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Author Topic: ac joint, or for anyone with shoulder pain  (Read 35868 times)
bigjay34
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« on: March 05, 2005, 12:57:10 PM »

I hurt my shoulder about 8 months ago, i took 2 months off from training. During that time my doctor gave me anti-inflammation medication. I resumed training only to have the same pain, my doctor thought it was tendinitis, but he referred me to a chiropractic surgeon who deals only with shoulders. I saw him finally last week and he told me that i had an ac joint problem it is where the clavicle and the scapula bones connect. He told me bodybuilders usually develop this problem, and to prove it he froze  the area and the pain was gone. To fix this problem i would need a surgical procedure [about 40 min] to proform. Has anyone else had any experience with this type of injury??  Check these sites, you might be suffering from this as well.

http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/2001/11_01/johnson.htm
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VaTechMuscle
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2005, 02:41:36 PM »

Hey man,
Unfortunately I have had 2 of these surgeries Angry Both shoulders got messed up pretty bad from football and lifting. I had my last surgery in December right before christmas and I am healing just fine.  The surgery was the only option for me to become pain free so it was a no-brainer.  Typically you are back lifting lightly within 3-4 weeks.  The basically take out the joint (cartilage and bone which cause the pain) leaving behind the ligaments.  I say go for it man, its like a new shoulder when its all healed.  I have no regrets.
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2005, 05:14:30 PM »

I hurt my shoulder about 8 months ago, i took 2 months off from training. During that time my doctor gave me anti-inflammation medication. I resumed training only to have the same pain, my doctor thought it was tendinitis, but he referred me to a chiropractic surgeon who deals only with shoulders. I saw him finally last week and he told me that i had an ac joint problem it is where the clavicle and the scapula bones connect. He told me bodybuilders usually develop this problem, and to prove it he froze  the area and the pain was gone. To fix this problem i would need a surgical procedure [about 40 min] to proform. Has anyone else had any experience with this type of injury??  Check these sites, you might be suffering from this as well.

http://www.physsportsmed.com/issues/2001/11_01/johnson.htm

I have the same problem.  I have too go and get both my shoulders done.  How long was the recovery time for you??
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2005, 09:03:13 PM »

With the first shoulder (left one) it took me 3 weeks and I was back lifting, although very light of course.  My second operation (right one) took me about five weeks to even think about lifting a weight...I was much more sore with this one.  It is still sore at times but i push past the pain a little to where I know im not causing damage because it is gunna be somewhat painful in the beginning.  Im now back to full strength where I can push as much as I used to.

Im also seeing it as a blessing in disguise.  Maybe I was pushing my body past extremes when I was younger and this forced me to bea smarter BBuilder.  I am making gains like crazy now from all the time I had to sit out.  Plus the time away gives you an incredible motivation to get back in the gym.

I would say go for it.  It was certainly the right choice for me.  I hate meds too so i didnt take any post surgery...the first 3-4 days are miserable, you are in pain the entire time.  Totally worth it man.  To me it was like a new shoulder.
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Sambo12
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2005, 07:09:04 AM »

BigJay,

Your situation sounds almost identical to  mine in almost every sense. I too injured my AC joint (partial tear) told to take a couple of months off for it to heal, but then when I tried returning to working out the pain came back and began getting worse. It particularly affects pressing movements and moving my arm across my body. I pretty much have not been able to do any chest workout for 9 months now as benching or pressing really hurts it. Well eventually saw a top shoulder specialist and had MRI's Xrays and the painkilling injection to prove the problem in my AC joint! Well, like you the AC joint had began to degenerate, as the clavicle and acromium rubbed together wearing away the cartiledge and the bones rubbing! The jont began popping and getting really painful and pretty much forced me off lifting upper body! I was told I would need surgery to fix the problem as it would never heal alone. I had the distal end of my clavicle removed and a subacromial decrompression also. I had an open operation and arthroscopy to do the bursectomy and check the rest of the shoulder for problems.... thank God it was all clear and this was all that was wrong. If I had carried on training with it I would have done more damage! I actually had the surgery done just last week, (wed 16th March) so am starting recovery. I pray to God that this surgery will end my problems as this past year has been an absolute nightmare for me and has put me in tears many times dude. So my thoughts go out to you and VaTech and Strongman. It is an absolute bitch of an injury as im sure you can attest.
If you ever need any advice I am more than happy to help man. Do not hesitate to ask.

