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  1. #1
    Registered User FCB02062's Avatar
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    Rotator Cuff Injury...

    I did use the search function but nothing came up similar to my situation, so here goes...

    I'm slowly but surely getting strength back thanks to a situation detailed in this thread:

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...post1175217873

    Anyway, I was benching last Sunday my last set (225). 185 & 205 went up fine, felt good and strong. 225 goes up fine, feeling great, but as I'm about half way to 3/4 up w the 4th rep I hear a popping cracking in my left shoulder. I put the bar back and walk around stretch it out and just to test I try to lift just the bar, no dice. The cracking/popping was identical to the feeling I get when the chiro adjusts my lower back. There was actually some "relief" in the left shoulder, as it always feels tight in the AM and when I do certain exercises there's a bit of discomfort - nothing major though.

    So I try to continue my chest workout and i can't do anything other than cable flies (highest cable position) for chest. I finished with back and had no issues. Got home, iced it, and range of motion was limited a bit, but not too much. The next day there was a lot of pain. Could barely move left arm at the shoulder. Went to an Urgent Care clinic (didn't want to wait for appt w my primary) and he diagnosed a rotator cuff STRAIN. Fast forward to today (Friday) and I have pretty much full range of motion with a bit of pinching type pain at times. It's been getting a bit better each day thankfully.

    My question is, has anyone ever heard this cracking or popping in their shoulder? It really felt like when I crack my back sitting in my chair at work and i twist my torso - crack pop goes the lower back. Well, pop/crack/snap went my shoulder.

    Lastly, if anyone's had a similar injury, when did you go back to the weights? How long did it take to back to where you were before you hurt your shoulder? My plan is to hit the gym Sunday (one week from the injury) and try light weights, but before I'll probably try some pushups at home. thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
    Barbarian Hoard[er] proconsul's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FCB02062 View Post
    I did use the search function but nothing came up similar to my situation, so here goes...

    I'm slowly but surely getting strength back thanks to a situation detailed in this thread:

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...post1175217873

    Anyway, I was benching last Sunday my last set (225). 185 & 205 went up fine, felt good and strong. 225 goes up fine, feeling great, but as I'm about half way to 3/4 up w the 4th rep I hear a popping cracking in my left shoulder. I put the bar back and walk around stretch it out and just to test I try to lift just the bar, no dice. The cracking/popping was identical to the feeling I get when the chiro adjusts my lower back. There was actually some "relief" in the left shoulder, as it always feels tight in the AM and when I do certain exercises there's a bit of discomfort - nothing major though.

    So I try to continue my chest workout and i can't do anything other than cable flies (highest cable position) for chest. I finished with back and had no issues. Got home, iced it, and range of motion was limited a bit, but not too much. The next day there was a lot of pain. Could barely move left arm at the shoulder. Went to an Urgent Care clinic (didn't want to wait for appt w my primary) and he diagnosed a rotator cuff STRAIN. Fast forward to today (Friday) and I have pretty much full range of motion with a bit of pinching type pain at times. It's been getting a bit better each day thankfully.

    My question is, has anyone ever heard this cracking or popping in their shoulder? It really felt like when I crack my back sitting in my chair at work and i twist my torso - crack pop goes the lower back. Well, pop/crack/snap went my shoulder.

