Aches and pains
Hey, fellow Geezers. I've been on an "age adjusted" (2x per week) version of the SS program now for about six months and my aches and pains are reaching the point that I'm contemplating a break to address them.
I've got pain in the back of both shoulder joints which is restricting my movements in general, and also keeping me from getting fully under the bar on the press at lockout. It hurts to rotate my hands behind my torso in any direction: above, below or to the side. It also hurts to push out or back with the back of my hand. I suspect the rotor cuff is stressed.
I have pain on the inside of my right elbow where the tendon attaches to the bone. Feels just like tennis elbow (which I had a few years ago) but on the inside of the elbow instead of the out side.
Here is what I am thinking: 1) Stop lifting until the pain mostly goes away. This could take a couple of weeks or more. 2) Start rotator cuff and wrist strength and flexibility exercises. Starting slow and build up. 3) Restart SS with a substantial weight reset, but with bigger jumps each workout until I get back to where I started.
This is a big interruption to the program which I hate taking. On the other hand the pain in my shoulders and elbow isnt going away, and in fact has been slowly growing over several months.
Thoughts on my diagnosis, prescription and prognosis? Thanks for your help!
Slowly worsening pain in the shoulders and elbows sounds like tendonitis from having the bar racked incorrectly or from letting your back get loose during a set.
You can try the prescribed NSAID treatment for tendonitis and see if that helps, although you may need to lift light or take a small break for it to fully stop hurting. (I'd rather not remember wrong and tell you the incorrect dosage so I'll let you search for this on your own)
Other than that I'd work on your rack position. I had mine fixed up for a long time but recently I started having pain in my shoulder and elbow and had to re-work my bar position to get the pain to go away.
Rip has a video on bar position. Watch it. He specifically talks about tendonitis being caused by poor bar and hand hand position. The specific part is on how you are supposed to pin the bar down to your shoulder with your hands and not hold the bar up. When the weights get really heavy, holding the bar up really gets the tendonitis to set in.
I would also consider a good pressure point massage and a foam roller. Hurts like hell but really relieves those pains you just can't make go away.
Corrie has some good advice for over the counter NSAIDs. I like 5 Aleve spread out over the course of a waking day, it's easier than the more numerous Ibuprofen you take as the alternative. My ortho recommended that as the least invasive approach for my right knee a few months ago and within about 4-5 days it got better. My meniscus is all messed up. Also don't forget cold packs on the owwies.
But I seem to recall that you surf too. Could your paddling be contributing to your shoulder issues?
I would say to see if you can find an ART chiropractor in your area who will do a deep tissue (Grind the Fuck!) work on your inflamed and scarred tissues. That has released and relieved a lot of my aches and pains.
I am only 52 and have switched to the twice a week program as well.
If I can't keep it under control with ice-packs and ART, I will hopefully have the brains to stop before I become a habitual pain pill user. How much damage and pain does one need to get the clue they are doing something that may be to much for their body at a certain age? Individual judgement... But I plan on living another 30+ years and don't want to break anything else, or get to the point where pain-killers are mandatory.
Gene61, I also agree with Corrie’s recommendation. I have had and still occasionally have similar trouble with the rotator cuff. I found rotator cuff exercises with very light weight (start with five pounds) for two or thee sets of 25, help strengthen the rotator muscles. Gradually increase the weight but keep the number of reps high. I found the rotator exercises helped with the press and the bench, until I do something stupid. Then I start over.
NSAIDs are good but read the label. If you are an aspirin a day, some NSAID like Aleve may not be a good mix. If I recall correctly the Aleve negates the affect of the aspirin. Read the label and the fine print insert they provide in the package.
Bowdirk’s suggestion about the ART Chiropractic seems useful. Tendonitis requires rest but we can’t rest – or we rust. A good chiropractor may have some good suggestions to help. Good Luck.
The elbow sounds like golfer's elbow -- tendonitis. For this, the doctor had me take NSAIDs for a month-- not for pain but to reduce inflammation. The doctor prescribed a one-a-day med (Mobic, which my MiL takes for arthritis) but said if I was going to do advil, it neded to be prescription level dose -- 600 mg/day, 4x daily.