VaTech,

Your testomy has given me great hope of fully recovering. My doc says I should get full use back and full return to lifting after the recovery but it doesnt stop you from worrying about it!! I feel a bit sore but getting better every day, the clicking is gone whcih is a good sign.
I would love to talk with you VaTech and share advice/ hear your story is thats ok (email samcorble@hotmail.com)
I love to hear that now its like you have a new shoulder. I cannot wait to get back to lifting and get over this nightmare! Are your shoulders now completely better now after surgery man, and can you now bench and shoulder press like before without pain??  I used to row for Great Britain under 21's and was on course for 2008 olympics. I have been forced out now due to injury (this and groin) but hope to take up some serious bodybuilding, and maybe get back into rowing just not at the top level as I now have career too. Working out is my main passion in life and I cannot live without it.
How long was your recovery VaTech? How long till you were back.... doc said about 4 months till im back like new. I cannot wait. Do you have any tips for the recovery proecess and rehab? I would love to hear your story.

I advise anyone who had this unfortunate injury to get it sorted asap and get the surgery done soon!

I too see the injury as somewhat of a blessing in disguise, I now have so much more respect for my body and awareness of how it works and staying injury free, its a tough way to learn tho. I have so much motivation for training built up now that I am ready to burst man.... I am fed up of trainging legs all the bloody time!!!!!!
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2005, 02:05:31 PM »

Hi Sambo12,
was your pain located on the front part of the shoulder when you lifted; I've done an MRI and they told me it was a bursitis, but amn it has been 18 months since I can't lift, so I'm wondering maybe I'm suffering from the same condition.
Hope you'll answer man.
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2005, 04:53:13 PM »

I suffer from the same pain, both shoulders are in pain after bench or shoulder press. It started in my left shoulder about 6 months. I thought it was the muscle rubbing on the bump from my broken colar bone and then my  right shoulder developed the same problem. I have not been able to lift any where as heavy as I use to.
Now at least I have an idea what may be causing my problem, so when I go to the Dr. at least I will know if the Dr. has a clue.
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2005, 01:46:29 AM »

Hey guys.

Tubbs,

My heart goes out man that you have been out of lifting for so long, that is harsh and obviously is a problem that cannot be sorted out by rest. I think you know it needs surgery, just like I did. I realised the problem would never get better if I did not have an operation. My doc is brilliant and a sports shoulder specialist!! Here is the tests he did, and maybe you can ask for theses to find out if it is DCO. MRI scans are inconclusive for this condition and can be missinterpreted so it could well be this!
If when the pain flares up say after use of the shoulder, than you can do what is called a palpatation test by having someone raise you arm all the way abouve your head (like a lateral raise but all the way up to vertical)and at the same time pressing hard on you AC joint and palpatating that spot. (the bump on outside of shoulder on top). If its tender thats a sign.
Mine was poven by having a painkilling injection straight into my AC joint, than my pain was gone, still popping but no pain. Obviously a doc needs to do this test. X-rays are also good, mine showed up a wearing in the AC joint and the sides of the gap are not quite smooth.
Also I felt a popping sensation in my AC joint when I moved it in certain ways and could actually feel it popping past when I put my finger on it and pressed forward.
Also in answer to your question my pain was located on the top of my shoulder right on and below the AC joint. But I did get additional pain radiating down my arm.
Also, it could well be the condition bursitis where your bursal sac loacted between the acromium and humerous had been compressed and torn and become inflamed. When I had my operation I also had a small part of my bursal sac removed and a little of the underside of my acromium shaved to stop any rubbing, so it seems by the doc doing that that this is also an injury requiring surgical intervention. If this is your problem you would get pain during lateral anf front raises where this gap is narrowed!

Hope that helps,

Ruhl,

Again I hope the above info helps man. I would advise going to see a real shoulder specialist, its worth the money to get fixed man!! Even if you just use him to diagnose it! Explain my situation to him if you go and tell of your similarities!

Again try and locate the pain and do the tests your self, get Xrays, and the injection, Also MRI if you can, it will only show a bright light over your AC joint though, but this reveals that abnormal inflamation and swelling is present.

Im always happy to answer any questions about the shoulders and especially this condition as I know how tough it is to handle.