    Lastly, if anyone's had a similar injury, when did you go back to the weights? How long did it take to back to where you were before you hurt your shoulder? My plan is to hit the gym Sunday (one week from the injury) and try light weights, but before I'll probably try some pushups at home. thanks in advance!
    I'd take it easy. I regularly used to tweak my rotator on flies or really heavy incline bench. When you hurt it, it stays hurt for weeks and it's easy to aggravate it. I found that the best thing I could do is let it come back fully before going hard on it again. 2-3 weeks.
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    Crohns Bro JDizleSwoleizle's Avatar
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    Figure out which muscle it is, different muscles do different things. So if you can identify it (not sure why the doc didn't do this) try and avoid excercises that use that muscle, if it is possible.. which it might not be. I have a small tear in one and I am still able to work out, just limited by where I angle my hands/elbows because if it is in the wrong position I'm screwed. Also myofascial release of that muscle and others might help with pain, along with nsaids if you need them. Would be easier to stop working out until it heals, but I might go crazy..
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    Registered User FCB02062's Avatar
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    I'm about to hit the gym at lunch (cardio only :-( ) and for the heck of it I tried a "girl" push up in my conference room at work - couldn't do it. F#ck, this sucks. i have range of motion back with very little pain but if i can't even do a girl push up now...man, this sucks. Wish i skipped the gym last Sunday...
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    Bored drudixon's Avatar
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    Be glad it's a strain and not a tear. Google ever stretch you can. Ice, epsom salt baths, CM cream and fix your BP form. A tens unit is amazing if you can afford one, or, get a doc to prescribe it and it should be covered under insurance as a medical device. Gawd I love my tens unit.
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    Crohns Bro JDizleSwoleizle's Avatar
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    dru- Can you aware me on the tens unit, googled it but does it help heal or just ease pain? Any advice on on healing as opposed to pain reduction?

    OP- Look at some of the youtube vids and see if you can figure out which muscle it is. I have issues benching/shoulders ect with my hands parrallel ie a bar, but I can do dumbells if they are straight up and down without hitting that muscle. Use no or really low weights replicating exercises and see what hurts and what doesn't without messing it up further. Resting is always the best bet though.
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    Kettlebell Junkie Ragnar13's Avatar
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    I had a severe labrum tear and during the repair they also found a pothole in my cartilage where the shoulder "catches" in certain angles and movement ranges.

    I highly recommend ditching heavy bench press. You can develop a chest without it. I haven't benched (other than to demonstrate it using an empty bar in 4 years).

    But if you have to bench, bring your elbows in. Don't flare them out. Asking for trouble.
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    Registered User Wintondevil's Avatar
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    I know jack $hit about lifting as I am only a noobie to it, +2 yrs, but I certainly know about shoulder pain. Any RC injury is a prick and if you can raise your arm laterally in any direction than you are very lucky. I do not have any quals but know more about MY shoulders then I should. Had both shoulders "chicken winged" (twisted until they dislocate from the joint) in rugby league. Right one twice and left one once. Spent $1000s on bull$hit specialist saying they would cure me.
    Anyway the best thing I found for MYSELF, as everybody is different, was self myofascial release with a $5 tennis ball or a lacrosse ball (depends how big your balls are because it is not a tickle session) and massage a trigger point. To find out how it's done just check out a YouTube flick. I know there is one called "Functional Patterns" that talks about self myofascial release and how to do it.
    Also it's Xmas time so just rest a bit. If you rush a shoulder injury I can guarantee you that wiping your ass will be painful. I have lost contracts because I went back to soon into training. Gradually building in to it over a month is better than taking six months to even open a door or pull your dick with your preferred hand.
    If you do try it let us know how you go anyway.
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    Bored drudixon's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JDizleSwoleizle View Post
    dru- Can you aware me on the tens unit, googled it but does it help heal or just ease pain? Any advice on on healing as opposed to pain reduction?

    OP- Look at some of the youtube vids and see if you can figure out which muscle it is. I have issues benching/shoulders ect with my hands parrallel ie a bar, but I can do dumbells if they are straight up and down without hitting that muscle. Use no or really low weights replicating exercises and see what hurts and what doesn't without messing it up further. Resting is always the best bet though.
    http://www.livestrong.com/article/86...r-cuff/#page=1
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    close enough isn't! hmmmm16417's Avatar
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    My shoulders started cracking and popping in my 30's . It would loosen up as my workout went on but it would progressively get worse. At times it seemed like it hurt less during movement with a load on the bar but when I stopped it hurt like heck.

    Went to the dr and he made me stop lifting for a while and I ended up getting cortizone shots. Havent had an issue with pain since. (About 8 yrs or so) Still pop sometimes, but I make sure I warm up my shoulders w 5 lb plates going in full motion Before lifting.

