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Pain in shoulder joint when raising arm


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#1 irongymnast

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 09:58 AM

I've been experiencing slight pain in the shoulder joint (to the front) for the past 3 weeks or so. At first I thought it was the result of overtraining and that it should go away if I gave it a few days of rest.

I can reproduce the slight pain if I hold my arm out straight with palm facing to the floor and then raising it to my ear's level. That is where I feel the pain. Doing that with the other hand doesn't hurt but it's not a very comfortable position, the deltoid kind of locks there.

I'm training with it for 3 weeks, it's not really that irritating, I'm just being cautious to not make things worse.
What do you think it is and how can I make it go away?

#2 phrak

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:27 PM

I have a similar injury, so I'm awaiting an answer. It's affecting my HSPU training. I thought it was impingement at first, but am now leaning towards a deltoid injury

#3 Cole Dano

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:35 AM

Impingement is a bit of a catch all. It can very easily feel like a deltoid problem.

Reading the OP's post i'm wondering if there is also a movement problem in general. I'm always amazed at how often people will have poor shoulder movement. I teach a weekly Indian Club class which has really driven this home to me as i rarely see even supposedly good movers without issues in this department. It can absolutely lead to pain in lifting the shoulder. Again this is something i learned the hard way, after some oh so smart yoga teacher 'taught' me how to lift my arms, and suddenly i found after teaching the same method, i had this pain too.

Anyway, if you are lifting your arm up from the sides there will generally need to be some rotation of the humerus in socket. If you start with the arms at the sides the palms will face your body but as you lift they will rotate and end up facing straight ahead (more or less) at shoulder height and towards each other again overhead.

The way the OP describes his movement i'm not sure this is happening. If it doesn't happen the arms shouldn't lift as high.

There are a number of impingement posts here. Try to search them out.

The biggest and honestly simplest key is to look for ways to move that don't hurt. The shoulder girdle is a complex joint, and sometimes one really just needs to put some thought into how it moves. Not looking for a bigger ROM, just smoother movement and finding how the parts need to slide, rotate etc. It's not simple linear movement.

#4 phrak

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:13 AM

To describe my issue a little bit more, because it's very similar:

With arm straight out in front of you, palm facing down - if you lift the arm up to vertical it "catches" about 20 degrees before vertical with a small pain, that goes away shortly. With palm facing up, the "catch" is about 45 degrees from vertical and more severe.

I can feel the same pain if I emulate an overhead press of HSPU, about 4 inches from full lockout. Interestingly enough, if I do this with "elbows flared" to the sides, I pretty much don't feel the pain, but keeping them "tucked", I do. I believe switching form on my HSPUs (from flared to tucked) coincides with when I started feeling this pain. I seem to recall irongymnast saying he also recently switch from flared to tucked, too!

Is this helpful?

#5 Cole Dano

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:00 AM

Yes that's helpful.

Here is my quick guess. In the arm lifts. Are you actively pulling the shoulder blade down as the arms lifts, it needs to pull down from the medial edge. Are you at the same time packing the head of the humerus in the joint? Again it's really hard to describe this with words. If you play with those ideas in such a way that lifting the arm doesn't catch. The catch most likely means there is some issue with the movement. The answer will involve the shoulder blade.

The OHP is actually similar. In a way easier, the old clue of activating the lats really helps.

I went through this many times before i started with GB. Doing all the prehab, and working on good movement was key and now i can say my shoulders are not causing me persistent pain anymore. What i can't say is there was a magic bullet, it took a good two years and careful consistent effort but my shoulders were quite weak to begin.

#6 phrak

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:42 PM

Here is my quick guess. In the arm lifts. Are you actively pulling the shoulder blade down as the arms lifts, it needs to pull down from the medial edge. Are you at the same time packing the head of the humerus in the joint? Again it's really hard to describe this with words. If you play with those ideas in such a way that lifting the arm doesn't catch. The catch most likely means there is some issue with the movement. The answer will involve the shoulder blade.


Yeah, I'm thinking it's scapular too. If I depress the scapula, the pain comes on sooner, actually. I just tried elevating it as hard as I could and there was only a mild discomfort

#7 bio-mechanix

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 11:04 AM

Sounds like you had the same thing i had!...Get on this rehab protocol and believe me...IT WORKS!! For me it took 2 months to notice the pain in my anterior deltoid area subsiding with these exercises. Good luck!



#8 piotro

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 03:33 AM

Do you get this shoulder pain when doing pushups with wide hand placement and if you do, does it go away when you place your hand at shoulder width?