General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement? Rss Feed  
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2012-08-02 9:39 AM

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Subject: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?
Tuesday PM, I decided to incorporate some strength training for swimming.  I did some lateral shoulder raises, front shoulder raises, overhead presses, triceps kickbacks.  One of my shoulders is still sore from this.  Actually, I can only feel the soreness if I was to lift my arm above my head and on the way down is when I can feel it.  Also, if I was to reach from around my back and touch my other shoulder.  I think I used too heavy a weight.  How do I know if I have a tear? Its not very painful but more annoying when I move a certain way(more stiffness maybe?). I can't really describe and pinpoint where in the shoulder (but more down the shoulder near middle part of the arm I guess). Thoughts?


2012-08-02 9:50 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?

I've been dealing with and researching shoulder pain for quite some time.  Your symptoms definitely sound similar to impingment issues, however, there are so many other potential causes of mild pain like you describe: rotator cuff minor tear, cartiledge issues, small tear in one of the many ligaments around the joint, issues with the pec/shoulder insertion point, tightness in the back of the shoulder which causes issues in the front.  Many things going on in that joint area.

Since it's a very minor pain, rest and ice will likely solve the problem.  My personal experience is that whenver I attempt to lift heavy with an overhead press or even chest press, I suffer for it.  Watch the load on these types of exercises even after the pain disappears.  In the meantime, aside from rest and ice, try foam rolling the musles around the rear delt.  I find that when those are tight or I have a knot back there, it causes pain in the front and top of my shoulder.  Or get a massage focusing on the scapula, rear delt, rhomboids and traps.  Good luck healing.

2012-08-02 9:55 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?
Thanks...I'm not too worried yet.  I think I probably just tweaked something from lifting to heavy.  I going to attempt to swim easy this afternoon to see how it goes.  Maybe loosen it up a bit.
2012-08-02 9:55 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?

My injury was caused by my swimming stroke.  When I did my recovery portion of the stroke, I sort of shrugged my shoulders up an in towards the chest.   This caused the head of my humerus bone to rub against the soft tissues and other bones.  What I felt was a deep kind of all over pain that extended down the arm some. 

I had an orthopedic look at it with some x-rays and I'm in PT now trying to stretch and strenghten it.  Neither the Dr., nor the PT identified any tears or pulls.  The majority of the test they do are range of motion type tests where they move your arm around and look for tender spots and 'slop' in the joint.

I guess what I'm saying is the only way I could tell for sure was to see a Dr.  I'm not sure if there is a way to know if it's a tear on your own without some medical training.  Good luck, and heal soon.

2012-08-02 10:00 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?
I have a close friend who is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulders. He said light weights are the way to go for those shoulder isolation exercises. Hopefully, this is just a tweak and is better asap.
2012-08-02 10:08 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?

I'm no Dr. but in my humble opinion, it sounds like you aggravated something, it is inflamed, and is causing discomfort during otherwise normal movements. Can you see any swelling, or does your shoulder look/feel puffy? Rest it (no weight, don't push the swim) and reassess in a couple days.

Both of my rotator cuff's are (partially) torn...believe me you know when something is torn, it is completely debilitating throughout a specific range of motion.



2012-08-02 10:25 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?

I recently experienced a similar issue, my sports med guy suggested "pendulum" stretching to help get the shoulder ball to sit properly in the socket. I'll link an almost identical set of instructions to what he gave me.

 

https://patienteducation.osumc.edu/Documents/pendulum.pdf

 

2012-08-02 10:30 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?
No swelling.  My pecs are sore too (close to shoulder) so maybe this is what I am feeling too.  But if I message my back, I am tender below the shoulder blade. 
2012-08-02 10:38 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?

MRDAVIDALEXANDER - 2012-08-02 11:30 AM No swelling.  My pecs are sore too (close to shoulder) so maybe this is what I am feeling too.  But if I message my back, I am tender below the shoulder blade. 

How heavy of a weight were you using? For all of that to be sore I'd imagine you'd either must have not done any weight training in a long time or used way to heavy of a weight and compromised form to move it....or a combination of those. I still stand by the notion of - if you damaged something, you would know.

2012-08-02 10:47 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?

I haven't lifted in a long time. They were 15 lb dumbells.

2012-08-02 10:49 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?
JASpencer - 2012-08-02 10:38 AM

MRDAVIDALEXANDER - 2012-08-02 11:30 AM No swelling.  My pecs are sore too (close to shoulder) so maybe this is what I am feeling too.  But if I message my back, I am tender below the shoulder blade. 

How heavy of a weight were you using? For all of that to be sore I'd imagine you'd either must have not done any weight training in a long time or used way to heavy of a weight and compromised form to move it....or a combination of those. I still stand by the notion of - if you damaged something, you would know.

 

I just want to make sure I don't damage going forward.  I think I will be okay to swim but will this make things worse if its a minor strain?



2012-08-02 10:59 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?