    See your dr.
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    Truth fears no questions FlexinMike's Avatar
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    I have had cracking and popping in my shoulders for the last 3 years. I have also had issues moving the heavy weight since when doing the shoulder presses and flat/incline bench presses. It started with one shoulder causing me a lot of discomfort. Then it got better but the other shoulder started having the same issue soon after. I believe by taking it easy on the one shoulder I put pressure on the other. No matter what I do it is not improving. What I have found helpful is varying the angles I do my presses. Also using dumbbells vs barbells has helped a lot. I have seen the dr, done acupuncture, and some physical therapy with no improvement.
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    Registered User FCB02062's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. One week since injury and pain is just about gone and I have pretty much full range motion. Been heating last few days and started stretching once it was pain free a few days ago. Part of me is hoping I'm gonna hop on the bench and do to 75s on dumbbell press, but I'm going to take it slow. Im going to do some of those rotator cuff exercises with my wife's 5 lb dumbbells. Hopefully I can strengthen it. My goal is to be able to do a decent chest workout pain free in a month. Till then evrythings going to be light light weight....thanks again for the input...and no more f#cking barbell bench press :'(
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    Hi

    Yes this has happened to me as well and it wasn't good.

    I started using a plate loaded incline press machine which allowed me to move a lot more weight than I would normally do with free weights. The range of motion was rather fixed and different from my normal press movement. On my 4th workout or so using this machine, I was pushing myself for one more rep and I felt something weird in my left shoulder, and then BANG… it was as if I could hear it or something, and felt like tight strings were snapping or something under my skin ( probably the cracking you described).

    I didn't feel much pain then but when i tried to continue workout it was a no go. I took 2 weeks off to be on safe side and had trouble sleeping on it it for a while. I then tried to train again as usual and as soon as I started presses it was as if nothing was better.

    I have never felt as bad as I did because of this accident. I stopped almost all weight training affecting the areas for about 3 months all up and the injury still never really went away. I learned to train around it effectively in that time. The time off was probably overkill but being mid thirties I didn't want to screw myself over for being stupid. What pissed me off the most was I had started adding cuff warm ups to my routines but didn't do them the day it happened.

    Its been about a year and a half now since injury and I adjust my training to ensure I don't aggravate it as it has set me back a lot. I still have full range of motion but I am a little weaker from the set backs and always in fear of pushing it over the edge again. I'm just scared of tearing it. I rarely feel pain anymore, (just occasionally) which reminds me that I still need to be careful.

    My biggest adjustments to training are never to use machines for presses (machines being anything that have a locked ROM). I never use barbells either and have also dropped all types of OH press from my shoulder workouts but sometimes do them although very light. I always do a significant amount of incline dumbbell press which I have found somewhat offsets not doing OH presses. I have also dropped upright rows, doing them hurts very bad, more than heavy pressing and I now know why many bodybuilders have said they are garbage LOL.

    I start all shoulder and chest training with various cuff warmups and strengthening exercises without fail now. People look at me funny when doing them but I don't give a damn. I also never go to failure on chest anymore, always going for volume even when the training of other body parts is not volume based. I still do dips but I'm very careful with them and stop before failure, sometimes they hurt depending on the width my hands are at.

    If i can offer any advices it would be to find rotator cuff strengthening exercises to do and do them after taking some weeks rest before pressing again. Find what range of motion hurts it an work around it. Everybody's joints or whatever is different, and so have different Range of motion/sense of form etc when doing exercises so you might need to adjust/drop some exercises if the injury is really bad.

    If you really need to train Do legs 3x a week for a month LOL, just Don't mess with the cuff so soon, its too important to risk it in the long run.

    hope you get well
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    Originally Posted by FCB02062 View Post
    Thanks for the replies. One week since injury and pain is just about gone and I have pretty much full range motion. Been heating last few days and started stretching once it was pain free a few days ago. Part of me is hoping I'm gonna hop on the bench and do to 75s on dumbbell press, but I'm going to take it slow. Im going to do some of those rotator cuff exercises with my wife's 5 lb dumbbells. Hopefully I can strengthen it. My goal is to be able to do a decent chest workout pain free in a month. Till then evrythings going to be light light weight....thanks again for the input...and no more f#cking barbell bench press :'(
    I strained mine 2 years ago from pitching in an adult baseball league. I couldn't even reach behind me to grab my wallet from my back pocket. It took me 10 weeks of rotator cuff exercises with bands/cable pulleys and stretches every day until the strength was back up and pain was gone.

