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View Full Version : Recovery time for rotator cuff injury?


rboit
Fri, January 23rd, 2004, 11:26 AM
Hi All,

I am a 49-year-old male who began serious weight training about four months ago. One month into my program I injured (probably strained) my rotator cuff. Through careful trial and error I have come up with a set of upper body exercises that do not seem to irritate the cuff significantly. In fact, at times the shoulder feels a little better after the workout. I am a bit concerned, however, that it still bothers me at times when I move it the wrong way or sometimes when I roll over on it at night. Even though it is definitely better I am wondering how long I should expect for it to heal. I'm wondering if maybe I should completely stop my upper body training program until it is fully healed but I hate to do that, particularly since it doesn't seem like the lifting program makes it any more sore. It's just the fact that it seems to be taking a long time to heal that bothers me.

I suspect others out there have had similar problems and I would be interested in your input, particularly with respect to the time frame it generally takes this type of injury to heal.

Thanks,
Robert

John Stone
Fri, January 23rd, 2004, 12:31 PM
I suffered the exact same injury back in late October and I'm just now getting back to 100%. I discontinued all upper body workouts, and it still took 3 months to heal. Don't mess around with this injury: you need to let it heal completely before you start stressing it with heavy weights again. Otherwise it will probably never heal, and most likely will only become much more serious. It KILLED me to have to take 3 months off from my upper body workouts, but I know I made the right choice.

Here are some good articles on rotator cuff strengthening/rehabilitation exercises, and some good general information about shoulder injuries. These articles helped me a lot:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/dorian1.htm
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/likness22.htm
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/luis4.htm

I went to the doctor and was prescribed some anti-inflammatory medicine (NOT pain killers) and they also helped a lot. The injury seemed to heal much more quickly once I started taking the anti-inflams. I think the the pills helped keep the internal swelling down so that the injury was less aggravated by normal day-to-day activities. My advice: go to a doctor and don't lift until it's better. :gl:

CattleProd
Fri, January 23rd, 2004, 01:36 PM
Definitely follow John's advice... lay off of the shoulders for a good while. Also look into the exercises in the links he gave you. Many of those are good for building up the rotator cuff. Be sure to keep the weight down, but do a lot of reps/sets: work up to 4 sets of 20 reps before you increase the weight. I'm mostly recovered from shoulder surgery I had about 5 months ago (bankart repair). Physical therapy was a very long arduous process, bringing myself from having almost no strength in my shoulder back up to the ability to use it normally. Take good care of your injury, and you won't regret it!

Andrew

Adam_S
Fri, January 23rd, 2004, 01:56 PM
Agreed that you should lay off the injured area. You need to give your body time to repair itself, AND the tools it needs to repair itself. If you're taking glutamine or another similar product such as glucosamine/chrondotin, be sure to keep it up, look for products that use glucosamine sulphate rather than glucosamine hydrochloride because the sulphate structure is more readily used by your body. Collagen in a supplement would also be good. but the glucos just provide the proper protein matrix for your body to repair itself, you'll also need to take calcium, magnesium, manganese, and boron in a good multivitamin/mineral. Beware of metallic minerals however, they carry a positive charge, the same as the lining of your stomach and small intestine, so they're much less likely to be absorbed. If you can eat whole foods rich in calcium, that's great, or look for either a chelated mineral supplement or a liquid, plant-derived mineral supplement. You might have to order that last one from the internet, as there are only a few companies selling plant-derived minerals--however the process by which plants absorb minerals from soil changes their charge to negative (adding a few electrons) and makes them highly absorbable. Most likely you're not going to get proper nutrition from what you eat, so you should definitely be supplementing. But by all means definitely follow your doctor's advice before listening to any of us chatter about stuff we've heard/discovered, but are hardly experts on

A great habit I have after workouts is to make myself a cup of ginger tea. One because I like it and it's a good way to cool down, and two because ginger has a naturally occuring anti-inflammatory, and three, ginger helps to keep your metabolism high.


