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Old 02-06-2008, 08:03 PM   #1
Arturo Garcia
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Shoulder injury - click if you don't mind reading a bit!

Hello fellas. I noticed there are some people with a lot of wisdom when it comes to injuries in here. I will talk about my problem, which has been bothering me for a whole year now, and has been really frustrating. I'm 24 years old, 5'10", was 240lbs of fat in 2005, started losing weight in early 2006, and got interested in strength training in mid 2006. Obsessed with grip training and just being strong... something I'm definitely not, heh.

Back in last February '07 or so, I started getting a pain in my right shoulder. Not while lifting weights really, but when I tried to "pop the right trapezius up", as to make it look big while I looked at myself in the mirror or something. It was also pressent when trying to stretch the tricep (with either my elbow overhead, or my arm across my chest). It did NOT hurt when I put my arm overhead, and I don't think I lost any ROM in any direction. I went to several doctors, one injected cortisone in the Humerus joint, told me to rest for a week and get back to normal. I got back to the same situation quickly. After seeing a few doctors here in my country (Dominican Republic), on September 2007, I went to a doctor in the United States, since I went there on business anyways. He injected a steroid in the AC joint to see if the pain went away, and it did. He confirmed it was the AC joint, told me to rest for a month. I did, and also did some subluxation exercises I found on a Rockwood article (internal/external rotations, and 2-3 others that seemed meaningless with a light band, since they looked so similar to others I was doing with much more resistance.. like shrugging, wall-pushups).. and got back to lifting, this time more slowly I think. Keep reading to find out WHY I did subluxation related exercises. You have to keep in mind I'm not strong at all. Here is what I was doing back in early 2007 ...

I was setting personal bests of 6 or 7 chinups. I never do pullups because they make me feel like my shoulder is going out of place, I don't like that feeling. (I have always been able to subluxate both shoulders at will. Yes, whenever I want to, one at the time or both... but doing that doesn't hurt. I don't do it often at all though!).
My best standing overhead press was 95 pounds x5 reps (I know, very poor!), or 40 pound dumbells for reps. My bodyweight was around 175-180, but not lean, at 5'10" with fat around the midsection (I used to be quite fat).
I think the most I used for bench pressing were 70lb dumbells x5 reps.
For dumbell rows, I used the 80lbs for reps as the heaviest one.

I should also mention that before this pain started, I tried to fix my "subluxation problem" because I felt it was preventing me to gain strength in pushing exercises, because the shoulder felt so unstable at some points. Ironically, I can subluxate my left shoulder easier, and it felt more unstable always... but the pain the AC joint was/is in my RIGHT shoulder, and it's the one giving me problems for 1 year now. The left doesn't hurt at all. Anyways, I did 8 weeks of some "rehab" exercises for the subluxation... I did the following:
Straight-arm pullups (and I added weight, the most I added was maybe 45lbs... notice these were STRAIGHT-ARM pullups, very short range of motion).
Straight-arm dips (same as above, also used some weight, about the same amount).
Bent over shrugs (not too bent, just a little bit).
Rotations: lying flat on a bench, facing the roof, I'd put my upper arms by my side, grab 10 lb dumbells, and move them from the side of my head, to the side of my hips. I hope this is clear.
Partial seated presses: Like seated dumbell presses, but from the very bottom, until the DB handle was at about forehead height.

A guy that seemed wise suggested to do these for 8 weeks. I also did DB flies during this period to work my chest, as no pressing movements were being done. Maybe a dumb move!!

