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  1. #1
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    Shoulder/arm pain, numb (asleep feeling), tingling - sudden onset of weakness

    Going to see the ortho surgeon next Thursday, will probably get an MRI and we'll see what they tell me...

    This is a gradual injury/pain and I don't know if it's a couple different issues or one interconnected issue.

    Been having neck pain for roughly 3-4 months, very light, more annoying than anything. Not the type of pain when you strain your neck and it's very tender for a few days. It's been more of a feeling of something blocking me inside from turning my head all the way to one side and when I near the max range of movement I feel a bit of pain. Feels better and worse off and on. Also have had a really knotted feeling on the left side of the back of the middle of my shoulder blades, right in the neck area. This has caused pain to radiate into the shoulder at times. Originally I thought I had a pinched nerve. Been to the chiro a few times, it did nothing for me.

    Gradually over time I began to have a very constant dull pain in my left shoulder on the outside that felt like it was in the shoulder and down into the bicep. It's always there, never goes away, and has caused sleeping problems. At times if feels like a throb, others it feels like tingling, sometimes it feels like the upper part of the arm is asleep (the feeling before it wakes up and before the "pins and needles". Also if I am laying on a flat bench and just put my arms out kind of spread eagle to stretch I have a sharp pain right in the area between my bicep and forearm (inner elbow area), like tendon pain. I had no extra or increased pain while working out though. It really felt fine to lift. So I continued.

    Background, I am 5'10", 180 and I usually bench heavy, pyramids up to 325. Most people say that I am amazingly strong for my size. I don't have very broad shoulders, and only 16inch biceps. Also, I have impeccable form at the bench, never arch my back and always do the full range of motion.

    Anyway, about 3 weeks ago I went in to do a bicep day and was going to start with sitting dumbbell curls. For about 2 years I have hovered around using 35lbs to 45lbs in each hand. This particular day I was starting with 40lbs (should have been fairly easy to do). My left arm was considerably weaker than my right and I couldn't even do half the reps with the left as I would normally do. I quit for about a week. I came back and tried a bench day. Usually I can easily do about 6-8 reps at 250lbs and thats after 3-4 sets already. This particular day I couldn't even do over 3 reps at 185lbs, and I could barely do 8 reps at 135lbs.

    I can't do standing barbell curls anymore either. Used to do about 90-100lbs, now can barely do 60lbs and I have to cheat with my right arm more to even get the thing to do a full range rep.

    Basically there is just no strength in my left arm, at all.

    The daily constant general pain in the left shoulder/arm is getting better, but there is no strength returning.

    Just today I went in to do legs, abs and cardio and I just tried to pick up a 25lb dumbbell to try and just do one standing curl with my left arm. Nothing. No strength whatsoever.

    Right arm is just fine, if not stronger than normal.

    Anybody have any ideas?
    Last edited by Lionel_Luthor; 09-27-2008 at 11:15 AM.
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  2. #2
    Never give up. user345008781's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Lionel_Luthor View Post
    Going to see the ortho surgeon next Thursday, will probably get an MRI and we'll see what they tell me...

    This is a gradual injury/pain and I don't know if it's a couple different issues or one interconnected issue.

    Been having neck pain for roughly 3-4 months, very light, more annoying than anything. Not the type of pain when you strain your neck and it's very tender for a few days. It's been more of a feeling of something blocking me inside from turning my head all the way to one side and when I near the max range of movement I feel a bit of pain. Feels better and worse off and on. Also have had a really knotted feeling on the left side of the back of the middle of my shoulder blades, right in the neck area. This has caused pain to radiate into the shoulder at times. Originally I thought I had a pinched nerve. Been to the chiro a few times, it did nothing for me.

    Gradually over time I began to have a very constant dull pain in my left shoulder on the outside that felt like it was in the shoulder and down into the bicep. It's always there, never goes away, and has caused sleeping problems. At times if feels like a throb, others it feels like tingling, sometimes it feels like the upper part of the arm is asleep (the feeling before it wakes up and before the "pins and needles". Also if I am laying on a flat bench and just put my arms out kind of spread eagle to stretch I have a sharp pain right in the area between my bicep and forearm (inner elbow area), like tendon pain. I had no extra or increased pain while working out though. It really felt fine to lift. So I continued.

    Background, I am 5'10", 180 and I usually bench heavy, pyramids up to 325. Most people say that I am amazingly strong for my size. I don't have very broad shoulders, and only 16inch biceps. Also, I have impeccable form at the bench, never arch my back and always do the full range of motion.