    After 10 weeks I started back with very light weights on DB bench and SLOWLY progressed but all of my strength came back in a couple of months.

    It sounds like yours is already getting better, but I wouldn't try to do too much too soon. On your stretches and exercises, only go until the point of pain. Don't push into the pain.
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    Registered User FCB02062's Avatar
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    Thanks folks for the input...I'm going to hit the gym at lunch today and give it a shot, but I know anything more than extremely light dumbbell presses will be impossible - if I even do them. I'm going to go light today with everything, probably just do one exercise each for bis, tris, back, legs, and if i can find something for shoulders / chest that doesn't hurt i'll try it. For kicks I went into the kitchen in my office and grabbed two unopened 5 gallon jugs of spring water. they have handles on them, and I shrugged them with no pain, no nothing at all. I've heard that shrugs are a "safe" thing to do with a rotator cuff injury. I'll probably try some shrugs today with the dumbbells....
    I still would love to know what people's rotator cuff injuries "felt" like. Can you compare it to anything? I've also had bad ankle sprains many times and the snapping, cracking and popping in my ankles was the same as in my shoulder that day.
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    A really dull ache. I dont know how to describe it but that as I dont recall ever feeling such a pain before, not even when i snapped my ankle.
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    Mine was more of a sharp pain and only hurt with pressure (like static pushup) or movement. Reaching behind me was the most painful. I could simulate a throwing motion with no pain, but actually throwing ANY weight (even a sock) gave pain for the full 10 weeks of rehab until one day it didn't. Mine didn't ache at all and I would sometimes forget there was an injury until I moved it certain directions.
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    Registered User FCB02062's Avatar
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    The descriptions are interesting because as I said, I heard and felt a distinct cracking and popping much like an ankle sprain. But the injured area was never painful to the touch and I never had a problem sleeping on that shoulder as many report with RC injuries.
    Today at the gym I did seated rows with the "curvy bar that you row with your hands about a foot apart with a hammer grip" (no clue what this bar is called), cable flies w the cables set to the highest position, db shrugs, single arm cable pushdowns, and db pinwheel curls. I did everything to about 60%-70% of what I was doing prior to the RC injury without any problems.
    I was surprised at how good the flies felt and there was no RC impingement at all. Must be the positioning of the pullies and the plane of movement circumvents the RC somehow. Probably the only chest thing i'll be doing for awhile.
    When all was said and done I went over to the bench for sh#ts and giggles and did db presses with 5s, 10s, and 20s. I was going to try the 30s but said F it I'd never be able to do it because the 20s hurt at the bottom of the rep.
    Again, thanks for the input...we'll see how I feel in a few days when I try this "rehab" workout once more. Legs either tomorrow or Wednesday...
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    Coming up on 3 full weeks from my suspected RC injury and I feel like I'm falling apart at the seams. So frustrated that I can't even do the 20s on a db press and I can't do any sort of shoulder/lateral raise with anything more than the 20s, and lateral raises bring on alot of pain so I'm not doing them. Went to orthopedist and she suspects supraspinatus or infraspinatus injury. Had an MRI Monday night, but with Christmas in the middle of the week I probably won't get the results till some time next week. I have a copy of the MRI but have no clue what to look for - tried google image search for similar mris to try to compare but I have no idea how to interpret these things!
    Thing that really pisses me off is that about a year ago I read an article on hear about shoulder blowouts nearing 40 years old and lifting heavy. So I added some RC strengthening stuff to my training and I was pretty diligent about it. then I blow out an RC...or so I think. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas...
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    Did you get the radiologist's reading with it?
    2 + 2 = 5 (for extremely large values of 2)

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    Originally Posted by mslman71 View Post
    Did you get the radiologist's reading with it?
    Nope, just the disc w the images as far as I can tell. When I get home I'll look to see if there's some sort of report on there...thanks for the heads up
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    Originally Posted by FCB02062 View Post
    Nope, just the disc w the images as far as I can tell. When I get home I'll look to see if there's some sort of report on there...thanks for the heads up
    The actual reading is what you want. The doctor you're dealing with, depending on his personality and his assessment of your knowledge, will likely dumb it down for you, which is fine but doesn't help you to get out and do your own research. It's unlikely it's on the disc but can't hurt to look.

