We’ve all heard the saying, “no pain, no gain.” It’s a mantra celebrated by some of the world’s greatest athletes. However, sometimes the pain or twinge you feel in your shoulder may not be run-of-the-mill, but rather a signal of something that could be of concern. So, whether you’re just starting out or seasoned athlete – it’s worth closely examining to see if your gym routine is hurting your shoulder.
The most mobile joint in the body, your shoulder is comprised of two main components – the acromioclavicular joint (which resides between the highest part of the scapula and the clavicle), and the glenohumeral joint (the ball-shaped portion of the humerous) that moves around in it. But with great range of motion comes great responsibility. When we overexert the tendons and tissues in this part of the body, even simple, everyday movements can become painful. Here are some of the more common shoulder injuries you can experience from your gym routine:
- Rotator cuff tendonitis is perhaps the most common cause of shoulder pain and occurs when inflammation of a group of muscles in the shoulder is experienced in tandem with an inflammation of the lubrication mechanism called the bursa. Because it’s associated with repetitive movements, your reps and heavy lifting at the gym could trigger this sensation. Furthermore, poor technique and repeated stress can lead to serious injuries such as a tear. Staying abreast of the symptoms of rotator cuff pain will help you seek help if necessary. If you hear popping or clicking sounds when you raise your arm, or if your shoulder begins to hurt while at rest – this may be an indicator that something has gone awry.
- “Weightlifter’s shoulder” is another phenomenon that can occur among avid gym rats. Caused by a loss of the shoulders internal rotation and weakness in the lower trapezius muscle, this inflammatory condition targets the acromioclavicular (AC) joint – the upper part of the shoulder blade which connects to the collarbone. Exercises where the elbows are positioned behind the shoulders (chest fly, bench presses, etc.) are often the culprit.
- Frozen shoulder. If you shoulder has ever just “frozen up,” you are experiencing adhesive capsulitis and can expect pain and stiffness in the capsule of the shoulder joint. Frozen shoulder is a bit of a medical mystery that makes it difficult to define or diagnose accurately but doctors are believe it is caused by scar tissue forming in the shoulder This could result from years of slowly tearing down your muscle without getting proper treatment..
It’s also very important to take breaks between reps, as well as rest days between workouts. It’s also recommended you balance your exercise routine. This means that for every exercise that focuses on the rotator cuff, one should be done to target the deltoids. Don’t neglect a nearby part of the body, as all of these joints and muscles work best when in tandem.
The only true way to diagnose your shoulder pain is by visiting an orthopaedic specialist. Through a series of diagnostics including physical examination, questioning, MRIs, and X-rays, they’ll be able to better access what’s ailing you. Luckily, many of the aforementioned conditions can be cured with rest, icing, and OTC pain relievers.
While a little time to rest is beneficial, targeted and specifically designed exercise routines can be beneficial to the recuperation process. The sports medicine specialists at North County Orthopaedic Group are devoted to helping patients with exercise-related injuries, those looking to improve their fitness capabilities, and professional athletes looking to prevent future injuries. For more information, call their office at 315-782-1650.