Injured shoulder.  How long to heal?  How long before I should see a doctor? Injured shoulder. How long to heal? How long before I should see a doctor?

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Thread: Injured shoulder. How long to heal? How long before I should see a doctor?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    55

    Question Injured shoulder. How long to heal? How long before I should see a doctor?

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    A little over a month ago I injured my left shoulder while benching. I won't get into the details other than to say that I failed to follow a few very clear directions in "Starting Strength".

    I can (and have been) pressing for about 2 weeks now with no pain. And I can also to pull-ups with only minor pain. But, even benching the bar still causes problems. Generally, my shoulder feels much better than it did the week after the injury. And I do believe the shoulder is moving in the right direction. But, I am also concerned because the Bench still hurts just as much as it did right after the injury.

    So, I have two questions:
    1. How long can a shoulder take to heal?
    2. How long should I wait before I see a doctor?

    The only reason I would want to see a doctor is if I have permanently injured something and require surgery to repair it. Otherwise, I would prefer to just let the shoulder heal on its own.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Canberra, Aus
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    163

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    See a doctor. Get a diagnosis. No one here can diagnose you. If you have torn a rcuff tendon or labrum, it won't heal own it's own.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Memphis, TN
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    451

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    "I won't get into the details "

    Then no one can really give you any good advice. So far, all of the injuries that I have sustained have been curable with rolling out trigger points with a lacrosse ball or the use of ice to the afflicted area. The lacrosse ball is really the miracle cure; the doctor put me on anti-inflammatories and assigned many weeks of physical therapy, which was useless. Not to say that seeing a doctor is a bad idea....it can certainly rule out various types of structural damage, but absent that sort of obvious injury, he may not have a clue how to fix you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    The details of the injury are as follows:

    1. I was benching without a spotter.
    2. When I realized I couldn't finish my last rep, I tried to throw the back back onto the lowest pins
    3. When I realized I couldn't get the bar back on the lowest pins, I tried to throw the bar forward so that I didn't crush my skull.

    I think the injury occurred on step 3.

    My log tells me I injured in my shoulder on 4/26/14. So, I guess that was only 3 weeks ago.

    As I said, the shoulder is improving -- especially in day to day activities and in pressing. So that gives me confidence that it will eventually recover. But, I was discouraged yesterday when I tried to bench the bar and still felt the same pain. So, that is why I posted.

    I guess my main question is about the time-frame for recovery after a shoulder injury. Obviously, this will depend on the specific injury. But, anecdotal experience gives me some data points to compare to.

    Even if I did tear something that won't heal, that does not mean the symptoms won't go away. And, given that I can press, squat and do pullups, I have no interest in getting surgery, which would seem to be the only thing a doctor could recommend (other than PT, which I believe would be useless).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Memphis, TN
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    I eased off benching for many weeks waiting for a shoulder to heal, but it didn't. When I started massaging potential trigger points with a lacrosse ball (and other tools), the pain eased enough to resume benching almost immediately. The pain went away completely after a month or so.

    Without evidence of a serious injury, it seem harmless to work under the assumption you might have a trigger point somewhere around the shoulder, rotator cuff, upper arm, and massage those areas with a lacrosse ball, theracane, or the pointy end of some machine at the gym. This has worked wonders for me. Any place that you press and it hurts is a potential trigger point location. It isn't necessarily located where you feel the pain when benching. The key points for me are upper outside arm, and the back of the shoulder near the arm pit.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Esres View Post
    I eased off benching for many weeks waiting for a shoulder to heal, but it didn't. When I started massaging potential trigger points with a lacrosse ball (and other tools), the pain eased enough to resume benching almost immediately. The pain went away completely after a month or so.

    Without evidence of a serious injury, it seem harmless to work under the assumption you might have a trigger point somewhere around the shoulder, rotator cuff, upper arm, and massage those areas with a lacrosse ball, theracane, or the pointy end of some machine at the gym. This has worked wonders for me. Any place that you press and it hurts is a potential trigger point location. It isn't necessarily located where you feel the pain when benching. The key points for me are upper outside arm, and the back of the shoulder near the arm pit.
    Thanks for the information Greg. Do you have a reference where I can read more about trigger points in and around the shoulder? I used to own a copy of
    http://www.amazon.com/Trigger-Point-...rpoint+therapy
    But, I gave it away to a friend who was having issues with his hip. I don't mind purchasing another copy if you found it to be a good reference. But, if there is something else you recommend, please let me know.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    451

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    That's the one I use and many others here seem to have it. There are a few websites that also show diagrams of trigger points and referred pain locations.

    If you use the lacrosse ball, you can often ballpark it and just roll it around until it hurts. If you use a non-ball solution, it's harder to find the trigger point if you don't have an idea where it is.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    2

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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Esres View Post
    "I won't get into the details "

    Then no one can really give you any good advice. So far, all of the injuries that I have sustained have been curable with rolling out trigger points with a lacrosse ball or the use of ice to the afflicted area. The lacrosse ball is really the miracle cure; the doctor put me on anti-inflammatories and assigned many weeks of physical therapy, such as using a cold therapy machine for shoulder. Not to say that seeing a doctor is a bad idea....it can certainly rule out various types of structural damage, but absent that sort of obvious injury, he may not have a clue how to fix you.
    I also think you should see a doctor to avoid getting worse. For physical therapy, my personal experience is that cryotherapy is very helpful for recovery after shoulder injury. Many years ago, after my rotator cuff surgery, my doctor recommended this physical therapy to me and it really helped relieve my shoulder pain.

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