Anyways, as I started in October 2007 again I first begun with just pulling exercises. Pendlay rows are some I like. Not too strong, best I got was 135x10 with the last reps being a bit ugly. I was doing chinups and even tried adding weight, I did 6 strict reps with 25lbs added. Then, for pressing, I also tried doing "Floor press" as it's supossed to be better than regular bench. Shoulder pressing seemed weaker than earlier that year (unbelievable as it is, because I was already darn weak!). Anyways, shoulder hurt again by December, again AC joint when trying to pop the trapezius up. I got an MRI done (finally), and it says I have AC joint arthrosis. Not surprising. I don't want more cortisone, so I've been to 6 accupunture sessions in the past 3 weeks. They are helping greatly with the pain. I've not been working out my upper body in the mean time, and my lower body with just easy stuff, because I don't even want to grab weight for a Deadlift or hold weight over me for a Squat. (Did I mention I never felt comfortable with the bar over me? And I never squated over 185... I never found the "shelf" everyone talks about, and it seemed the bar rested on my shoulder bones and it hurt, if I didn't use enough padding.. I tried "manning up", but really, the bar over the bone is not a sensation I could tolerate for reps, specially since one is supossed to push the bar down while squatting!!).

Right now, seated, if I lift my upper arms until they are parallel to the floor, with elbows at 90 degrees, and I move my hands from the front, to the upright possition (still maintaining the 90 degrees), I can hear the craking in my right shoulder, very noticeably. That does not hurt, though.

I am desperate. I'm trying two different home remedies (don't ask!), Magnesium Citrate since about a month, and this week I started on Glucosamine+Choindritin+MSM ..... I hope this latter one works as I've read it's good.

How on earth could this happen to me? Moving the amount of weight I was moving? (so little!) .. I am VERY frustrated, almost depressed. I did notice that when my AC joint, back in early 2007, was first brought to it's max level of pain, I had started doing a routine to elevate my pushup (chinup) number. I did set a personal best of 9 in 2-3 weeks. But the routine required to do some chinups 5 days of the week.. not big amounts, for me it was between 30-40 each day (in different sets obviously). And 3 max-effort pushups in the morning, which I was also doing. Back then I reached around 38 in a couple of sets. RIght now I'm much weaker, maybe I can do 20, don't know, have not tried in a long while.

Wow, I wrote a bloody book. Sorry about this. What could have caused this? I've thought of million different things. For example... my overhead strength seems to be very weak, compared to my pulling strength (which isn't great, but not as pathetic). 6 strict chins @ 180 + 25lbs in plates, compared to 85lbs x5 reps I could do in late '07? (and 95lbsx5 in early '07). I also noticed I never did shrugs with my arms overhead, and have read wonders about this exercise (specially in a T-nation article).

To be honest, I don't even know what I want from all of this typing. Maybe I am hoping someone like Steven Low asks me for pictures of my shoulder from various angles and gives me a miraculous answer to my problem... LOL! (just kidding, although that would be awesome if it happened!) Please, if anyone has any input on this, feel free to type it in. I'm considering prolotherapy, but not living in the USA might make it quite expensive, almost not worth it. The last option is surgery, where shave off a little bit off the clavicle bone, where it meets the acromium. This option stinks, but I want this problem fixed, and hate to lose time I could spend getting strong. It just sucks to not being able to do any upper body training! I looked at my log and I was pretty much as strong as I am now, a whole year ago... and had been lifting for only months back then. You can see my numbers are that of a newbie. But how can I up them if I can't bloody train!?!? ... and recently I've fallen in love with bodyweight stuff like handstands and stuff, but I'm afraid to even try pushups out of fear of hurting myself.

Sorry for typing so much. Thanks for ANY reply.
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:26 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Shoulder injury - click if you don't mind reading a bit!

Post the pictures (posterior, lateral and anterior).

To be honest, looks like ALL of the different rehab routines you were doing were horrible. That obviously didn't help your problem either.. go figure,eh?
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:03 AM   #3
Allen Yeh
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Re: Shoulder injury - click if you don't mind reading a bit!

While I never got into such a bad time as it seems has happened to you. I would recommend looking at the Diesel Crew shoulder rehab routine and phase I of this program by Alwyn Cosgrove(W/F/S)
http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=818555

How is your diet looking? I know you said you are taking Magnesium citrate and MSM+, what are you eating on a day to day basis, based on a few things I read right now anything you can do to keep inflammation down in your body overall will help. I.e. omega 3's (fish oil), do you floss everyday already?
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:36 AM   #4
Arturo Garcia
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Re: Shoulder injury - click if you don't mind reading a bit!

