows what’s wrong I probably won’t get one anytime soon.


#7

I’d get some ART treatment on the shoulders and whole pec area.

Also try some of his guy’s stuff and look at few other clips on his channel has a ton of great, outside the box tips…


#8

Finally saw PT. He pretty much confirmed what khangles said was the second possibility, Rotator Cuff/Shoulder tendinitis secondary to shoulder impingement. He was just about 100% sure, and everything I’ve experienced seemed totally consistent to him.

I’ve noticed lately with heavier weight on Overhead Press that my shoulder has started to bother me a fair amount doing that. And I noticed during bench press my shoulder doesn’t bother me nearly as much with a much narrower grip. So I’m gonna try that with both and see if I can continue these presses. The root of my problem is my poor posture and rolled shoulders. In the meantime while I try to correct that problem I need to avoid aggravating motions and also do some PT to help speed up the recovery process.


#9

Sounds good.

Don’t let him suck you dry of all your financial gains like some chiropractors lel. Try to find workarounds for exercises you can’t do. There’ll be something.

Lot of info online too on the condition and management.

Probably best to sort out your bench form as well because it likely contributed to you developing the condition. Probably too much elbow flare. Part of it could be that structurally/genetically you’re predisposed to impingement but importantly fixing up your form will solve most of your issues.

A closer grip usually leads to people tucking their elbows a bit more nomsayin so that’s the way to go. Even people without shoulder issues should be tucking a little nevermind if you;ve been diagnosed. Look up some youtube vids to get sorted out.


#10

Well the good news is I’ve met my deductible so I’m only paying for 20% of everything from here on out until I reach my out of pocket maximum, hopefully doesn’t get to that. I don’t plan to see him more than a couple times about the shoulder, should give him ample time to show me some therapeutic exercises.

At this point I have little choice in narrowing the grip because the alternative is excruciating pain lol. But even this might be too painful, but I don’t know that for sure yet. If I can’t do flat bench press I’ll probably investigate chest flies, weighted push-ups, hammer strength chest press, incline bench press, etc.


#11

Could be a heart attack.


#12

There’s a really good T Nation article on this called something like Shoulder Health for the Strongman.


#13

Had a workout Saturday which included bench press. I didn’t feel the sharp pain I’m used to feeling at all with a narrower grip. However, I did feel something not good that’s hard to describe, though I’ve felt it many times before. Soon after I felt fine.

I was doing Alternating Barbell Lunges and I noticed reaching back to grip the bar I aggravated my shoulder. Ever since the workout, shoulder has been really bothersome. I’m able to lift it without pain, but doing many everyday activities bothers it. I think I might take a couple weeks off from the gym, really tired of this. Gonna see PT on wednesday.


#14

Maybe instability?

Anyways tell your PT what you feel as best you can describe it and what activities caused it.

Btw You are literally (not figurative literally, literally literally) the worst person at describing symptoms ever lel. It’s like listening to Trump open his mouth and try to president:

Reporter: Wut is 2+2

Trumpu: "I have to say a lot of people have been asking this question. No, really. A lot of people come up to me and they ask me. They say, “What’s 2+2”? And I tell them look, we know what 2+2 is. We’ve had almost eight years of the worst kind of math you can imagine. Oh my god, I can’t believe it. Addition and subtraction of the 1s the 2s and the 3s. Its terrible. Its just terrible. Look, if you want to know what 2+2 is, do you want to know what 2+2 is? I’ll tell you. First of all the number 2, by the way I love the number 2. It’s probably my favorite number, no it is my favorite number. You know what, it’s probably more like the number two but with a lot of zeros behind it. A lot. If I’m being honest, I mean, if I’m being honest. I like a lot of zeros. Except for Marco Rubio, now he’s a zero that I don’t like. Though, I probably shouldn’t say that. He’s a nice guy but he’s like, “10101000101”, on and on, like that. He’s like a computer! You know what I mean? He’s like a computer. I don’t know. I mean, you know. So, we have all these numbers and we can add them and subtract them and add them. TIMES them even. Did you know that? We can times them OR divide them, they don’t tell you that, and I’ll tell you, no one is better at the order of operations than me. You wouldn’t believe it. That I can tell you. So, we’re gonna be the best on 2+2, believe me. OK? Alright.

“We gonna knock the hell out of ISIS, believe me,” Thank You, Thank you, Thank you.


#15

I don’t know what defines instability. Certain exercises tense up my shoulder where I feel a “sluggishness” (honestly I don’t know how to better describe it, no other word I can think of even comes close), and this tensing may be accompanied by some pain. When I finish the exercise it may stick around a little bit before subsiding. There is a “reluctance” of the shoulder to be moved as if it says “uh oh I gotta do this movement I’d rather stay still” with some painful friction accompanying it sometimes but there’s no weakness or loss of function. Before you say that’s normal, I don’t feel it at all in the other shoulder.

That’s the best I can do in explaining it unfortunately. It’s a weak stab. When I feel pain in the shoulder, even if it’s major, I often can’t even tell where it’s coming from exactly. Sometimes feel pain radiate through the arm and for a time thought maybe I had an elbow issue. I’ve felt pain in the shoulder for months and even though I feel it everyday I still can’t tell if it’s coming from the anterior or lateral shoulder regions.

It’s hard enough to describe things to someone who is evaluating you in person, on an internet forum it’s near impossible because everyone has their own idea of what defines language to describe how something feels.


#16

Here’s the link I was babbling about: https://www.t-nation.com/training/a-strongmans-guide-to-shoulder-health

This from Doc Rusin is also good for more detail: https://www.t-nation.com/training/lifters-shoulder-the-cause-the-cure