Think what makes it hurt working out and modify/cut out those exercises. Right now, mine is acting up. So my grip is wider for squats (to where I can't feel a painful stretch in the elbow). Full extension hurts, so I don't fully lock out on bench press or do so slowly and only on work sets. Wrist wraps ease the pull on that tendon, and I use them even at light weights on bench right now (also get a handoff if unracking is the painful part of bench for you, in terms of elbow). I very lightly wrap (no real stretch of the elastic) the wrist on that side for squats and OH presses. The tendon is also involved in flexing wrist and fingers, and different grips may be painful. I needed to do pull downs with a neutral grip usng a y-handle (palms facing, narrow grip) for several months the last time this happened, and even used straps for deadlifts for a few weeks, just to give the forearm a rest. Underhand grip (chinups) was the absolute worst for me.
In terms of helpful exercises, light high rep (15-20) curls with fat grips, rotating from palms facing back at the bottom to palms facing back at the top; started with physical therapists putty, then a squeeze egg thing, then the light dbs -- this was my coach's progression from PT. The only other really useful thing I learned in therapy was an exercise with a hammer. Rest your forearm on a table, holding a hammer. Rotate your forearm like a pendulum (from9 o'clock to 3 o'clock approximately) for 5 minutes. It is a good stretch and gentle use of the muscles and tendon -- you can wrap one of those ankle weights (1 or2 pounds) around the end if you need more weight, or grip closer to the hammer head to take weight off. My coach (who has done some rehab work) also had me use a Therabar, doing the "reverse Tyler twist" -- google it and see what you think -- and that seemed to help also. Stretch the forearm several times a day (arm extended straight out, palm up, then pull fingers down toward the ground with your other hand; or for an easier stretch palm down and pull fingers up).
It was surprisingly hard not to tweak my elbow throughout the day, as by picking up kids' backpacks, heavy grocery bags, etc. One of those bands for tennis elbow (with the extra support on the inside instead of the outside) takes some of the load off the tendon and also is a good reminder to go easy on it. This issue resolved very slowly for me last time, but I was able to keep training throughout and maintain/improve strength. it might have healed more quickly if I had totally given it a rest, but real life made that impossible anyway so I decided to keep training as best I could.
Best of luck to you! I think older folks (I'm 48, not an official geezer yet) need to stay on top of things like this. It may always be a weakness that you need to be stay on top of. No suggestions about rotator cuff but you are getting good advice about that.
Last edited by DeeLee; 06-20-2012 at 05:56 PM.
Thanks, everyone. Great stuff in here. I'll start with the bar support technique. If I'm doing it wrong then nothing else I do will solved the problem.
Mark, (Great memory!) yes, I surf about once a week, except this past week, no swell ;( . The first couple of stokes when I've paddled out have been very painful recently, but after I warm up, the pain eases off, then goes way. I haven't had more or less pain after surfing. I'm really starting to think it could be bar form on the squat.
I'll look into all the other suggestions. I really don't want to take a break in the traning unless I have to. I love the steady progress.
Assuming your form/positioning is correct, and you don't have an actual injury...foam/ball rolling and eating more and/or better helps a lot. Some aches & pains we just can't get away from on the elderly forum, then take advil.
I found the cause of the problems: It WAS surfing. Well not surfing per se, but related. I bought a new board a couple of months ago; thick, long and wide. Great for a geezer surfer. The only thing is that it is too wide to carry under my arm so I carry it "hawaian style" with one rail on my hip and my arm at a 45% angle down to my hand holding the other rail. I keep the board at my friend's house which is 2 1/2 long blocks from the beach. Carrying that new heavy board like that to and from the beach (especially FROM the beach after wearing out my shoulder muscles surfing, most likely caused the tendenitus in my shoulders and elbow.
Well, even though SS didn't cause the problem, I still have the problem and DLs, Cleans, and the press all cause pain after the workout.
I'm going to do the long treatment: rest until the pain stops and then the specific PT exercises to build up strength in the joints. No SS (except squats with the proper arm position!), no surfing (especially no hauling the board to the beach!). I'll restart SS once the treatment is done and buy a little wheelie cart for one end of my surfboard!
I'll report back after the treatment.
Thanks for all the comments.