That's A LOT of weight to be using for shoulder raises unless you lift regularly. I was previously a pretty dedicated gym rat, and although I've since let most of my muscle mass atrophy, I'm still stronger than the average triathlete (at least waist up) - I use 10's, 12's if I'm feeling bold. I couldn't use 15's while maintaining any sort of decent form (EDIT: Doing ~15 reps, and by form I mean very strict form).

With my jacked up shoulders I find swimming to be very therapeutic...so long as I'm not sprinting or pulling. Swimming won't damage anything, although it might uncomfortable which could lead to issues with technique. Keep moving, light stretching would be good...just don't push yourself and stop if there is discomfort. My $0.02



Edited by JASpencer 2012-08-02 11:01 AM
2012-08-02 11:02 AM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?

Thanks! This was my thinking.  I didn't know where to start so I chose the 15s. Whoops....too much weight!

I figured out what triggers the soreness the most.....when I lift my glass to drink and today when I was putting olive oil on my salad...the shaking of it I could feel it. Would this be the rotator cuff?

2012-08-02 12:27 PM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?

DON'T PANIC

You probably just over did it with the wieghts.  People with a full thickness rotatoro cuff tear typically can't lift their arm at all.  Ice it, rest it , maintain your motion and when you return to the gym TAKE IT EASY

2012-08-02 1:10 PM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?
Will your insurance cover a PT visit?  They could evaluate your lifting form and recommend a schedule for you to progress at to limit future issues. 
2012-08-02 2:41 PM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?
MRDAVIDALEXANDER - 2012-08-02 11:02 AM

Thanks! This was my thinking.  I didn't know where to start so I chose the 15s. Whoops....too much weight!

I figured out what triggers the soreness the most.....when I lift my glass to drink and today when I was putting olive oil on my salad...the shaking of it I could feel it. Would this be the rotator cuff?

I did IMFLA in 2010 with a torn rotator cuff, had surgery in December of 2010, had a re-tear and had surgyer again in May of 2011 and still to this day I battle with strength and range of motion issues so while I am not a doctor, I have been disucssing this injury with my surgeon and PT (now a friend of mine) for over two years.

Different types of tears can cause different types of reactions.  The location (superspinatus or infraspinatus), what type of tear (trauma or degenerative) and the severity (among many other factors) so nobody can really say what is and what is not typical of a RC tear.  Nobody can say, "well, you wouldn't be able to do ______" or "yeah, thats what my symptoms were so it must be torn."

For me, my symptoms were my biceps felt real fatigued and it would send sharp shooting pains down my arm every now and then, but it bothered me more running and lifting than swimmming, or biking.  I had a few shots of cortison (which helped releave the pain of course), two MRI's where it was missed and for 16 months we tried to just strengthen the rotator cuff.

My suggestion would be to definitely see an orthopedic if you want to know.  They can set up an MRI, and maybe try non -surgical options even if it is torn.

Go on you tube and look up a bunch of rotator coff stregthening exercises.  These will target the rotator cuff and if it is torn, they shoudl be really hard to do and maybe even cause pain.  Don't do them with alot of resistance, but do them with real light weight to see how you feel.

 



2012-08-02 4:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?
MRDAVIDALEXANDER - 2012-08-02 12:02 PM

Thanks! This was my thinking.  I didn't know where to start so I chose the 15s. Whoops....too much weight!

I figured out what triggers the soreness the most.....when I lift my glass to drink and today when I was putting olive oil on my salad...the shaking of it I could feel it. Would this be the rotator cuff?





In all absolute seriousness - toss ego out (I say that because of the tendency of people to look at 5lbs and think "I can do more than that") when it comes to weights and always start low.

15's sound great and they fit the bill of "I should be able to hack that", but start with 5's and go at LEAST two full sets with those before deciding to move up to 8's or 10's.
Always, always, always start low with weights when you aren't sure what weight to be grabbing.


And generally speaking, those exercises typically have different weights to them. For example, I use 25's for kick-backs, 40's for presses (45 for overhead, 40 for Arnold's, incline, flat, decline), but only 15's for raises/fly's ... when I'm not injured. It took me several months of continuous, regular, dedicated lifting to get to those numbers. I started out at 15, 25, 5 respectively.


2012-08-02 5:22 PM
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Subject: RE: Rotator Cuff/Shoulder Impingement?
MRDAVIDALEXANDER - 2012-08-02 9:47 AM

I haven't lifted in a long time. They were 15 lb dumbells.



Dude, way too heave for rotator cuff stuff. They are stabilizign muscles, not lifting muscles. Google / youtube YTL exercises to be done without weights once your pain resolves. Do a few weeks of those then add 1 lb then 2 lb dumbells. THere is no reason to rush through it.

Consider how many swimmign strokes you take in a 1500m swim. (let's guesstimate 20 SPL x 60 legnths per 1500) = 1200 strokes in a mile long swim. Choose a weight that you can lift 1200 times, not 8 or 12 times.
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