Rotator Cuff tendonitis: may more exercise cause permanent damage?

Patient

Q: Last August I started a body building program using my home gym. Having no experience I thought more exercise would be more beneficial. Over time I began to get pain within my shoulder. I researched bodybuilding and created a program that contained a reasonable amount of rest however I think the damage was done. I continued to train through the pain for around a month until I experienced a massive burning sensation, I visited my Dr and learned I had suprasprinintus tendonitis. It is now 2 and a half months since my visit and I am still suffering with pain. I regularly ice my shoulder and have purchased a book called 'How to Treat Your Own Rotator Cuff'. I have been doing the exercises in the book for the 2 half months since my visit and have gradually increased weight training exercises recommended for the shoulder. The weight is now around 6kg. My question is are these exercises potentially making the problem worse or in the long run are they beneficial? What other things can I do to help the shoulder heal?

Doctor

A:     According to your description you may have symptoms of Overuse. Sometimes the healing process takes longer than expected and this depends on each patient in particular. It is very important before to do any exercise or straining physical activity to have an initial warm-up and stretching of the muscles, also when you start an exercise routine the demands have to be progressive and gradual, and the time and days that you dedicate to exercise must be consistent and regular to avoid injuries. There is a very well described entity in the medical literature called: Overuse Syndrome, which can affect any part of the body that is over stressed with movements or activities in a repetitive way, including occupational, recreational, and habitual activities. Repetition is part of the definition of overuse injury. The concept is that overuse injury is associated with repeated challenge without sufficient recovery time, and this is true for Body Building, Running, Jogging or any other sport or activity in which you exceed the guidelines and your own limits or capacities.

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