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  1. #1
    Registered User samrozay3's Avatar
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    Nerve impingement affecting strength. Anyone experience the same?

    Hey all,

    I've been dealing with a pinched nerve on and off for the past 4-5 months or so. My main symptoms are a small but still noticeable loss of strength in my left arm during certain movements and a nagging type of pain in my neck (which isn't there all the time). I can do all rowing movements without any impairment and without any loss of strength. I feel the loss of strength the most when doing bench press or overhead press. I can press about 5kg less in my left arm when compared with my right arm. This loss of strength isn't always prevalent and there are times when I can press my normal weight with my left arm. Another movement where I can feel a loss of strength is dumbbell lunges. The dumbbell in my left hand gets heavier quicker than in my right hand and I can tell that it's not down to muscle fatigue. It's difficult to describe the sensation because it's not painful as such, it's rather a feeling of weakness. It runs down the outside of my arm and into my forearm.

    I have had an MRI of my cervical spine done and my cervical spine is completely fine. I've been to my orthopedic doctor a number of times and it doesn't come from my shoulder or my rotator cuff. I've been going to my physio once a week and she isn't sure what it could be and where exactly it comes from. She reckons it could be trigger points in my traps causing the symptoms directly or it could be trigger points impinging on the nerve. I will be visiting another physio in a couple of weeks time who will do an EMG to measure muscle activity, which will then in turn show if there's a nerve problem or not.

    Now one of the main culprits (what me and my physio think) is my posture. In my case I have a kyphotic spine, rounded shoulders and forward head posture. All of it is quite subtle and I'm wary of my posture but it's still there.

    This is a pretty common occurrence in the world of bodybuilding, so I'm wondering if anyone has been through something similar and would care to share their experience and their journey with me.

    Much love fam
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  2. #2
    Registered User Szyszak's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by samrozay3 View Post
    Hey all,

    I've been dealing with a pinched nerve on and off for the past 4-5 months or so. My main symptoms are a small but still noticeable loss of strength in my left arm during certain movements and a nagging type of pain in my neck (which isn't there all the time). I can do all rowing movements without any impairment and without any loss of strength. I feel the loss of strength the most when doing bench press or overhead press. I can press about 5kg less in my left arm when compared with my right arm. This loss of strength isn't always prevalent and there are times when I can press my normal weight with my left arm. Another movement where I can feel a loss of strength is dumbbell lunges. The dumbbell in my left hand gets heavier quicker than in my right hand and I can tell that it's not down to muscle fatigue. It's difficult to describe the sensation because it's not painful as such, it's rather a feeling of weakness. It runs down the outside of my arm and into my forearm.

    I have had an MRI of my cervical spine done and my cervical spine is completely fine. I've been to my orthopedic doctor a number of times and it doesn't come from my shoulder or my rotator cuff. I've been going to my physio once a week and she isn't sure what it could be and where exactly it comes from. She reckons it could be trigger points in my traps causing the symptoms directly or it could be trigger points impinging on the nerve. I will be visiting another physio in a couple of weeks time who will do an EMG to measure muscle activity, which will then in turn show if there's a nerve problem or not.

    Now one of the main culprits (what me and my physio think) is my posture. In my case I have a kyphotic spine, rounded shoulders and forward head posture. All of it is quite subtle and I'm wary of my posture but it's still there.

    This is a pretty common occurrence in the world of bodybuilding, so I'm wondering if anyone has been through something similar and would care to share their experience and their journey with me.