Adam

rboit
Sun, January 25th, 2004, 08:32 PM
Thanks guys. I appreciate the advice.

Dasa
Thu, December 16th, 2004, 01:49 PM
I suffered the exact same injury back in late October and I'm just now getting back to 100%. I discontinued all upper body workouts, and it still took 3 months to heal. Don't mess around with this injury: you need to let it heal completely before you start stressing it with heavy weights again. Otherwise it will probably never heal, and most likely will only become much more serious. It KILLED me to have to take 3 months off from my upper body workouts, but I know I made the right choice.

Here are some good articles on rotator cuff strengthening/rehabilitation exercises, and some good general information about shoulder injuries. These articles helped me a lot:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/dorian1.htm
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/likness22.htm
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/luis4.htm

I went to the doctor and was prescribed some anti-inflammatory medicine (NOT pain killers) and they also helped a lot. The injury seemed to heal much more quickly once I started taking the anti-inflams. I think the the pills helped keep the internal swelling down so that the injury was less aggravated by normal day-to-day activities. My advice: go to a doctor and don't lift until it's better. :gl:

Hi,
I would suggest for you to give some time with working out your upper body.
Back in June 2004 I had bad ijnjuy and serious inflamation of Rotator cuff. I went to see Dr. and I was sent for EMG and several MRI’s. Dr. said that I “overworked” that. I started to work out 5 years ago (3-4 times a week, 1-2 times of that if was for upper body). I could say that all those years I had a prettry intense weight training plus high protein diet. My results were great and I never expect that I could get some injury if you “follow rules”.
In a case you get pain and inflamation I would suggest to take Naproxen ( I was taking 500 mg once a day and that helped me a lot!). I had to stop work-out for 5 monthes, I just did cardio + lowel body. For about 4 weeks I’m back with my upper-body workout. I started with almost no weight but I don’t feel any pain and that’s what I was scared of- that it might be chronic. My Dr. said that once you injure your shoulder it will be coming back .

jak
Thu, December 16th, 2004, 02:44 PM
I am still not 100% in my r.cuff recovery. One thing that helped was to stop doing barbell bench presses, use DB instead. I am mostly doing DB inclines now.

Bluestreak
Thu, December 16th, 2004, 03:18 PM
Rboit:

Stop all upper body workouts NOW. I am where you are heading if you don't lay off now. I'm where John was 6 or 8 months ago. Stop your workouts now and see a doctor. Get some anti-inflam's, talk to the doc, etc.

Next week I have to go in for a dye-injected MRI to try to better assess what the problem is in my shoulder. I've been on pain meds to keep the pain down (it got to where I couldn't roll over in bed) and I'm on anti-inflammatories. Hopefully I get the problem sorted out after the MRI.

The worst part with complex joint injuries is the "not knowing" factor. There's no telling when I'll be healed enough to train upper body again. Don't put yourself here... stop now and get help before it bothers you more.

-R

Ta2d
Thu, December 16th, 2004, 04:28 PM
Same injury here. Sports Medicine Doctor did MRI and diagnosed me with Tendonosis (Chronic Overuse Syndrome) back in June. I did 6 weeks of physical therapy along with some anti-inflammatories and then released me to go back to light lifting and work up gradually. I'm now getting alot of my strength back but still can only shoulder press about half of the weight that I used to before the injury. Generally I have no pain anymore. On occasions that I'm lifting and I do tweak my shoulder, I stop immediatly and move onto something that does not aggrivate my shoulder. Take it easy with this injury. At one point after I first injured it I couldn't even lift a half gallon of milk in and out of the fridge...............Ta2d

JoeSchmo
Thu, December 16th, 2004, 05:12 PM
Wow, shoulder injuries seem to be quite common among weight lifters. I'm just curious if anybody cares to post, do you know what caused your shoulder injury? And, what would you have done differently to prevent it?

I injured my shoulders on the flat-bench -- took a few weeks off to let them heal, and started doing some rotator cuff exercises. My right shoulder is completely pain free. I have residual pain in my left shoulder, but it doesn't really prevent me from doing anything. I experience no pain when lifting, but experience mild pain afterward.