I you do have it, dont mess around, get the surgery ASAP!!!!!!
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2005, 10:44:04 AM »

Thanks for answering so fast Sambo, I'm really confused now...If you can't rely on professionals to read an MRI, then where are we heading to Angry I've been training for the last 4 or 5 months but so so lightly, I can't even consider it training; sometimes I wonder if I'm gonna be able to train the way I used to and just like you, the thought of it put me in tears (a big thank you to Big Ant from this board btw for always telling me good advice of what to do). One thing that's for sure, I have a bursitis, so could I ask for an arthroscopy? I went to the best orthopaedist of the area and he said that my shoulders were sagging forward and that for this reason the acromion and the humerous were consistently touching one another, that I needed to do some physio to change this. What's your opinion Sambo?
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2005, 03:29:57 AM »

I think you need to check with you doc to see if there is anything permanantly damaged in your shoulder. IF MRI scans do not show anything, talk to him about the possibility of having a look inside your shoulder with an arthroscope.

Yeah, sagging shoulders and poor posture can cause shoulder problems. When training remember not to do too much chest work, and train your muscles which have probably been neglected over the years:

Inner and lower traps,
serratus anterior,
Rhomboid major and minor,
Rear deltoid,
External rotator cuff muscles,

This should help restore a balance to your body and bring your shoudlers back in line.
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2005, 10:45:12 AM »

Yeah, thanks Sambo; hope I'll be soon back on track just like you Smiley
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VaTechMuscle
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2005, 01:10:36 PM »

Hey guys,
Yeah as I said I had both shoulders done.  My right one was just done in december and I am lifting somewhat unlimited.  It still hurts but they took a lot of bone out and that takes a long time to heal.  I have no pain in my left (which the doc said was the worst case he had seen in anyone my age in all his years) which was operated on in june of 04.  My right is still sensitive, I limit my presses to 2 at the most on chest day.  I can bench again and all is well.  The only thing i cant do to this day without pain is cable crossovers for chest, so i just avoid them.  If i do more than 2 pressing exercises the bones start to rub and grind which is a sign that my joint is weakening so then i just call it quits...

The surgery was a lifesaver for me.  Bodybuilding and fitness is a huuuuuuuuge part of my life and I am happy to say that I am almost 100% again!   Grin Grin Grin
If any of you have a choice or chance to get this surgery done with a well respected doc i say go for it guys, it was the best decision i ever made.  I dealt with pain for 2 years and its almost fully gone.  Good luck to all of you.  If you have any questions keep posting or PM me. 
PEACE
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2005, 05:15:18 PM »

Hello, I have had the same problem with my shoulder for the same length of time.I am a 29 year old body builder and had the end of my clavical removed two weeks ago to the day. I have made a very fast recovery and can return to work next week. I hope to start training again in about four weeks after an appointment with my doctor.
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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2005, 02:58:19 AM »

Hey Va Tech,

good to hear from you man, Im glad your recovering so well dude, especially after the sounds of that first one.... Is that fully healed now?? Do you still get pain pressing with that shoulder (left) when you work out now? or is it the freshly operated right shoulder which causes you to back off?

Also when you say you limit your presses to 2, do you mean only two sets?

How much did you have taken out when you had both your operations?

Also how long were you in a sling for? and when did you begin PT?

thanks for keeping in touch bro.

Hey Rich,

So your about a week ahead of me man, so useful for us to chart are recovery. What do you do for work man, I am a builder so I have been told to have 6 weeks off work, I really hate being off work it drives me inssane and cannot wait to get back. Its pretty bad timing as this is my year out from university as im doing a masters in sept. If i was doing desk work iwould have been fine to return after a couple of days!

Hows your pain and ROM now? Are you doing PT now? Ive still got a few more days till i start.

later guys!
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« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2005, 12:38:59 PM »

Hey Sambo and others,
My left is pretty much fully healed and pain free.  The only pain i get is from my right which was due to surgery and the amount of bone taken out and the fact that it wasnt too long ago.  In both surgeries the doc took out 1 cm of tissue directly between the joint.  He also did some other smoothing of the bones around the joint so the exact amount i dont know.  I was in a sling for less than a week maybe 4-5 days, though it was still painful, I just wanted out of that thing.  Never had any sort of PT.

By limiting my presses to 2 i mean i do only 2 pressing exercises per workout with chest.  For example, I will do only incline press followed by flat press, however i do 4-5 working sets in each.  I will follow that with 1 or 2 exercises involving flye movements.  If i was to go onto a third pressing exercise in the same workout my bones begin to grind a lot, so i just avoid this by doing 2.  SO it has really forced me to be smart about training, I learned the limits my body can handle and I have seen a lot of success in the gym because of it. 

