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Thread: Shoulder (Front of) Pain

  1. #1

    Shoulder (Front of) Pain

    This isn't a snow sport injury but I thought, what the hay?

    A few months ago, I was at the gym trying (unsuccessfully) to do unassisted pull-ups. I've never had Tigger-like tendencies, so just the jumping and grabbing the overhead bar was challenging. Once I grabbed it, I felt a distinct pain in the front of my left shoulder that sent shockwaves down the length of my arm.

    Immediately afterward, I couldn't sleep on that (left) side and had all sorts of pain. I eased up on my work-outs and (duh!) the pain subsided but never really vanished.

    I'm now finding that reaching around to put on my seat belt, put on a jacket, anything that requires a bit of twisting motion with my left arm, especially to reach behind my back is quite painful. Sleeping on my left side is bearable but not as comfy as it once was.

    I have NO pain in my upper back, shoulder blade area, the pain is quite neatly localized to the front of my shoulder.

    I talked to the owner of the gym where I hang, and he gave me a couple of very simple exercises (he called them "salutes" and "Ts") which I'll start doing tomorrow.

    I know there's a few folks here who've had shoulder injuries and wondered what you think my pain might be (PLEASE don't say rotator cuff!) and what other suggestions--short of dr., MRI--you might have for me.

  2. #2
    My horse knows his own way home Snow Sport Instructor SMJ's Avatar
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    Well it does sound like a possible rotator cuff injury, but that doesn't mean a tear. I would advise that you DON'T exercise it at all and let the inflammation go down. Take a course of Motrin (or...) for a week or so. When I was a kid it was "take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning." Now it's "take anti-inflammatories regularly and call me in a week." It could be simply an impingement from inflammation. There's narrow channels in the shoulder that the tendons pass through. If they get inflamed they fill the channel, so when you move your arm that makes that opening smaller it pinches on the tendon.

    Rest, ice, NSAIDs.

    Has anyone ever told you about dixie cup icing? Fill a dixie cup 2/3 full with water and freeze it. Then tear off the cup up to where the ice starts to expose a solid ice area. Rub that on the area of your shoulder that hurts for 5 minutes or so. It gets as much icing done in 5 minutes as 15-20 minutes of a bag of crushed ice (or frozen peas) and kind of massages the area too.

    Good luck!
    I need to be a conqueror, a liberator of my potential, kept prisoner all these years.

  3. #3
    Looking for an apartment Stranger's Avatar
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    Have you been using a squeezy ball? The isometric exercise balls you see at the checkout stand of many sporting goods stores work really well. I will often heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds especially if the injury is fresh. Squeeze it, hold, and start moving your shoulder in wider range of motion till there is any pain; then stop. Repeat and vary the motions. An orthopedic guy got me started with this, and has personally worked well, a good DIY rehab tool.
    When nothing goes right; go left.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by SMJ View Post
    Well it does sound like a possible rotator cuff injury, but that doesn't mean a tear. I would advise that you DON'T exercise it at all and let the inflammation go down. Take a course of Motrin (or...) for a week or so. When I was a kid it was "take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning." Now it's "take anti-inflammatories regularly and call me in a week." It could be simply an impingement from inflammation. There's narrow channels in the shoulder that the tendons pass through. If they get inflamed they fill the channel, so when you move your arm that makes that opening smaller it pinches on the tendon.

    Rest, ice, NSAIDs.

    Has anyone ever told you about dixie cup icing? Fill a dixie cup 2/3 full with water and freeze it. Then tear off the cup up to where the ice starts to expose a solid ice area. Rub that on the area of your shoulder that hurts for 5 minutes or so. It gets as much icing done in 5 minutes as 15-20 minutes of a bag of crushed ice (or frozen peas) and kind of massages the area too.

    Good luck!
    Thanks, SMJ! I like the dixie cup idea. I've been using a soft ice pack that I sort of flop over my shoulder so it dangles down on the sore spot so maybe I'll try the other way--sometimes faster is better!

    I forgot to mention I've been taking some extra B complex vitamins too (lots of niacin, I think) but so far that hasn't done much that I can tell anyway.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
    Have you been using a squeezy ball? The isometric exercise balls you see at the checkout stand of many sporting goods stores work really well. I will often heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds especially if the injury is fresh. Squeeze it, hold, and start moving your shoulder in wider range of motion till there is any pain; then stop. Repeat and vary the motions. An orthopedic guy got me started with this, and has personally worked well, a good DIY rehab tool.
    No, Stranger, haven't tried a squeezy ball. You know, even little movements like pulling a bathrobe belt tighter, tying my shoe laces and you know how you sort of yank the laces tight before you make the bow? It's movements like those that cause little pings of pain through the shoulder front.

    Last night it was REALLY tender, very hard to sleep. Getting to the point where I'll try most (almost!) anything to get some relief!

  6. #6
    My horse knows his own way home Snow Sport Instructor SMJ's Avatar
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    I still think resting it and working to get the inflammation down is the best plan.

    If it persists for a while you could get a cortisone shot, not just for the pain, but as a diagnostic tool. It's basically a super anti-inflmmatory. If the pain goes away it means that it's not a tear. In my case it did nothing which showed that it was torn.
    I need to be a conqueror, a liberator of my potential, kept prisoner all these years.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SMJ View Post
    I still think resting it and working to get the inflammation down is the best plan.

    If it persists for a while you could get a cortisone shot, not just for the pain, but as a diagnostic tool. It's basically a super anti-inflmmatory. If the pain goes away it means that it's not a tear. In my case it did nothing which showed that it was torn.
    You're probably right, Steve. I'm right-handed, so I tend to carry everything (briefcase, grocery bags, etc.) with my left hand/arm so I can keep my right hand free for door-opening duties. Resting anything isn't something I'm terribly good at, but perhaps I should try a little harder!

  8. #8
    I have my own seat in the pub Bushido Princess's Avatar
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    You can also rub mustard oil on it. It smells a little weird but it feels good. Mom uses it a lot and I keep a bottle in the first aid drawer. That is an excellent anti inflammatory and you can find it for like $3.00 anywhere where they sell Indian food. Also there a lot of anti inflammatory foods like garlic that are great too.

  9. #9
    Looking for an apartment Stranger's Avatar
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    HIJACK

    BP, do you ever use mustard plasters? An ancient homeopathic remedy for creating warm moist heat. Apparently this was a major treatment pre-antibiotics, used by many major hospitals. Use it for chest congestion, wonderful for anybody with any allergic problems since nothing is ingested. My Mom, the WWII era nurse, had us using this as long as I can remember. I keep a container of this stuff premixed in the cabinet.

    1 part dry mustard, 2 parts flour, mix with water to make a paste. Spread on paper towel and fold over, place directly on chest about 15 minutes (it can burn you if left too long) move to the back. Repeat every few hours as needed. Side effect, you may want to eat a hot dog.
    When nothing goes right; go left.

  10. #10
    *finishing up my hotdog* yum....
    *ahem*
    I won't rule out turning my arm into a mini-condiment bar, but I think I'll try the salutes and Ts along with the ibuprofen. And rest...yes rest....I like rest, I just suck at doing it!

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