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Shoulder injury feels worse after taking time off??

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  • Shoulder injury feels worse after taking time off??

    For the last 6 months I've had some pain in my right shoulder. I would just work through the pain while avoiding certain movements that are hard on the shoulder (such as flat barbell bench, flyes, and btn presses) and the pain wasn't getting any better, but it wasnt getting worse either. The pain was mild (like a 3-4 on a 10 scale). I decided to take 2 weeks off from any lifting 2 months ago to see if the pain would go away. My shoulder felt better after the two week lay off but as soon as I went back to lifting the pain came back.

    So I continued to take time off from any upper body movements (its been 2 months now) and my shoulder feels worse now then it did when I was still working out and just pushing through the pain. I've seen an orthopedic surgeon and he did some tests and said hes 99% sure my rotator cuff is not torn and wont need surgery. I've also had ART done by my chiro but it didnt help.

    Any ideas on what might be the issue? Do you think I should just go back to working out and just push through it like I was before? Any other advice??

    I lost 20 lbs and got softer in the last 2 months so I'd like to start lifting again so I can gain back all the size I've lost.
    Last edited by punkguitarist; 02-26-2012, 07:43 PM.

  • #2
    Did you get an MRI with contrast?
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    • #3
      Go read my "chronicle" thread in the main forum from last month. Then we can discuss "just working through it".
      -KidRok-
      "...because I won't accept that I can't."


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      • #4
        Maybe the lack of blood flow from the layoff?

        Try heat and lots of it. I think homon talked about how he helped future's tendinosis with heat instead of cold. the rationale being heat helps increase blood flow, which speeds up healing.
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        • #5
          I would do a ton of rotator work and scapular retractors. There is also a thread where Dante describes this exercise to help relieve shoulder pain. I was doing it for a little while and it helped, also looked up rotator exercises on youtube and feel alot better with it.
          Heat also works as like a warm up but only if there's no inflammation. If you have swelling in the area it's best to do mobility work and ice it.

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          • #6
            I'm a veteran of shoulder injuries. Seven surgeries all tolled up. I've noticed that when I'm out of the gym for any length of time, my shoulders hurt more and feel more unstable.

            As Big Ross says above, work your rotors. Ask your doctor or a physical therapist how to properly warm up your rototator cuffs before you do any upper body work. It's usually simple and takes maybe 10-15 minutes. It's worked for me.

            Otherwise, you may have a sneakily hidden bone spur that the doc didn't catch in an x-ray...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KidRok View Post
              Go read my "chronicle" thread in the main forum from last month. Then we can discuss "just working through it".
              :hail:
              Ph.D., Theoretical Physics '16
              kind of a douche

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KidRok View Post
                Go read my "chronicle" thread in the main forum from last month. Then we can discuss "just working through it".
                I just read through it. That sounds horrible. But what would you recommend doing in my case? I've already been to a doctor and he said my rotator cuff is not torn and no surgery would be required. He recommended trying a cortizone shot.

                My shoulder feels worse everyday even though I've taken 2+ months off from the gym. So should I just go back to working out and see if it feels better? I've already started doing rehab/rotator cuff exercises I've found online along with lots of stretching and foam rolling.

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                • #9
                  A couple of things come to my mind and I'm in no way a shoulder expert, but am basing this on my own personal experience of working through a shoulder issue a few years ago. In my case, I had both a shoulder imbalance and was also sleeping akwardly on it. No amount of time off would fix it. It wasn't until I focused every single day on rotator cuff work along with realizing how my sleeping habits were putting stress on the shoulder that it finally improved. All of my longer term injuries I've been able to attribute to both muscle imbalances and bad sleeping postures.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by punkguitarist View Post
                    I just read through it. That sounds horrible. But what would you recommend doing in my case? I've already been to a doctor and he said my rotator cuff is not torn and no surgery would be required. He recommended trying a cortizone shot.