P.S. I'm not sure if I am violating the board ethic here (I'm still new around here) -- So, if I should post this question on a new thread (so as not to detract from the original poster's question), let me know.

Bustmybutt
Thu, December 16th, 2004, 05:17 PM
I tore mine two years ago, and it still bothers me from time to time. I just continue to train through it.

JMR
Thu, December 16th, 2004, 05:41 PM
I could go on all day about shoulder injuries but usually it's this overwhelming fascination with the bench press to the point of ignoring the antagonist muscles which throws the shoulder geometry out of whack and sets you up for biceps tendonitus, inflamed bursa, rounded shoulders, lower back pain, and torn rotators....

Bluestreak
Thu, December 16th, 2004, 05:48 PM
I'm just curious if anybody cares to post, do you know what caused your shoulder injury? And, what would you have done differently to prevent it?

No one incident is to blame for mine. I simply ignored a dull ache that wasn't really painful when exercising shoulders - until it became an issue. I have no unnatural fixation with any one exercise that has caused the problem. Quite simply, at some point, I either lifted too heavy or with a mistake in form that aggrevated the shoulder. Compound that with stubborness and the fact that I never gave it time to quiet down, and here we are... on our way to an MRI and who knows what else beyond that.

-R

JMR
Thu, December 16th, 2004, 06:11 PM
I think I remember your pics and your problems probably stem from postural problems throwing your shoulder geometry out of whack. Incredibly common since we all bang on computers all day. Then you throw tight pecs and lats on top of it and you have your injury. Believe it or not...

born sleepy
Sat, December 18th, 2004, 12:20 AM
I thought I had mostly recovered from whatever it was I did to my right shoulder on that crappy hotel gym-contraption last month, but tonight's dbell military presses proved that I have not. I could not finish my last two sets because of sharp pain in the joint. it's also been grinding and popping a lot more lately.

I know, I need to see a doc, only my employer is switching us to a new (and more expensive, and more sucky) health plan Jan 1 and I don't want to deal with the b.s. of changing specialists in mid-treatment. so I guess I'll just lay off the shoulders for awhile. doing other upper-body stuff doesn't bother it, though, so I'm not completely off upper-body, unless y'all think continuing that is a really bad idea.

dang, just when I noticed I've added .5" to my upper arms since I restarted my workouts last month... probably not much for some of you, but I think the 8x8s are doing something.

Bluestreak
Sat, December 18th, 2004, 12:18 PM
I know, I need to see a doc, only my employer is switching us to a new (and more expensive, and more sucky) health plan Jan 1 and I don't want to deal with the b.s. of changing specialists in mid-treatment. so I guess I'll just lay off the shoulders for awhile. doing other upper-body stuff doesn't bother it, though, so I'm not completely off upper-body, unless y'all think continuing that is a really bad idea.

Yes, get to a doctor. Stop any movements that are heavily shoulder stablilized, i.e., chest and shoulder workouts. I still did my arms for a while until they aggrevated my shoulder too. Believe me, it may not seem so serious now, but if it turns into a serious rotator cuff problem, you'll be stuck (like I am) with basically no ability to weight train for an as yet undetermined amount of time. It stinks, believe me. So take care of the problem now while it's mild, before it stops you dead.

dang, just when I noticed I've added .5" to my upper arms since I restarted my workouts last month... probably not much for some of you, but I think the 8x8s are doing something.

8x8's are great! I also added 1/2" to my arms in about 6 weeks using them. After that, every third or fourth workout, I pick ONE body part and do 8x8's on it to change up the workout.

Keep up the good work... but take care of that shoulder!

born sleepy
Sat, December 18th, 2004, 02:52 PM
thanks for the tips, Bluestreak. I'm definitely going to the doc post 1/1.

I'm trying to think of some upper-body routines that aren't shoulder-stabilized and the list is pretty short: curls, tri pushdown... ? ugh. oh well, it's not like my lower body is being overtrained :)


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