Shoulder pain after Exercise

Patient

Q: A couple months ago at the gym, I started having a little pain in my left shoulder while doing dumbell chest presses. I went on to a pec deck machine and it got worse. I have full range of motion and in normal everyday activity, I only feel it when washing the middle of my back if I raise it too high behind my back. Normal use does not bother it. I feel it after shoveling snow and I'm feeling it today from using a roller to paint a ceiling. I would love to hear what you think, because being out of the gym is killing me. The pain is only located in my soulder. Thank You

Doctor

A:   There are several causes of arm-shoulder pain; one of the most common is the Rotator Cuff tendinitis and this seems to correspond with the description that you made of your pain. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that support the shoulder. These tendons can be injured during weight lifting, when playing sports with a lot of throwing, after repetitive use over a long time or suffer degenerative changes with the aging process.
Typically, presents with an activity related dull ache in the upper outer arm and shoulder. Activity is commonly more difficult and painful above the shoulder level (more than 90 degrees). There is little or no discomfort with below-shoulder-level activities (less than 90 degrees) such as golf, bowling, gardening, writing, or typing. But, tennis, baseball/softball, basketball, swimming, and painting are more problematic and painful.
Conservative treatment of the Rotator Cuff tendonitis involves: physical therapy to control pain and keep range of motion of the shoulder, avoidance of painful movements and activities; anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e.: “Advil”, “Aleve”). If the patient shows poor or no improvement, then, local corticosteroid injection may be considered.

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