Don't quit working out. Maybe lighten up on the weights. When you start lifting again you will suffer the most impressive DOMS ever. Don't ask me how I know. I found out I had a big problem with too much grain in my diet especially wheat. The wheat was causing all kinds of low grade inflammation problems like arthritis, heartburn and gas. I even had an inhaler for asthma. After I changed my diet all those symptoms went away along with the prescription drugs for cholesterol and a bunch of other problems that were diet induced. As I got older(now61) I am healthier now than when I was 50. Take a look at your diet. Food is the most powerful drug you can put into your body. As you age your food requirements will change. A paleo type diet for me was a godsend to better health.
Hey, MartyD. Thanks for the thoughts. We have a lot in common. I'm also 61, I'm 90%+ on the Paleo diet and I surf and sail in Santa Cruz. Lucky you, you live there.
Here is a mid-course update.
The first thing I did was rest and ibuprofen (600 mg 3 times a day). After 1 week, no relief of symptoms.
Then one more week of rest w/o ibuprofen. No relief.
Then two weeks of physical therapy with elastic bands. All the shoulder and rotator cuff exercises. Still no relief except immediately after the exercises. Warming up the muscles clearly did some good, but after about 2 hours I was back to the usual pain.
Some people on this forum have suggested Trigger Point Therapy, so being desperate, I did some reading on it, bought the book and started looking for activated Trigger Points. WOW. Almost every trigger point in every muscle implicated in back of shoulder pain was activated. The surfing and lugging that big new surfboard a couple of blocks every week had really done a number on my shoulder, neck and back muscles!! (In contrast, when I went looking for activated trigger points in my legs to see if my knee pain might be muscle related, I couldn't find any that were activated.)
I bought a Thera Cane and started doing the suggested massage on all the active trigger points 3-5 times per day. After 10 days of this, I am seeing noticeable improvement (finally!), but still have a ways to go.
I'm thinking of starting up the physical therapy exercises again. Now that the trigger points seem to be loosing up and healing, maybe the PT will be more effective.
Do any of you out there have experience with Trigger Point Therapy and how I should proceed from here?
I started back on SS yesterday. Two points:
Trigger Point therapy worked wonders for me. After a month of it my shoulder pain is almost gone.
Second, it became clear on my first day back on SS, that my squat bar rack position was all wrong and clearly had contributed to my shoulder pain. Corrie had suggested this right at the start, so when I was ready to get back in the gym I double checked the SS book and then checked my form. Sure enough my elbows were too low and my wrists were bent back. I had been carrying some of the weight on my arms, stressing my shoulders. When I tried to get my elbows and wrists in the right position, I couldn't do it! I just don't have the range of motion to get into the proper position. (It sucks being old!) In my partially recovered condition, trying to get my elbows back to the right position with my wrists straight really hurt. I found that I can just do it if I have a very wide grip.
I'm anxious to get back on the SS plan, so I'm going to do stretches, continue the Trigger Point therapy, and just use a wide grip on my squats. As my range of motion improves I'll bring my grip in.
Any other thoughts or suggestions?
Thanks for the help and support so far.
Today I finished my 3rd workout after my layoff. Wow it feels good to be back at it and making progress again, albeit with a big reset. I can't say enough about Trigger Point therapy. The shoulder pain continues to abate. Also the stretching is helping as today I could get the bar, wrists and elbows in the right position on the squat with much less pain.
When I first started SS I adjusted the schedule "for my age" to twice per week as I had had overtraining problems before. However, with my big reset, I'm feeling strong and so I'm going to go with the standard 3 workouts per week until and unless I start to get some over traing indications. Maybe at that point I switch to TM instead. That seems to be the advice I have seen on this forum. Anyone have any additional thoughts on that?
I mean, a short term solution may be to high bar squat. In fact, it may be a long term solution. Sometimes, you have to compromise.
Originally Posted by Gene61
I have the flexibility to get into a low bar position and have low bar squatted for much of the last two years. However, my wrist injury in February resulted in some rotator cuff inflammation and aggravated my chronic elbow tendinitis. When I evaluated my GOAL - qualifying for the American Open - that made my training priorities clear - keep my shoulder happy for snatches, cleans and jerks. Low bar squats piss off my shoulder, high bar squats do not. Therefore, I switched to high bar squats, and unless my shoulder situation resolves itself permanently, I won't go back to low bar. It doesn't make sense given my goal.
Thanks TBone. Rip just "approved" the high bar squat for a guy having shoulder pain, at least until his pain was resolved. I'll give it a try until the Trigger Point Therepy and stretches make proper form on the low bar possible.
I have made stretching my shoulders/elbows/wrists into the perfect squat position across my back with a broom stick a daily exercise. Very slowly my grip is getting narrower. My shoulder pain continues to decline even as my lifts slowly increase. "Perfect form is the key to avoiding injury." Alas, the voice of too much experience!
Last edited by Gene61; 09-21-2012 at 02:59 PM.
Gene61. It is a lesson we all keep relearning. See Bill Brownley's "Motto for the Elderly".
Gene61, it's good to hear that your problems seem to be resolving. Perhaps my experience doesn't apply, but I'll throw in my 2cents anyway.
I had arthroscopic surgery at the end of last month to repair a full thickness tear of my left supraspinatus. At the beginning of this year, I noticed that the external rotation of my left shoulder was so poor that I couldn't get into a proper low bar back squat (my right side was fine). I would experience pain in my left inner elbow with just the weight of the bar (i.e., "golfer's elbow").
So I started physiotherapy to resolve the poor external rotation of my left shoulder (plus the related golfer's elbow). After a few weeks of unsatisfactory progress, I had an MRI in early June which indicated an ~80% tear of the supraspinatus (at the time) plus a bone spur of the acromion (classic shoulder impingement). By the time of the operation, the supraspinatus had torn completely.
Now I won't say that your problem is necessarily the same. But I did some reading on the frequency of RC injuries and found a study that claims that 54% of asymptomatic shoulders in people over the age of 60 (I'm 57) have either a partial (26%) or full (28%) rotator cuff tear. (Sher et al JBJS-A, 1995)
So if the external rotation of one shoulder seems to stay stubbornly poorer than the other no matter how much stretching you subject it to, you may want to talk to your doctor about the possibility of a RC tear.
Last edited by grichens; 09-17-2012 at 03:08 PM.