    Anyway, about 3 weeks ago I went in to do a bicep day and was going to start with sitting dumbbell curls. For about 2 years I have hovered around using 35lbs to 45lbs in each hand. This particular day I was starting with 40lbs (should have been fairly easy to do). My left arm was considerably weaker than my right and I couldn't even do half the reps with the left as I would normally do. I quit for about a week. I came back and tried a bench day. Usually I can easily do about 6-8 reps at 250lbs and thats after 3-4 sets already. This particular day I couldn't even do over 3 reps at 185lbs, and I could barely do 8 reps at 135lbs.

    I can't do standing barbell curls anymore either. Used to do about 90-100lbs, now can barely do 60lbs and I have to cheat with my right arm more to even get the thing to do a full range rep.

    Basically there is just no strength in my left arm, at all.

    The daily constant general pain in the left shoulder arm is getting better, but there is no strength returning.

    Just today I went in to do legs, abs and cardio and I just tried to pick up a 25lb dumbbell to try and just do one standing curl with my left arm. Nothing. No strength whatsoever.

    Right arm is just fine, if not stronger than normal.

    Anybody have any ideas?
    Stop lifting weights entirely for 4 weeks. See a doctor, or a ortho. You could have a tear, which is reducing the strength.
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  3. #3
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    Yeah, that's my opinion too. I can't think of anything that would cause such weakness other than a tear. I have stopped all upper body stuff for the time being until I get an MRI and find out how to fix it.
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  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by Lionel_Luthor View Post
    Yeah, that's my opinion too. I can't think of anything that would cause such weakness other than a tear. I have stopped all upper body stuff for the time being until I get an MRI and find out how to fix it.
    Please post back when you get the MRI results.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Lionel_Luthor's Avatar
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    Will do
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  6. #6
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    I posted this in a previous message, but it may be something to consider.

    I had/have a somewhat similar problem. I noticed my left arm - the non dominant arm - was slowly getting stronger than my right arm. This happened over a period of several months. I then began to notice numbness and tingling in my right hand and arm. After having an MRI, I learned I had two bulging discs in my neck that were impinging on the nerves for my right arm - leading to reduced strength in that arm and greater development of the left side. After treatment and research on my part, the condition is slowly becoming better. I continued to lift, but modified my workouts, such as replacing back squats with front squats. I'm not saying this is what is causing your problem, but you can at least rule it out. Good luck
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  7. #7
    Registered User Lionel_Luthor's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dac1 View Post
    I had/have a somewhat similar problem. I noticed my left arm - the non dominant arm - was slowly getting stronger than my right arm. This happened over a period of several months. I then began to notice numbness and tingling in my right hand and arm. After having an MRI, I learned I had two bulging discs in my neck that were impinging on the nerves for my right arm - leading to reduced strength in that arm and greater development of the left side. After treatment and research on my part, the condition is slowly becoming better. I continued to lift, but modified my workouts, such as replacing back squats with front squats. I'm not saying this is what is causing your problem, but you can at least rule it out. Good luck
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    Did you have any degree of neck pain the entire span of this problem? I think your problem may be a possibility for me as well since I still have constant neck pain. Nothing really painful, like I said more of an annoyance. However, from time to time I still find myself moving my neck and feeling pain. I originally thought I had a disc that was out of whack because of this foreign feeling like when you rotate your ankle and it kind stops then you try to go beyond that point and it "cracks" and you go about your business. I have that feeling in my neck when I turn my head either way, but I can't go beyond that point where it stops.
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  8. #8
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    I had more numbness and tingling than pain. I would, and still do, get some numbness and tingling at the base of my neck on the left hand side and in both hands. I can make the symptoms increase by turning my head far to the right or left (so I don?t do this). If I sit with my head tilted forward for longer than a few minutes- reading a book or working on the laptop computer - a few hours later I?ll have increased symptoms. Only an MRI will be able to show if you have bulging discs. If you do have bulging discs, don?t panic and consider all your treatment options. Good luck!
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  9. #9
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    Well, I had my MRIs this past saturday (on my neck and my left shoulder). Again, I am 29 years old, 5'9". I am far from a pro or anything like that, just an avid lifter for general fitness. I began lifting for the most part in 2000-2001. I aspire to gain mass and muscle, but nothing like a pro. I really have ever wanted just to have solid mass and a general ripped look. I started at about 145-150lbs and I have never gotten heavier than 186lbs. I'd like to be 190-200lbs solid and ripped.

