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Old 08-01-2012, 09:59 PM   #1
episodic
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Default My shoulder aches all the time now

My right shoulder always aches. It'd be a 4/10 on a 10 being an out of your mind pain.

As I rotate my arm it snaps, crackles, and pops. I don't even have a 'physical' job. I was lifting weights (still do, just eliminated most things with my shoulder). I do real light shoulder workouts I've found online for rehab - but it doesn't seem to help (after a few months). Been to a doctor, xrayed it - they saw nothing.

He gave me a cortisone shot, but it seems I'm one of those rare people that cortisone actually makes feel worse (I had something called a cortisone flare). That subsided thank goodness, but the preshot pain level is constant. NSAIDS help, but most days I won't take them due to potential for it causing stomach problems.

I've recently started swimming as I read that it was good for shoulders, but it doesn't seem to help either. Not sure if it is making it worse or not.

Sigh.

Thoughts? Tips/Tricks? Anything?
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:13 PM   #2
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You probably have a pinched nerve. Go see a professional massage therapist and see what they can find for you.
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Old 08-02-2012, 08:25 AM   #3
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FWIW - I used to have problems with my right shoulder from throwing too many baseballs too hard over the years without warming up. Sometime last summer I started using the shoulder press machine with low weight - something like 40lbs - which hurt to do, and pretty quickly moved my way up to 80-90 as the pain got better and my shoulder got stronger. Started doing real barbell standing presses, working up in weight as much as I can, and the shoulder feels much better. What shoulder workouts have you tried?
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baked View Post
You probably have a pinched nerve. Go see a professional massage therapist and see what they can find for you.
What? No. First of all, massage therapists are not qualified to treat pathology. They do not learn pathomechanics, treatment interventions, etc. They are there for feel good massages and maintenance of muscular health. They are most certainly not qualified to treat pathology. In addition, you cannot technically pinch a nerve at the shoulder like you would in the back. You can have impingement due to poor shoulder mechanics, but those result in upper extremity numbness, tingling, and potential weakness (arm, forearm, hand). Rarely does it manifest itself as the OP's symptoms of crapping, popping, snapping.
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I am a doctor of physical therapy. Information I provide is based on subjective report alone. This frequently results in speculation and, as a result, may not always be accurate. Thus I am not liable for any action taken based on information provided.

Now offering physical therapy consultation services via Skype, e-mail, and phone. Please PM me for details.
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by episodic View Post
My right shoulder always aches. It'd be a 4/10 on a 10 being an out of your mind pain.

As I rotate my arm it snaps, crackles, and pops. I don't even have a 'physical' job. I was lifting weights (still do, just eliminated most things with my shoulder). I do real light shoulder workouts I've found online for rehab - but it doesn't seem to help (after a few months). Been to a doctor, xrayed it - they saw nothing.

He gave me a cortisone shot, but it seems I'm one of those rare people that cortisone actually makes feel worse (I had something called a cortisone flare). That subsided thank goodness, but the preshot pain level is constant. NSAIDS help, but most days I won't take them due to potential for it causing stomach problems.

I've recently started swimming as I read that it was good for shoulders, but it doesn't seem to help either. Not sure if it is making it worse or not.

Sigh.

Thoughts? Tips/Tricks? Anything?
Did your doctor not suggest physical therapy? The snapping/popping could be due to muscular tightness resulting in bowstringing of the tendons over bony prominences. It could also be due to a space occupying lesion/labral tear. Lastly, it could also be due to poor joint mobility, resulting in cavitations (popping) during the motions you're limited or hypermobile in. You're a good candidate for PT. What's best for your shoulder depends directly on your range of motion limitations, muscular strength, etc. Swimming can be terrible for some shoulders and great for others. You should ask you doctor for a referral to a physical therapist. The PT will be able to assess your mobility, strength, recruitment patterns, posture, endurance, etc to find out what's going on. That should have been his first prescription, as cortisone has poor support for long-term relief, while PT has quite a good research base.
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I am a doctor of physical therapy. Information I provide is based on subjective report alone. This frequently results in speculation and, as a result, may not always be accurate. Thus I am not liable for any action taken based on information provided.

Now offering physical therapy consultation services via Skype, e-mail, and phone. Please PM me for details.

Last edited by SociallyChallenged; 08-02-2012 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baked View Post
You probably have a pinched nerve. Go see a professional massage therapist and see what they can find for you.
snap/crackle/pop <> nerve.