Im sure i havent seen the last of my shoulder problems.  I was so young to develop this that im sure i'll be paying for it down the road when im much older.  Keep in touch guys.  I go to school for exercise science so if you have any sort of questions im sure i can be of some service to yall.  PEACE
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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2005, 06:42:49 AM »

Hey VaTech,

good to hear thats it not just 2 sets total.......

How about training your shoulders now?? How much can you do here? Can you do dumbbell and barbell presses now? Also are there any exercises that you have eliminated from your workout now after surgery....?

for example do you now do Dips, BN press?

Its good to hear your doing flyes again. Since tearing my AC I have not been able to do these, but hope I ll be able to get back and do afew (although light and not too deep).... I used to do exessive ROM and go really deep for a big stretch as it felt like it was really working the muscle. I attribute this to my problems and when I return am going to keep my ROM in normal ranges and never go too far back/deep and stretch the shoulders beyond what is healthy!

Thanks for any help man!
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« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2005, 10:53:02 AM »

Hey Sambo,

I have not done any BB shoulder or DB shoulder presses just as a precautionary.  I will try to start them here in a few weeks.  I use mainly Iso-hammer presses for my posterior delts and I am pain free.  They help keep my shoulder in line while its not at its strongest yet, but it will be in time and I will go back to the free weight presses for shoulders.

I just did some dips the other day and there was a little twinge in the shoulders but bearable.  I contribute Weighted Dips to most of my shoulder problems.  since high school I would do them with extreme weight.  I would use 3 plates (135lbs) attached to a belt, I think they promoted a lot of wear and tear.  I do them soley with body weight now and probably from now on. 

My flye movements have become restricetd in their movement for now since near the end of my workouts my right shoulder tends to get really tender on chest day.  I dont get nearly the stretch i used to but i think that will come back with time.  I dont go as far as you said you used to, but i did get a good stretch in there.  Now I keep my elbows bent a good deal at the bottom to get a little extra stretch, slmost like a modified benching movement.

I can do BB bench somewhat pain free as long as my form is impeccable and I dont touch my chest.  When I touch my chest both shoulders begin to hate me, so I tend to stick with dumbells for flat bench.  The case may be different with you when you are healed. 

How far post-op are you?  Yours sounds worse than mine since I never actually tore my ac joint completely.  It was multiple slight tears and the ligaments loosening and stretching that put my joint at risk for rubbing and degeneration of the joint causing arthritis in the joint.  Hope you are feeling better.
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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2005, 11:14:10 AM »

Ok, here I have a question for you all: let's say you "only" have a bursitis, just like me, and that whatever therapy you do the pain and inflammation just won't go away, even after 19 months (me)...would a surgery be viable, if so what kind of surgery?
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« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2005, 06:31:37 PM »

Tubbs,
Do you continue to lift with this problem, or have you taken 19 months off and still not healed.  If the latter is true then I would go see another doctor and get a second opinion.  If you continue to lift and it just wont go away it only will really heal with adequate rest.  If could even be worse than bursitis since bursitis should clear up with rest and anit-inflammatories.  It could be an advanced stage of tendinitis called tendinosis.  This is the breakdown of tendon tissue do to overuse and not enough time to heal.  Tendinosis treatment also requires a longer period of rest than bursitis or tendinitis, to allow for tendon regeneration.
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« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2005, 10:02:26 AM »

Ok, here's what happened: in september 2003 I began having trouble training pecs and delts, went to my doctor, gave me anti-inflammatories, and it was all good the next two weeks...then, impossible to do pecs and delts anymore, but I was still able to do heavy arms and back work until late november 2003; at this point, even doing light curls or bb rows was painful, so I took 4 months off from upper body training (doing physio and chiro during this time); in march 2004, a friend of mine who was an ex european pro, told me to train my upper body again but with very very light weights...and I have been at it since then, but things are not going better. I avoid all overhead movements, and stretch a lot...I'm really depressed at this point because I've lost more than 25 pounds in the process, can't imagine what I will look like if I take another 4 or 6 months off from upper body training Cry 
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« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2005, 10:20:17 AM »