                    My shoulder feels worse everyday even though I've taken 2+ months off from the gym. So should I just go back to working out and see if it feels better? I've already started doing rehab/rotator cuff exercises I've found online along with lots of stretching and foam rolling.
                    You have a couple options, I didn't see where you had an MRI, if this Dr won't approve it maybe get a 2nd opinion from another. PT is another option which will be beneficial if it is something else such as an impingement. My point of having you read my story is that I waited and tried to work through it with my left shoulder for a long time. Something wasn't right but I continued to train hard and thought it would eventually go away...until it totally blew out. Now when the right side started bothering me I had it taken care of right away and am glad I did. I understand that if the Dr can't find a problem you are kinda between a rock and a hard place, but be sure you've exhausted all options before just ignoring it as it could get much worse.
                    -KidRok-
                    "...because I won't accept that I can't."


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                    • #11
                      I second KidRok about seeking a second opinion if this doc wont approve an MRI. There are myriad possible injuries other than rotator cuff that wont fix themselves such as labrum, acromion damage, and other ligament damage. Cortisone only addresses symptoms and prolonged injections are not advised typically. Other issues like adhesive capsulitis etc, can be overcome with the right kind or PT.

                      At any rate, good luck with your recovery, and sounds as if your doc might not be being as proactive as he can in the diagnosis if you haven't gotten an MRI, and you should continue pursuing this on your own if you are able

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                      • #12
                        PG, post this up in PTArons section....
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                        • #13
                          The doctor is fine with having me do an MRI, its just the my insurance sucks (I have a $3000 deductable) and money is tight, so Id rather not spend the money on an MRI if the doc is already 99% positive there is no tear.

                          I also feel like going to a PT would be a waste of money because I've spent hours reading online about how to rehab a shoulder injury and have been doing all those exercises and stretches.

                          I also bought this at home shoulder rehab kit called the "rotatoreliver" and have been using it for 3 weeks now but it doesn't help much. It also gives you a brace to wear at night to help with shoulder impingement but it doesn't seem to be helping.

                          One thing that might be the issue is I messed up the AC in my right shoulder 10 years ago from a mountain bike fall. This injury might be flairing up again.

                          I used to work construction and would do semi-heavy lifting daily and my shoulder hurt less then now that I started an office job a month ago. Doesn't make any sense.

                          Also my shoulder makes a lot of clicking noises and feels like its grinding when I do the motion for external rotations or overhead presses.
                          Last edited by punkguitarist; 02-28-2012, 03:04 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by punkguitarist View Post
                            The doctor is fine with having me do an MRI, its just the my insurance sucks (I have a $3000 deductable) and money is tight, so Id rather not spend the money on an MRI if the doc is already 99% positive there is no tear.

                            I also feel like going to a PT would be a waste of money because I've spent hours reading online about how to rehab a shoulder injury and have been doing all those exercises and stretches.

                            I also bought this at home shoulder rehab kit called the "rotatoreliver" and have been using it for 3 weeks now but it doesn't help much. It also gives you a brace to wear at night to help with shoulder impingement but it doesn't seem to be helping.

                            One thing that might be the issue is I messed up the AC in my right shoulder 10 years ago from a mountain bike fall. This injury might be flairing up again.

                            I used to work construction and would do semi-heavy lifting daily and my shoulder hurt less then now that I started an office job a month ago. Doesn't make any sense.

                            Also my shoulder makes a lot of clicking noises and feels like its grinding when I do the motion for external rotations or overhead presses.
                            No offense but doing online research yourself trying to do your own rehab is worlds apart from actual physical therapy especially when you yourself do not even know what the problem is and have not had an accurate diagnosis. For all you know, what you are doing yourself could in fact be aggravating the problem not alleviating it.

                            The other thing is that again, rotator cuffs are not the only possible tears of the shoulder complex. Clicking, crepitus, and grinding indicate possible ligamentous damage or other type of injury that do-it-yourself home remedies are unlikely to solve.

                            Does it feel like your shoulder is dislocating when doing overhead presses? Could indicate possible SLAP lesion. What were you doing the first time you noticed pain or suffered the injury? You really haven't given much detail and seem to be unresponsive to suggestions about second opinions.

                            Your doc could be very well right that it's not a rotator cuff tear. That only eliminates one of several possible scenarios. The shoulder complex is just that, complex, and oftentimes MRI's wont even paint the whole picture. Usually, the doc wont know the complete story until he (or she) is actually in there with an arthroscopic.

                            Good luck with your rehab though, whichever route you go.

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                            • #15
                              http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...oulder_shocker

                              also, have you read Dante's thread about shoulder dislocations? those and pull-aparts/face-pulls generally keep shoulders healthy.

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