OP you will need an evaluation. Could be a tear.
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:31 PM   #7
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I am not a doctor but I had a similar issue without the popping sound. I jsut had constant shoulder pain.
I did some research on body building forums and many people said that is due to a muscle imbalance. Specifically having your chest stronger than your back. I normally did a 1:1 back chest exercise but many sites suggest 2:1 and that has improved my shoulder pain a lot.
Hope this helps you but in all honesty if you have the money it could be worth it to see a doctor about a tear. The only problems with shoulder injuries is that doctors cant do much for you.
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Old 08-04-2012, 04:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drbrock View Post
I am not a doctor but I had a similar issue without the popping sound. I jsut had constant shoulder pain.
I did some research on body building forums and many people said that is due to a muscle imbalance. Specifically having your chest stronger than your back. I normally did a 1:1 back chest exercise but many sites suggest 2:1 and that has improved my shoulder pain a lot.
Hope this helps you but in all honesty if you have the money it could be worth it to see a doctor about a tear. The only problems with shoulder injuries is that doctors cant do much for you.
This is true only sometimes. Summarizing and generalizing a condition based on what you read on the internet almost always spells trouble. Just like you shouldn't try to self diagnose yourself if you have a medical problem, you shouldn't do the same with musculoskeletal injuries. You see a doctor for a medical problem, you should see a physical therapist for a musculoskeletal shoulder injury.
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Now offering physical therapy consultation services via Skype, e-mail, and phone. Please PM me for details.
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SociallyChallenged View Post
This is true only sometimes. Summarizing and generalizing a condition based on what you read on the internet almost always spells trouble. Just like you shouldn't try to self diagnose yourself if you have a medical problem, you shouldn't do the same with musculoskeletal injuries. You see a doctor for a medical problem, you should see a physical therapist for a musculoskeletal shoulder injury.
Most PTs here require you to see a doctor first, even if they hold a doctorate themselves. Their job is treatment, not diagnosis.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:15 PM   #10
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SC gives out a lot of good advice here but I continue to disagree with him about the role of PT's. An orthopedist should be the one to make the initial diagnosis for a variety of reasons.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:32 PM   #11
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Most PTs here require you to see a doctor first, even if they hold a doctorate themselves. Their job is treatment, not diagnosis.
It's not the PT that requires you to see a doctor first, nor the law in most states. It's insurance companies. Also, doctors refer to PTs for a given issue. They do not give us a diagnosis that we are forced to work with. They essentially approve the patient for physical therapy and we then establish a physical therapy diagnosis. You cannot treat without a very specific diagnosis based on extensive clinical tests. Many times, if you have a regular doctor you see, you can call in and get a physical therapy prescription, no questions asked. That's how much doctors think about having people come in for a prescription.
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Now offering physical therapy consultation services via Skype, e-mail, and phone. Please PM me for details.
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:03 PM   #12
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Update: after the last 4 days of swimming 1/4 a mile a day, my shoulder feels 'better'. I'm optimistic. I started biking to loose weight, I started running to get even more fit, now I guess I need to swim to even everything else out?

Anyway....
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:24 AM   #13
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Here's my story:

I was a runner, my foot got injured and I started swimming instead. Quickly got serious and was swimming 1 mile 7 days/week, then not much later, 2 miles/day. After a year of this, I added 1.5 hours/day in the weight room before jumping in the pool. Did all this for 10 years, and suddenly had chronic shoulder pain that wouldn't go away. I had to stop swimming, did what I could in the weight room. I live with the condition for a few years like this, then went to a shoulder specialist (surgeon), and tried PT, cortisone, X-rays, MRI, things didn't get better, and they didn't know what was wrong with me. The doctor told me I could try arthroscopic surgery, and they would go in there and clean things up, or I could just live with the condition, it was up to me. I wasn't sure I could ever do pullups again, much less swim. I elected for surgery. They told me it would be 3 days before I'd get out of the sling and I'd be OK after a month, at least from after affects from the procedure. When I woke up from the anesthesia they told me they'd found a labrum tear (type 4 SLAP lesion) and repaired it (they gave me a video) and it would be a month before I'd get out of the sling! Recovery took months of PT and rehab but I slowly got over it. I'm much better off. The doctor told me it was something I needed repaired. During my video the doctor commented that my rotator cuff was perfect, that wasn't the problem. This was around 10 years ago. The shoulder's now around 90-95%. It stings sometimes, usually not particularly. My left arm issue nowadays is evidently some tendinitis at or above the wrist! I don't swim now, my current gym doesn't have a pool. Even if it did, I'd be wary of the pool because I used to swim so aggressively, if I tried to do that now I figure I'd probably injure myself. Yes, you can injure yourself swimming. I always assumed that it was the swimming that caused my labrum tear, but I will never know how much it was due to the swimming versus the weight room work. Maybe a combination of the two.

Thing is, the shoulder is by far the most complex joint in the body. It's not possible to always know what's going on in there unless they go in with a scope. That was the situation in my case.
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Last edited by Muse; 08-07-2012 at 10:39 AM.
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