    Did the doctor do any sort of clinical exam? (hold arms together and try to extent, try to raise, try to rotate internal/external, etc?)

    I assume x-rays were unremarkable (?)
    2 + 2 = 5 (for extremely large values of 2)

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    Originally Posted by mslman71 View Post
    The actual reading is what you want. The doctor you're dealing with, depending on his personality and his assessment of your knowledge, will likely dumb it down for you, which is fine but doesn't help you to get out and do your own research. It's unlikely it's on the disc but can't hurt to look.

    Did the doctor do any sort of clinical exam? (hold arms together and try to extent, try to raise, try to rotate internal/external, etc?)

    I assume x-rays were unremarkable (?)
    Thanks for responding. Yes, there was nothing on the x rays. The Dr did tests of my arm and shoulder movements, etc. the one that really caused pain was my left arm extended straight (parallel to the floor) from my shoulder, then i bent my forearm forward to a 90 degree angle with my upper arm still out straight (making an "L"). When she pushed DOWN on my forearm trying to point my hand towards the floor (with me keeping upper arm straight outward and her supporting under my elbow) it freaking killed. I did all the other tests - arm bent behind like reaching for a wallet, touch back of my neck, without much problem. Even as I sit here in my office I can make the same motion with my injured arm and if I try to move my forearm the slightest bit it hurts.
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    I believe you're describing an Apprehension test, which is more for joint stability, specifically the labrum. Crunching and grinding in addition to pain on that test sounds more like potential instability due to a labral tear (I'm assuming your arms were elevated away to the side, eg crucifix pose, from your body, rather than in front, eg zombie), assuming it's not coming from the bursa. Anyway, they'll figure it all out. MRIs w/o contrast aren't always great for spotting tears of the labrum and anyone who has been active will likely have some degree of mild tearing at a minimum ('diffuse tearing'). Of course it could be RC related too. Don't do any pressing or fly movements until you have it figure out. If the joint is unstable putting a lot of pressure on it over an extended period of time will lead to other more serious problems.
    2 + 2 = 5 (for extremely large values of 2)

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    Originally Posted by FlexinMike View Post
    What I have found helpful is varying the angles I do my presses. Also using dumbbells vs barbells has helped a lot.
    ^ exactly what is working for me. My issue is ongoing and I believe I have figured it out now as an issue with a weak lower trap on the left side. First thought it was rotator, then AC, then levator scapula, but I believe all of it stemmed (in my case) from that lower trap. I would love to bench with a bar, at least from time to time, but I simply can't handle it right now. DB presses are working fine and gaining strength, but I think my back is the issue. If anyone has suggestions as to strengthening that lower trap, please reply here. http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showth...hp?t=159093291 Thanks.
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    Originally Posted by mslman71 View Post
    I believe you're describing an Apprehension test, which is more for joint stability, specifically the labrum. Crunching and grinding in addition to pain on that test sounds more like potential instability due to a labral tear (I'm assuming your arms were elevated away to the side, eg crucifix pose, from your body, rather than in front, eg zombie), assuming it's not coming from the bursa. Anyway, they'll figure it all out. MRIs w/o contrast aren't always great for spotting tears of the labrum and anyone who has been active will likely have some degree of mild tearing at a minimum ('diffuse tearing'). Of course it could be RC related too. Don't do any pressing or fly movements until you have it figure out. If the joint is unstable putting a lot of pressure on it over an extended period of time will lead to other more serious problems.
    Thanks, much appreciated...yes it was a Crucifix pose
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    Originally Posted by mslman71 View Post
    I believe you're describing an Apprehension test, which is more for joint stability, specifically the labrum. Crunching and grinding in addition to pain on that test sounds more like potential instability due to a labral tear (I'm assuming your arms were elevated away to the side, eg crucifix pose, from your body, rather than in front, eg zombie), assuming it's not coming from the bursa. Anyway, they'll figure it all out. MRIs w/o contrast aren't always great for spotting tears of the labrum and anyone who has been active will likely have some degree of mild tearing at a minimum ('diffuse tearing'). Of course it could be RC related too. Don't do any pressing or fly movements until you have it figure out. If the joint is unstable putting a lot of pressure on it over an extended period of time will lead to other more serious problems.
    Got the MRI back from the MRI place - Dr had called w results but I wasn't home, so I went to the MRI facility to get the results. Here's the findings, or as the report says "IMPRESSIONS"

