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View Full Version : Both shoulders injured, advice?


Iain Coffey
11-24-2009, 07:44 AM
Forgive my... lack of terminology here, I really don't know what I'm talking about. I have looked over threads relating to shoulder injuries but I'd like some feedback on my own situation if at all possible... thanks in advance.

Over the last month I've developed an ache in both shoulders which does not subside. When I raise my arms straight out to the sides I can feel a bit of a tweak in the shoulder joints. The ache seems to eminate from the gap between the side delt and front delts. I saw a massage therapist about it who is pretty knowledgable in anatomy and he explained that there are 4 muscles in the shoulder joint, and that I've developed two of these muscles more quickly than the other two which is causing my arms to ride too high in the socket, so that now when I raise my arms the two bones are grinding a tendon which comes through the space between them. Does this make sense?

If it does make sense, he's said that I should concentrate on doing exercises to strengthen the two other muscles - the (spelling?) infraspinatus and supraspinatus muscles. He said that this should pull the arm back down out of the socket, opening up the space in the joint so that the tendon is no longer impeded when I raise my arms, and then the ache will subside as the tendon is no longer irritated. I should note that if I concentrate on dropping my arms down (like I stretch it down in the socket) and then raise my arm, I can raise it "tweak-free". Could I get some feedback on his advice?

If all of the above is true and legit, should I just focus on these rehab exercises for now and avoid any exercises which work the shoulders? Is the goal here to bring the joint "back into balance" before I attempt to progress again?

Should I be seeing my GP? :P

:thanx:

Camille Lore
11-24-2009, 08:19 AM
Do some multi-plane pulling. I can see how certain muscle sets would get overdeveloped and lead to imbalances from kipping and standard pullups plus the bar work we do.
Try odd variations of pullups, switch your grip around.

Enter Steven Low....

Steven Low
11-24-2009, 12:00 PM
Sounds like some classic impingement and/or anterior instability.

Basically, focus on:

Massage to break up adhesions scar tissue & loosen up the muscles. Ice if there's any swelling or after exercise.

~wall sides, band dislocates to help improve mobility
~band or side lying exercises for the infraspinatus/teres minor
~NO pushing exercises
~Only horizontal pulling work such as any type of rowing (except for upright rows) like bent over rows, one arm DB rows, cable rows, C2 rowing, etc.
~posterior capsule stretch (arm across chest)
~sleeper stretch (internal rotation stretching)
~Possible some other posterior deltoid work
~stretch pec major, pec minor, lats

If you don't know some of the exercises then youtube them.

Iain Coffey
11-24-2009, 12:20 PM
This isn't permanent then? Is there a rough standard as to how long it should take to clear up? Was the advice I previously received regarding the mechanics behind it roughly accurate?

Last question - are these sorts of stability exercises something that should be done *always* in order to avoid these problems?

Thanks Steven / Camille, appreciate it.

Steven Low
11-24-2009, 02:25 PM
This isn't permanent then?

Depends how much damage there is and/or if this is a correct diagnosis. I haven't see you so all I am doing is going off exactly what you said which may or may not be correct

Is there a rough standard as to how long it should take to clear up?

No, everyone is different. Generally, if it's been around for more than a couple weeks it's probably gonna take a couple weeks or so to clear up.


Was the advice I previously received regarding the mechanics behind it roughly accurate?

If he was right in his diagnosis then sure. If he wasn't then shrug.

Last question - are these sorts of stability exercises something that should be done *always* in order to avoid these problems?

Mobility work should always be done IMO. Specific rehab work does not have to be.

I don't really feel like differentiating yet at least.

Camille Lore
11-24-2009, 05:48 PM
/hijack

Steven-I just wanted to thank you publicly for taking the time to answer questions like these. I know I've personally learned a lot from your posts. You're one of the people that makes a big positive contribution here, and I just wanted you to know it's appreciated.
:thanx:

Steven Low
11-24-2009, 07:23 PM
/hijack

Steven-I just wanted to thank you publicly for taking the time to answer questions like these. I know I've personally learned a lot from your posts. You're one of the people that makes a big positive contribution here, and I just wanted you to know it's appreciated.
:thanx:

lol thanks.

I'm actually trying to do writeups like the one I am doing for lower body since I can just post articles instead of having to write out stuff every time.

I assume most people would like a shoulder one as well?

Lauren Marshall
11-25-2009, 08:43 AM
I would love to see a write-up on shoulder problems. Last week I got my first muscle up and then did a 30 jumping muscle up WOD right after that. Since then both shoulders and elbows have been killing me. I thought it might be tendonitis but after reading Iain's post I am rethinking my diagnosis. I am experiencing extreme pain when I try to lift my right arm above my head. I guess I'm hoping that my body is just trying to adjust to the muscle up movement.

Steven Low
11-25-2009, 10:15 AM
I would love to see a write-up on shoulder problems. Last week I got my first muscle up and then did a 30 jumping muscle up WOD right after that. Since then both shoulders and elbows have been killing me. I thought it might be tendonitis but after reading Iain's post I am rethinking my diagnosis. I am experiencing extreme pain when I try to lift my right arm above my head. I guess I'm hoping that my body is just trying to adjust to the muscle up movement.
Where does it hurt (google a pic)?
What articulations hurt? (if you don't know google shoulder 'articulations')

Asim Rasheed
11-25-2009, 08:02 PM
Ian, if you have the means, I would suggest you go see an orthopedic doctor. Your symptoms sound similar to those of rotator cuff problem - raising arms is causing pain to increase.

Internet advice on medical issues is a hit or miss.

Jake Thompson
11-27-2009, 09:50 AM
To add to Steven's suggestions
add thoracic mobility to your activities. With shoulder elevation there is throacic rotation and ext. If there is lack of mobility there it can cause impingement.

Steven Low
11-27-2009, 10:22 AM
To add to Steven's suggestions
add thoracic mobility to your activities. With shoulder elevation there is throacic rotation and ext. If there is lack of mobility there it can cause impingement.
Ahh, good call. Totally forgot that.

Foam roller works well for thoracic mobility.

Alden Hingle
12-02-2009, 06:05 PM
lol thanks.

I'm actually trying to do writeups like the one I am doing for lower body since I can just post articles instead of having to write out stuff every time.

I assume most people would like a shoulder one as well?

Steven - count me in for wanting a shoulder write-up. After many years of exercise and fitness activities (55 year old retired Marine, weightlifting, jogging, rowing, occasional tri-athlete) and apparently healthy shoulders, I recently decided to try kettlebells and then CrossFit. While learning how to do KB snatches, I tweaked my elbow. Unfortunately, I kept working out. While favoring my elbow, I hurt my shoulder. I can do the workouts with no discomfort once I warm up but everything is pretty stiff after the workout and there are occasional moments of pain when I reach for something or move the shoulder. I've been icing the shoulder for a week or so and stopped doing workouts with that arm. I've continued with the lower body exercises and just do the upper body exercise on the healthy side. I am hopeful I haven't done serious damage but I know that age and cumulative use are both working against me.

What is your recommendation as far as length of time to lay off the workouts on the injured side? And once I start again on that side, should I do the exercises with much lighter weights or something else? I am already scaling the WODs.
Thanks - Alden

Steven Low
12-02-2009, 07:27 PM
Yeah... The general rule of "if it doesn't hurt it's generally ok" holds although very low volume of course.

If it hurts or twinges it's a no go.