I feel your pain man... Undecided  I lost 20 lbs in the stretch of 2 years before my surgeries.  I honestly would go see another doctor, a shoulder specialist if possible.  Demand an MRI and see what is really going on in there because that is not normal and you should not have to deal with the pain for so long.  I strongly recommend a specialist because it sounds like its a chronic thing and its not gunna heal on its own.
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« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2005, 11:26:54 AM »

Thanks for the advice man, I wish you a speedy recovery Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2005, 06:09:36 PM »

Ok, here's what happened: in september 2003 I began having trouble training pecs and delts, went to my doctor, gave me anti-inflammatories, and it was all good the next two weeks...then, impossible to do pecs and delts anymore, but I was still able to do heavy arms and back work until late november 2003; at this point, even doing light curls or bb rows was painful, so I took 4 months off from upper body training (doing physio and chiro during this time); in march 2004, a friend of mine who was an ex european pro, told me to train my upper body again but with very very light weights...and I have been at it since then, but things are not going better. I avoid all overhead movements, and stretch a lot...I'm really depressed at this point because I've lost more than 25 pounds in the process, can't imagine what I will look like if I take another 4 or 6 months off from upper body training Cry 

What were the physio and chiro getting you to do?
Did it make any difference?
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« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2005, 07:00:16 AM »

No, it didn't make any difference unfortunately...I have also tried acupuncture and deep tissue massage; by the way, do you think doing deep tissue massage frequently will help with the inflammation? Like I said, the last physio I've seen told me that my shoulders were sagging and that it was the origin of my problem.
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« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2005, 10:01:09 AM »

Hey Sambo,

I have not done any BB shoulder or DB shoulder presses just as a precautionary.  I will try to start them here in a few weeks.  I use mainly Iso-hammer presses for my posterior delts and I am pain free.  They help keep my shoulder in line while its not at its strongest yet, but it will be in time and I will go back to the free weight presses for shoulders.

I just did some dips the other day and there was a little twinge in the shoulders but bearable.  I contribute Weighted Dips to most of my shoulder problems.  since high school I would do them with extreme weight.  I would use 3 plates (135lbs) attached to a belt, I think they promoted a lot of wear and tear.  I do them soley with body weight now and probably from now on. 

My flye movements have become restricetd in their movement for now since near the end of my workouts my right shoulder tends to get really tender on chest day.  I dont get nearly the stretch i used to but i think that will come back with time.  I dont go as far as you said you used to, but i did get a good stretch in there.  Now I keep my elbows bent a good deal at the bottom to get a little extra stretch, slmost like a modified benching movement.

I can do BB bench somewhat pain free as long as my form is impeccable and I dont touch my chest.  When I touch my chest both shoulders begin to hate me, so I tend to stick with dumbells for flat bench.  The case may be different with you when you are healed. 

How far post-op are you?  Yours sounds worse than mine since I never actually tore my ac joint completely.  It was multiple slight tears and the ligaments loosening and stretching that put my joint at risk for rubbing and degeneration of the joint causing arthritis in the joint.  Hope you are feeling better.

Yo Tech, Correction on when i said i 'tore' my AC ligament. I only partially tore it, so not too bad, it just never properly healed enough to provide stability in my AC joint and hence the pain and inflamation resulting in the distal clavicle resection. So alot like your situation really, partial tear and degeneration.

Question: Are you not training shoulders because of your fresh surgery on your other shoulder?? Is your other shoulder that you had done first now strong enough to press with??
My shoulder pressing was not too badly effected my the injury and it was mainly pressing infront of my body (bench, dips etc) that caused me realy pain. crossing my arm across my body also was bad as it causes compression of the joint.... In fact I was still able to shoulder press with 90lb dumbbells shortly before going in for the surgery. So i think my shoulder pressing function should be fairly quick to return. My main obstacle will (i think) be getting back to chest pressing exercises. I plan on modifiying my presses now. Keeping my ROM smaller and not going too deep anymore. Also I will work mainly with dumbells as the stess on the shoulder joint is alot less. Alowing you to change the angle of your hands to protect shoulders. Like you say, keep the bar (if i do go back to bench sometimes) a couple of inches from touching chest. keeping grip close etc.

I found during my injury that barbell shoulder presses were the only ones that caused bad pain, so shoulders will be hit by dumbbell presses and parrellel grip Hammer Strength machine.

Any ways really appreciate all the advice/etc from you VaTech.......

keep in touch man X Tongue
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