Ok, first of all, here are some pics, taken 30 minutes ago here at work! (heh).

http://memimage.cardomain.net/member...9_203_full.jpg
http://memimage.cardomain.net/member...9_204_full.jpg
http://memimage.cardomain.net/member...9_205_full.jpg
http://memimage.cardomain.net/member...9_206_full.jpg
http://memimage.cardomain.net/member...9_207_full.jpg
http://memimage.cardomain.net/member...9_208_full.jpg
http://memimage.cardomain.net/member...9_209_full.jpg

Allen: despite my extensive research, I had NOT seen that T-nation article! Going to read it right now. I saw the other one where it suggested pushups, face pulls and overhead shrugs months ago, but didn't exactly follow it.

About my diet: it's very healthy, most of it. I only drink water, I ate TONS of raw vegetables, I eat meat but every other day (cook my stakes rare), usually eat fruits for breakfast, and sometimes with the veggies I eat some type of seeds (pistachios, cashwes, peanuts, walnuts, almonds or something like this). I try not to mix carbs and proteins in the same meal and not to eat between meals. Also I don't drink water with the meals, but in between. On the weekends though, sometimes I eat junk food or something, and that's why I've never gotten rid of the remaining fat on my body. But the way I eat, when I eat like this for like 5 straight days I already notice myself slimming down. I weight around 170-175 right now, I wear 34" jeans but bought a 32" and wanna wear that soon. I was 42" in early 2006, so it's a goal of mine, lame one, but oh well.

Does "floss" mean going to the bathroom and doing "number 2"? (my english is not so good, sorry). If that's it, then I will tell you that since I started eating this healthy some months ago, I go 2 or 3 times a day, heh heh.

All I take is what I mentioned: Magnesium Citrate mon-to-friday, Gluc+Chon+MSM everyday (started just 4-5 days ago, I might also do it mon-to-fri starting this weekend or the next), and I forgot to mention a B Complex + C that I take only on workout days (3x a week right now).

NOTE: I just opened that Article, and saw the "test" about touching the hands in the back... I can do it with both arms, I can touch the fingertips of my middle fingers without much struggle, but it's easier with my left arm down. When I have the right arm down and the left up, it's harder. I think my right arm, in that lower possition, can't reach as up as the left one. But when they're in the up possition they both seem to reach down the same amount... I know, a picture is worth a thousand words, should take pics of this soon.

EDIT: I did the second test, and with my left arm I can easily bring my elbow up to my face. I can do it with my right too, but it feels a bit awkwad. Maybe it's psychological.

Last edited by Arturo Garcia; 02-07-2008 at 07:48 AM..
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:54 AM   #5
Arturo Garcia
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Re: Shoulder injury - click if you don't mind reading a bit!

ALSO: The red circles around my right shoulder are because the accupunturist applied some vacuum with some cups, and the inflamation liquid goes up to the skin. He did this about 2 weeks ago, but reapplied them last tuesday and it was much less (if nothing), so the inflamation is going down.

I wonder how soon I can start doing any mild activities.... I'm scared of not letting it heal properly. I read the T-nation article with the 8 week program. The first 4 weeks seem OK, but once every 5 days?? Damn, so little upper body workout, heh. I bought a hipbelt to do squats, it should arrive soon. I don't know how to workout my hamstrings without using my shoulder... I tried 1-leg romanian DL's, but I have no balance on my right foot (pronated ankle and kinda flat foot), so it's too hard, almost impossible. I tried doing a glue-ham raise but that requires a level strength I'm not even close to having! And at home I don't have a leg curl machine or anything (which I hate and is useless, but I'm not sure of doing (romanian) deadlifts while letting the shoulder heal?) ...

