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Absolutely excruciating shoulder pain-

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by avik, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. avik

    avik Well known member

    Can barely type this post.

    I really want to believe this is yet another form of TMS.
    I "hurt" my shoulder about a month back in the gym (sharp pain on top of right shoulder joint), so ive been erring on side of caution and have stayed off of it.

    Today in the gym I picked up a weight and bam...now I cannot lift my arm over my head. This is the easily the most shoulder pain I have ever had...and after two weeks of relaxing and staying off of it?
    I have been "thinking" about this problem for weeks. Yes, it has had my attention.

    I really dont want to go down the Dr, MRI, PT road....again. But-I fear this is a "real" injury!

    The pain appears to be where my trap muscle meets the top of my shoulder. Truly excruciating pain.

    Appreciate any help/advice here.

    Am staying calm and trying to just accept the pain...
  2. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    Stay calm! If you had a "real" (severe) shoulder injury in the gym it would have swollen up and been very painful constantly...TMS can affect any muscle, nerve or tendon in the body. Remember picking up the weight and feeling pain could have been conditioning given your last experience. Also that anxiety you've felt about this "injury" has probably made things worse. Use your TMS knowledge to get through this one too.
    Ellen and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  3. RichieRich

    RichieRich Well known member


    Can you provide more information? Are you a heavy, medium or light lifter? What precipitated the injury a month ago--was it more shoulder exercises? Is the pain on the tip of the shoulder itself or where the trap ties into the shoulder blade, or does it radiate?

    If you can barely type, it sounds like more than just the shoulder was involved.
  4. avik

    avik Well known member

    Richie (and MindBody)-thanks for your replies.

    I am a medium to heavy lifter, focused predominantly on hypertrophy (with occasional power-lifting thrown in).
    The pain started about a month back; it hurts right on that little ball/bone on top of my shoulder.

    I have stayed off pressing exercises for the past 3 weeks just in case in needed some rest all the while thinking its likely TMS as I have had every TMS equivalent you could possibly think of and...why would this suddenly not be TMS?

    Yesterday I was picking up a fairly light weight (55lbs) with my right arm, in a hammer curl type motion and then went to pick up over my head to get into a tricep extension and the pain was like a knife in the top of my shoulder.
    Upon further checking, the pain seems to be coming from my trap (where TMS for me LIVES and has been my biggest problem area).
    More specifically, deep in the trap muscle as it enters the top of the shoulder.

    Full disclosure, I was already having a little bit of trap and neck pain yesterday, but im not sure if that was the result of my shoulder "injury" or...is it the other way around. Also, I was stressed out the literal moment it happened and I seem to keep getting these little gym injuries which try and keep form doing what I love, lifting.

    That said, what are the odds that I have had all these TMS pains hopping around the right side of my neck and back and then the shoulder pain is suddenly not part of that whole package deal?

    On the other hand, I have been flaring my elbows while lifting so...Im really confused with this one.
    I have been staying extremely calm, talking to myself, staying positive and journaling (as I have quite a bit of experience with this stuff) and I am going about my day as normal and its already getting a little better.

    Is this pain on the bone of the shoulder a known TMS ailment/equivalent?
  5. avik

    avik Well known member

    Forget to "reply" to you. Please see above.
  6. MindBodyPT

    MindBodyPT Beloved Grand Eagle

    There are many tendons/muscles that attach to various parts of the shoulder. So yes, TMS could most definitely be there as well. TMS moves around, remember? Most of us on this forum have had it in various places all over our body. It's possible you had a minor strain while lifting and TMS then piggybacked onto it to make the pain persist. That's my best guess in the absence of major injury.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  7. RichieRich

    RichieRich Well known member


    Not to kick you while you're down, but I never understood the benefit of overhead tricep extensions when kickbacks and dips are just as effective without overloading the shoulder in an awkward position. I've always maintained that if I could attain hypertrophy in a more natural position, no sense risking injury. TMS aside, I would recommend icing and resting. Give it a few days to calm down. If there is no swelling, you may have aggravated an old injury. I've thrown my shoulder out a few times, it acts up ever now and again when I lift.

