Shoulder pain but only after exercise


(Greenwood, IN)

Through the interscalene triangle pass the nerves and artery to the arm.

Through the interscalene triangle pass the nerves and artery to the arm.

Shoulder pain but only after exercise means a thorough examination is needed.

It doesn't hurt all of the time. Sometimes I don't feel the pain until the day after doing something strenuous. I can do deep tissue massage on my husband using all me strength and it doesn't bother me until I wake up. Sometimes it hurts immediately after lifting my child over my head. The pain is in the shoulder, moves to underarm and rhomboid, only on the right side.

This started after my husband put a large ladder on my shoulder to see if I could carry it 9 months ago. I can move my arm any way I can possibly which doesn't seem to bother it. The most painful part is on the outside directly applying pressure on the ball.

I would go to a Chiropractor or Dr if I had insurance. I am currently a Medical Massage Therapy student that just started yesterday. Hoping once I can learn on my own to fix the problem but if you can help by giving me an idea since I have ruled out dislocation and rotate cuff due to no mobility problems, just heavy lifting problems, i would really appreciate it.

Hello Misty,
So, he found out you can't carry a heavy ladder; too late alas.

Rhomboid area pain is always a bit of a diagnostic nightmare; it can be a referral from C5; do you have any neck pain?

Or a muscle strain, or from the spine, or rib below the rhomboid.

By underarm, do you mean lower arm? Then I'd definitely be thinking about from your neck or in the interscalene triangle; first rib subuxation or scalene spasm. Arms above head would aggravate as you've found.

But if you mean in the axilla, then it could be the subscapularis; does pulling your bent arm inwards against resistance give you shoulder pain? Press against your left hand with right hand, with elbow bent at your side, up against the rib cage.

If you meant the inner side of the upper arm, that's the T1 dermatome.

In short, there are lots of possibilities. Couldn't one of the tutors at your course help?

I would start some simple, gentle shoulder exercises every day, building up slowly. There are some at our shoulder pages.

I hope this all helps.

Dr B



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Jan 06, 2017
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To answer your questions
by: Anonymous

I have always had neck pain. All the pain started in the shoulder when the injury occurred. It later spread to the rhomboid and through the armpit. In the beginning I could punch a heavy bag forward and upper cut but it was painful to hook. Resistance no longer gives me trouble. Just anything heavy in the process of using my shoulder. Earlier today it hurt, I did some stretching it popped and now it feels better. Last night I did deep tissue massage on my husband. I believe it is a strain healing since it is improving. I was hoping it wasn't going to be long term and it interfere with my becoming a massage therapist. Once again thank you for your help.

Hello again Misty,
Then more than likely the shoulder problem has it's source somewhere in your neck; because that would affect the motor nerve to the arm, everything becomes vulnerable to strain and sprain.

Then do some neck and shoulder exercises every day. Gentle, not like you're going to give an upper cut! In fact, that could be the source of your neck pain; boxing is hard on the cervical spine; multiple little whiplashes.

Dr B

Jan 06, 2017
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Thank you for your help on shoulder pain.
by: Anonymous

It does stem from the neck as well. Thank you for your help. I will ask a tutor at my school how to tell and learn how to fix this on myself and others.

Sincerely,
Misty

An x-ray of your neck would be instructive. Do you perhaps have a short leg? Ask hubby to stand behind you with hands on the iliac crests; are they more or less level? Any scoliosis as you bend forward?

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