    1. No rotator cuff or labral tear identified
    2. teres minor muscular edema. this could be due to muscle strain or neurogenic in the setting of axillary nerve injury.
    3. acromioclavicular arthropathy is mjild, perhaps due to chronic stress or old injury.

    So of course, I google away and my considerably uneducated interpretation is a severely strained teres minor (grade 3?), which impinged on the axillary nerve. The axillary nerve "ain't working" and it's resulting in my inability to abduct my left arm and lift anything in a pressing motion....whaddya think? you and others seem to know what you're talking about...thanks! any ideas on what treatment might be like????
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    Speaking only from personal experience with very similar injury...
    Several years ago in my late 30s I ran across a woman being beaten on by a few men, tried to help her out (which I did at a costly price), speared a guy twice my size and ripped my rotator cuff in my left shoulder. After 7 weeks in a sling the pain subsided and another 5 weeks later I could write again. It took me almost 5 months to start lifting again. Two weeks in and my shoulder snapped. Another 2 months out. After that I reduced weight and added 10 lbs to the bars ONLY after it became comfortable.

    Now at age 50 I am back to benching 260. My target is 300lbs, which I WILL reach in 2014. Will I ever reach my full potential again? My goal is to reach that and go beyond.

    Icing caused me trouble. Keeping the shoulder warm and warming up beforehand was my key. Lots of stretching exercises will help if not overdone. Do not force, but do not give up. An injury takes time to recuperate from. It will come before you know it. Just be careful.
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    Originally Posted by FCB02062 View Post
    Got the MRI back from the MRI place - Dr had called w results but I wasn't home, so I went to the MRI facility to get the results. Here's the findings, or as the report says "IMPRESSIONS"

    1. No rotator cuff or labral tear identified
    2. teres minor muscular edema. this could be due to muscle strain or neurogenic in the setting of axillary nerve injury.
    3. acromioclavicular arthropathy is mjild, perhaps due to chronic stress or old injury.

    So of course, I google away and my considerably uneducated interpretation is a severely strained teres minor (grade 3?), which impinged on the axillary nerve. The axillary nerve "ain't working" and it's resulting in my inability to abduct my left arm and lift anything in a pressing motion....whaddya think? you and others seem to know what you're talking about...thanks! any ideas on what treatment might be like????
    At face value that sounds like a pretty good reading. My guess is you might get a script for PT but likely just rest and time.
    2 + 2 = 5 (for extremely large values of 2)

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    Use Resistance bands or something like Bodylastics @ the gym.

    Do free weight exercises like planks. Take a few weeks off no workouts.. try some things with your diet like adding flax seeds which is an organic tendon/ligament lubricator that come as seeds that you can add to food like yogurt.

    When you start working out again start with really low weights and spend a month working back up slowly while taking time off and also stretching.

    You should be back in full form and strength in a month and a half if all done at maximum potential of healing. 2 months at full strength/ form with more average techniques.

    Also ice and hot water shower. Stay at higher reps smooth


    EDIT: IF it is just a strain which it sounds like given you are at full strength you'll be find in a couple weeks.. but it could become a serious injury if you don't manage ti.
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