    The pain you describe sounds more like an impingement. Stay away from the overhead lifting unless you're working on the shoulder specifically. Wait about two weeks and start in with bands for shoulder building. I wouldn't rush to pick a 55lb weight up with one hand anytime soon.

    I used to lift my bike above my head every day when I was using it to go to and from work(Netherlands); I would have to lift it to go up and down the stairs. I developed hypertonicity in my right shoulder, which ultimately led to a pinched nerve. My right arm was on fire when it happened. Once the initial few weeks of pain went away, I spent well over a year trying to figure out why I was still in pain in my neck, shoulder and arm.

    If it's not radiating, you'll be okay. Even if it is radiating, like mine did, you'll be okay.
    Sienna and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  8. avik

    avik Well known member

    Thanks Rich.
    I agree on the overhead extension. The funny thing is, I was waiting for another machine and figured, why not do this while im waiting. 55lbs with two arms is actually quite light for me and I didnt even get the weight close to over my head before my trap completely gave out.

    As for impingements: I stopped doing overhead movements and pressing altogether, 3 weeks ago. I thought I was getting much better!
    Again...I feel like its so close to all of my other TMS issues that it would be amazing that this one thing was a real injury while everything else was psychosomatic in nature.
    Im reticent to ice it, "build the shoulder" and "baby" it even further out of fear of playing into the whole TMS thing. Thats whats gotten me into trouble in the past because thats the rabbit-hole of endless physical therapy and too much attention.

    Does Sarno or anyone else in the TMS community declare impingements as TMS?
  9. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Avik, did you feel a dislocation?
    Yes, impinge ment can be TMS, it most defiantly was in my shoulders.
    And pain in the trapezius muscles is one of the main spots Dr. Sarno always checked for tms.

    Now remember when I told you I went heavy as I could after i knew it was tms in my shoulders. Well, I still rehabbed my shoulders first.
    I always used to go back to my fiftys for my shoulders.
    But not this time, I worked all my smallest muscles first ( which I never worked out at anytime in my life ) with like 3lbs doing rotations and on rear delts I did 16lbs very very easy and controlled.
    I waited about 10 days before I even started the rehab. You can still work legs, abs, neck, endurance like sprints and so forth.
    But after 10 days of rehab I moved up on the rear delt sets and reps. I kept all my smallest muscles in very light high rep ranges, after this then I started to proceed with 1 arm tricep pressess. I also stretched my shoulders.
    I started with the 16s, which felt like nothing. But it didn't hurt.
    Now I'm back to my 50s with single arm triceps presses. Took me about 3 weeks.
    But I didn't think "was that pain coming back"?
    I knew tms had fooled me and hurt me, but I also had to strengthen those smaller muscle groups. The ones we never think about.

    Note,,, this is for weight lifting. If anyone has shoulder pain and all you did was roll over in bed, I'd advice you need no rehab. Just don't fear or focus on the pain and go about your day. It's tms, the pain will leave when you don't fear it or focus on it.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
    MindBodyPT likes this.
  10. avik

    avik Well known member

    Herbie-I dont think it dislocated but it was a tremendously painful and uncomfortable couple of minutes-unlike anything I have felt before.
    I hear you on slowly working my way back up.
    I DO NOT work on any of the multiple muscles of the rotator cuff even though I know I should.
    Also, I dont focus nearly enough on my rear delts which results in a definite imbalance. I will focus on them more.

    FYI have an appoitnment to see Rashbaum here in NY on Monday so hoping he can drive some of this home.