Also, I gotta think of replacing the pulls to the face, because I don't have a pulley like that. Maybe I can pull something while in the possition of a pendlay row, with my back parallel to the floor? .. also, I didn't quite understand how to perform the YTWL exercise?
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:29 AM   #6
Allen Yeh
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Re: Shoulder injury - click if you don't mind reading a bit!

Not a ton of time at the moment, check this video out for the Diesel Crew shoulder rehab protocol: (WFS)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0ONHZmsFec
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:12 PM   #7
Arturo Garcia
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Re: Shoulder injury - click if you don't mind reading a bit!

I have seen that before, a couple of weeks ago. However, my shoulder was in pain at that moment, so I didn't do it. I tried the "day 1" but I felt my shoulder hurt a bit when doing the dumbell protractions. I think I had a little bursitis in my GH joint (because the vacuum the accupunturist later applied left a dark circle). He also said it was a recent injury because the cup turned kinda humid, unlike the circles around the AC joint which turned dark red, but the cup wasn't humid. (and that's correct, the AC pain is from months ago, the other one recent).

It think currently, it doesn't hurt to do any of these. But I am literally terrified to start doing any force with my upper body. I don't wanna reverse the good results I'm getting through accupunture and rest (no injections or anti-inflamatories being taken or anything!). But I wonder just how soon I can begin with the rehab? ... Maybe I can begin soon, with baby weights (I have 1-1/4 and 2.5 pound plates so I could begin super light if I wanted to). I'll ask my accupunturist tomorrow (will be 7th session) what he thinks about it just out of curiosity. He also said on tuesday that I can go once a week now since I'm recovering, but I will go tomorrow again just because I want to. Then maybe I can begin rehab on monday with baby weights and see how that makes me feel.
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:19 PM   #8
Arturo Garcia
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Re: Shoulder injury - click if you don't mind reading a bit!

Another thing: yesterday, for the first time in a while, I placed a barbell over me. Used a towel rolled up for padding. DId some squats (up to 155lbs x5 hard reps.. I'm even weaker than before now!), and did some Good Mornings with 95lbs. Today my upper right back is sore. If I had to guess, I'd say it's the rhomboides and/or mid/low traps? Weird. Mostly on the right side. I didn't do any upper body exercises, although I did some abs on the floor while grabbing a bench that was just by the sides of my head (so I was vertically static-pulling like in a chinup with a parallel grip, but lying on the floor). Maybe that caused the sorness? At least it's just soreness and not pain. Darn I've written so much!
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:31 PM   #9
Tony Chavez
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Re: Shoulder injury - click if you don't mind reading a bit!

This book and the basic injury prevention routine has helped me greatly in my training...

7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution
by Jerry Robinson (Author), Joseph Horrigan (Author)

can be found here and other places in the 20-30 buck range:

http://www.amazon.com/7-Minute-Rotat.../dp/0944831257
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:53 PM   #10
Steven Low
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Re: Shoulder injury - click if you don't mind reading a bit!

Hmm, now that I looked at it your case is almost exactly like:

http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=27151

Basically, it's very similar in what I would say which is namely:

Quote:
shows some khyphosis of the thoracic spine as well as neck is forward. Specifically, these can limit shoulder mobility possibly impinging stuff in your shoulder if you go to the edge of your ROM.

Khyphosis can be fixed by stretching out the area. Foam rolling the thoracic spine to stretch it as well as lying on something flat that can run down the length of your spine (like foam rolls) can help stretch out the area. Ideally you want your back to be straight up and down. Neck can be 'fixed' by pulling your head back with your levator scapulae & such as well as engaging your neck flexors (muscles in the front of the neck).

You will be sore for probably a few days but if you fix these it will probably help a lot.

Anyway, some protraction fo the shoulders. Scapular retraction should help a bit which can be accomplished by rowing. It looks like your chest compared to your back is fairly tight so stretch out your chest and lats.

Basically just try to stay away from anything that hurts. Massage the area, rest, ice. Something is probably impinging somewhere and if we can get you loosened up and fix your posture that should help a lot.
RC stuff may help.. depends on what is actually cause it though so we'll see.
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