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  1. #1
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    Default Reoccurring shoulder blade/back pain

    Hi all

    Just after some advice on my reoccurring shoulder blade/back pain.

    After years of commuting, doing a desk (IT) job and using the gym, I often have a stiff neck/shoulders/back. I do all I can to sit properly at work and use the keyboard/mouse/screen in the correct way, and reduce the commute when I can, and take care at the gym to make sure my movements are controlled and I don't overdo it.

    6 months ago I felt it was getting particularly bad (having recently increased my commute) and I started seeing a massage therapist regularly. She found the source of the problem immediately, massive knotted lumps in my right shoulder blade (I'm right handed). The day after it would always ache but I'd feel looser, and a day or two later be much better, but then it would start to ache again. I went for about 6 weeks in a row and it hurt less at each massage but the same pattern always emerged, with me desperate for a massage 5-6 days later.

    I spoke with her about the gym and whether I was doing anything to aggravate it and she said as long as I warm up and cool down and do everything in the controlled and correct manner I should be fine. The only thing I wasn't sure I was doing correctly was a type of press up where you have both hands together with fore finger and thumb spread and touching to make a triangle shape; I can't remember where I got this exercise from but had been doing for years - and I finally notice this put a lot of pressure on the shoulder blades, so I stopped doing it.

    I started going for a massage every 2 weeks instead and skipping this exercise and things seemed to improve.

    So much so that I didn't go for a massage for about 2 months. Meantime though I'd started increasing the weights/intensity at the gym and felt a bit stiff one week (in general, not specifically the shoulder blade area) and thought I'd treat myself to a visit.

    She did an overall back, neck, shoulder and at the end, head massage, which was absolutely blissful. I felt a bit of tension in the usual shoulder blade area and she did comment it felt tight there, but it wasn't as bad as normal.

    The next day I was fine, went to the gym but focused on cardio.

    The day after I was fine and didn't get to the gym but did a fair bit around the house, nothing strenuous though.

    The day after I woke up in agony.

    Shoulder blade area was absolutely killing me. Unfortunately the therapist wasn't available. My girlfriend has a certain knowledge about massage and used one of those deep heat type roller balls that evening which helped a bit and the next day it was a bit more bearable.

    The next two days it wasn't so bad but if I'd move in a certain way or drive right handed for too longer it became painful. At the gym I avoided all weights and stuck to cardio, but did do a few simple press ups to stretch the muscles as well as some general back strength improving ones. But in the evening of the second day it was killing me again.

    My girlfriend had another look and found a massive knot in my shoulder blade. She tried some trigger point therapy and applied gentle pressure that almost had me screaming, and gradually increased the pressure as I got used to the pain/the muscle relaxed a bit. I was able to have a decent nights sleep but this morning it's probably the worse it's been. Driving was tricky and I had to drive left handed nearly all the way, thankful of having an automatic gearbox currently (right hand drive UK driver).

    So what I want to know really is, what's bought this back on again so bad when it had seemingly got much better?

    Has the massage triggered it/set if off again (seems unlikely, and she wasn't aggressive in that area either/wasn't painful)?

    Has my recent slight increase in weight/intensity at the gym caused it (it was 3 days later it hurt, I didn't do anything I've not done before and it's been a very gradual increase)?

    Did I just 'sleep funny' and upset it (I do have a bad habit of lying face down with my neck twisted, been trying for years to sleep differently but can't break the habit, else I don't sleep!)?

    Gym wise the things I've increased weight/intensity with more are bench press, flies, lateral pull down, chin up/pull ups (hands different ways round, different grips, so arms, back, shoulders) but again, these have been gradual increases with plenty of warming up and stretching etc but perhaps I've just reached a limit whereby I'm always going to get aches if I go beyond?

    Thanks for listening, interested to hear peoples thoughts.

    Ross

  2. #2
    Trusted Advisor Doug's Avatar
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    Default

    Have you had someone watch you performing your exercises as to your exercise technique?

    Maybe a good idea may be to see a physiotherapist for an examination
    Doug

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    Default

    Hi Doug

    I haven't had for a long time to be honest. Over the years I've checked a few things but perhaps I should check again. Having said that, there's always plenty of fitness instructors/gym staff knocking around the gym that will have seen me and in theory they should have pointed something out if I was doing something obviously wrong.

    I think the physio is a good idea; I was thinking about it later yesterday and recalled a really good one I saw a couple of years back about a random knee issue. He'd been great and when I went back again a couple of weeks later I bought along my girlfriend who had a quick question about her back. Of the 45 min session he only needed 10 mins anyway to check I was ok and spent almost another hour checking my girlfriends back and found a number of issues and gave us loads of great advice (and only charged us for the 45 min session). Think I need to go back and see him!

 

 

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