    Can I ask why you asked about a dislocation?
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  11. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dislocation, you'd have to have the shoulder popped back in place.
    Other than that, it's tms. Still as I said above, the rehab worked for my imbalances.
    Let us know what Rashbaum says. I'm out, have a great weekend, you can ya know.
    Bless you
  12. avik

    avik Well known member

    Thanks Herbie.
    Nothings stopping me.
    I went out for dinner with friends tonight, IM saying F YOU to the fear and the pain is motivating me to be even more active, generally motivated and self-compassionate.
    I WILL have a great weekend brother...thanks in part to your informative responses.
    Have a nice weekend.
  13. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    People often say, "this time it must be real because it's soooo painful!" But as Dr. Sarno said many times TMS can produce more pain than anything he had seen in clinical medicine. When TMS hit my shoulder I couldn't put a shirt on, or open a door, or raise my arm. But it was TMS, triggered by lifting weights. I have seen people with shoulder TMS in so much pain they swoon on the edge of passing out, and they often cry.

    A real shoulder injury can be painful if it is dislocated, but Dr. Sarno told me a normal shoulder tear isn't as painful as TMS in the shoulder, that they are more often low grade nagging sensations. A separation though is another beast that can knock you out.

    The only thing I can say for sure about dislocation is that it's more painful than dat-location.
  14. avik

    avik Well known member

    Seeing Dr. Rashbaum tomorrow at NYU as I need him to knock some sense into me.
    Im not concerned at all about "tears" as ive had tears in both shoulders in the past and ultimately lifted right through them...and they vanished.

    This thing is new for me however, as there is this unsettling clicking sound and its just a "new" type of pain.

    That said, im about 95% sure its TMS, although that 5% remainder is messing with my head, as it has done countless times in the past.
    This too shall pass.
  15. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    Hi Avik,

    it would be great if you could give us an update after your meeting with Dr. Rashbaum :).

    Wish you the best,
  16. avik

    avik Well known member

    So, I had a great meeting with Dr. Rashbaum.
    He checked my shoulder, ran me through a complete checkup and LOW AND BEHOLD...its TMS.

    Not only did he tell me it was TMS, he said to go right back to the gym and lifts weights as usual.
    He doesnt know that it causing the popping sound but he was as definitive in his diagnosis as ive ever heard him (and he and I have meet maybe 4-5 times over the past 7 or so years).

    He told me not to do any "impingement" or rotator cuff stretches and not to focus on those muscles in the gym either (as I told him I think I might have a muscle imbalance between front and back)...unless....I was doing said exercises once all pain had subsided and only for the purpose of making myself stronger and not to combat any sort of shoulder pain.

    He's a great guy and very straightforward when it comes to TMS, which is what I needed.

    Id be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous about all this but...I am going to push through...like I have many times before and just accept the situation and carry on with all thing, as per usual.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  17. SebastianM

    SebastianM Peer Supporter

    avik how re u doin?
    Did you have success concerning your shoulder pain? :)
    I also have shoulder pain at the moment but try not to care about it. Sharing your experience would be very nice.

  18. RichieRich

    RichieRich Well known member

    I meant to post this back in march.


    That's very good news. Definitely start back small, and don't overwork the shoulder muscles. Honestly, all you really need are bands for the various small muscles that make up the shoulder. I have to agree with the doc, don't do impingement stretches. I swear I tried 20 different stretches and exercises over the course of a few months, and not a single one proved helpful; some more idiotic than others.
  19. Alfredoflrs

    Alfredoflrs Newcomer

    Hi, how are you now?
  20. eightball776

    eightball776 Well known member

    When I tore my labrum throwing a softball, I knew it the second I did it, and it needed to be surgically repaired. When there's a clear, acute trauma, my feeling is that TMS really only plays a role after healing, when the brain tricks you into thinking it's now a "bad shoulder". Ironically I got here because I'm now dealing with bilateral shoulder pain for 6 months, and while I was in terrible physical shape & just started exercising/stretching vigorously ... there was no moment like that (just woke up with it a day after I played pickle ball), so it's suspect (I've been whining about it in another thread). Good luck, and yeah, I'd stay out of the MRI rabbit hole at least for a while & really baby it & give the rehab some time...A shoulder specialist is likely to find a tear & want to sew it up.

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