    I went in this morning to find out the results

    Neck = I have a C4-5 herniated disc with C5 nueral impingement
    I also have multilevel cervical and upper thoracic degeneration

    Shoulder = it says I don't have a partial or full thickness rotator cuff tear, but I do have a superior labrum tear especially at and posterior to the biceps tendon anchor. Some borderline abnormal thickening and a signal alteration of the subacromial bursa

    I have an appointment with a neck specialist next week to discuss options

    The ortho said that he suspects the pinched nerve is the root cause of most of my pain, numbness, tingling and sudden loss of strength. His opinion was that the labrum issue very likley has been with me for a while and that it isn't contributory to this sudden pain and weakness in the left arm. However, after the pinched nerve is dealt with we will know if the should is still giving me issues.

    Anyone have any experience with this or ideas on where to go with it? If offered should I have surgery or do people think that other options short of surgery would be a better route?
    Last edited by Lionel_Luthor; 10-09-2008 at 09:43 AM.
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    Symptoms to watch out for!!

    If you are unsure of the cause of your shoulder pain, or if you do not know the specific treatment recommendations for your condition, you should seek medical attention. Treatment of these conditions must be directed at the specific cause of your problem. Some signs that you should be seen by a doctor include:

    Inability to carry objects or use the arm
    Injury that causes deformity of the joint
    Shoulder pain that occurs at night or while resting
    Shoulder pain that persists beyond a few days
    Inability to raise the arm
    Swelling or significant bruising around the joint or arm
    Signs of an infection, including fever, redness, warmth
    Any other unusual symptoms
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    Originally Posted by Lionel_Luthor View Post
    Well, I had my MRIs this past saturday (on my neck and my left shoulder). Again, I am 29 years old, 5'9". I am far from a pro or anything like that, just an avid lifter for general fitness. I began lifting for the most part in 2000-2001. I aspire to gain mass and muscle, but nothing like a pro. I really have ever wanted just to have solid mass and a general ripped look. I started at about 145-150lbs and I have never gotten heavier than 186lbs. I'd like to be 190-200lbs solid and ripped.

    I went in this morning to find out the results

    Neck = I have a C4-5 herniated disc with C5 nueral impingement
    I also have multilevel cervical and upper thoracic degeneration

    Shoulder = it says I don't have a partial or full thickness rotator cuff tear, but I do have a superior labrum tear especially at and posterior to the biceps tendon anchor. Some borderline abnormal thickening and a signal alteration of the subacromial bursa

    I have an appointment with a neck specialist next week to discuss options

    The ortho said that he suspects the pinched nerve is the root cause of most of my pain, numbness, tingling and sudden loss of strength. His opinion was that the labrum issue very likley has been with me for a while and that it isn't contributory to this sudden pain and weakness in the left arm. However, after the pinched nerve is dealt with we will know if the should is still giving me issues.

    Anyone have any experience with this or ideas on where to go with it? If offered should I have surgery or do people think that other options short of surgery would be a better route?
    There is common syndrom that effects C4/5 called an acute wry neck that gives symptoms as you describe. Often very easily frixed.

    On rare occasions, there is a disc lesion underlying it as you have.

    C4 mostly refers pain to the shoulder, but a branch of C4 gos down to the shoulderblade area, so pain referral there is not uncommon.

    C5 nerve goes to further down the arm.

    I would assume that you would have a nerve conduction test to see how badly the nerve is being affected.

    This may recover completely by itself in time. May also benefits from injections, and possibly may need surgery to release the nerve.

    Hard to say at this early stage.
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    Originally Posted by uday1583 View Post
    If you are unsure of the cause of your shoulder pain, or if you do not know the specific treatment recommendations for your condition, you should seek medical attention. Treatment of these conditions must be directed at the specific cause of your problem. Some signs that you should be seen by a doctor include:

    Inability to carry objects or use the arm
    Injury that causes deformity of the joint
    Shoulder pain that occurs at night or while resting
    Shoulder pain that persists beyond a few days
    Inability to raise the arm
    Swelling or significant bruising around the joint or arm
    Signs of an infection, including fever, redness, warmth
    Any other unusual symptoms
    I'm pretty sure that had you read the posts in this thread before your reply you would have known that I have sought medical attention for my condition, hence the post just before yours about the MRIs I had last Saturday.......
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