    Much love fam


    As you said rounded shoudlers deffinetly can contribute to nerve entrampemnt at brachial plexus. Although many youtube videos doesnt actually explain how to really fix it. It's more about scapula position. Condition like this is called "thoracic outlet syndrome" it can be very mild but still causing symptoms like weakness, pain in the arm/ neck/ shoulder also miminic other conditions like carpal, cubital tunnel syndromes and so much more. And all of this is caused by depression of the scapula and offten time anterior tiling and downward rotation. Peopl start develop low, rounded shoulders becuase of wrong exercise selection. They do too many bench pressing, pull ups, rows ,etcc... And not enough over head movements, shrugs ... which produce good upward rotation with posterior tilting. Cause rounded shoulders means weakness in upper trapezius and serratus anterior and tightness in lats, chest, rhomboids. I would recommend you to strenghten these 2 keys muscle by performing landmine pressing, over head pressing, modified shrugs 30 degree abduction and stop do too many pull ups and rows. Especially never row where the elbow go behind the shoulder cause it contribute to downward rotation syndrome and later on to scapula dyskinesis. Also to release tightness from chest, start do chest flys

    Also the reason why you start feeling weakness while performing lunges is becuase the shoulder is too low, and if you holding extra weight, it lowers your shoulder even more make you collarbone compress the nerve at brachial plexus. I would stop doing heavy lunghes, heavy deadlift, etc, and if u really want make sure your shoulder is height enough, you should raise it and stay there, dont let it drop down. Do you also feeling coldness in your hands?

    Never let physio to release your upper traps if u got such conditions, it's intresting but upper trap tightness in this scenario comes from weakness. You upper trapezius is actually weak and long causing the shoulder to dropped down.
    Last edited by Szyszak; 05-23-2021 at 04:23 AM.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    It seems you've covered most options.
    Medical people are just taking educated guesses and trying solutions for you.
    Other things you might try are a chiropractor someone that works with athletes not a mom and pop guy,
    This goes with other medical professionals if possible.
    Acupuncture or active release therapy(ART for short) are possibilities.
    It's tough when you can't find a solution for your issue but you have to keep looking.
    Good luck.
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  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by samrozay3 View Post
    Hey all,

    I've been dealing with a pinched nerve on and off for the past 4-5 months or so. My main symptoms are a small but still noticeable loss of strength in my left arm during certain movements and a nagging type of pain in my neck (which isn't there all the time). I can do all rowing movements without any impairment and without any loss of strength. I feel the loss of strength the most when doing bench press or overhead press. I can press about 5kg less in my left arm when compared with my right arm. This loss of strength isn't always prevalent and there are times when I can press my normal weight with my left arm. Another movement where I can feel a loss of strength is dumbbell lunges. The dumbbell in my left hand gets heavier quicker than in my right hand and I can tell that it's not down to muscle fatigue. It's difficult to describe the sensation because it's not painful as such, it's rather a feeling of weakness. It runs down the outside of my arm and into my forearm.

    I have had an MRI of my cervical spine done and my cervical spine is completely fine. I've been to my orthopedic doctor a number of times and it doesn't come from my shoulder or my rotator cuff. I've been going to my physio once a week and she isn't sure what it could be and where exactly it comes from. She reckons it could be trigger points in my traps causing the symptoms directly or it could be trigger points impinging on the nerve. I will be visiting another physio in a couple of weeks time who will do an EMG to measure muscle activity, which will then in turn show if there's a nerve problem or not.

    Now one of the main culprits (what me and my physio think) is my posture. In my case I have a kyphotic spine, rounded shoulders and forward head posture. All of it is quite subtle and I'm wary of my posture but it's still there.

    This is a pretty common occurrence in the world of bodybuilding, so I'm wondering if anyone has been through something similar and would care to share their experience and their journey with me.

    Much love fam
    I had cervical disc herniation twice in the past and every time I lose strength in arms... I couldn't even lift 2 lbs dumbbell. I use to take physiotherapy session everyday for 3 months...be careful
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  5. #5
    Registered User samrozay3's Avatar
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    First of all thanks for your input. After another consultation with my physio, we think it could well be thoracic outlet syndrome. My physio agrees with all of what Szyszak said and I've incoporated shrugs into my daily routine. It's only been a week, but it's made a huge difference. It feels like my traps/scalenes are easing up and letting go of the nerve. The last two days I had an intense pins and needles feeling in my arm, it basically felt like my nerve endings were waking up.

    This is the most progress I've made since it all started, so I'll keep going with this. Shrugs daily and scalene strengthening 3x week.

    If anyone has any other suggestions, drop em below
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