Here's a question from a reader…
What do you recommend for joint pain especially rotator cuff and elbows due to overhead movements and bench presses? This is annoying especially since I am an active guy. Thank you.
First off, drop heavy overhead pressing for good. It's absolutely worthless other than ego lifting.
The overhead press is the most dangerous thing for rotator cuff and A/C joint because over time the cartilage in the joint wears down and it becomes bone on bone.
The overhead press pinches the joint the most, and heavier weight pinches it and wears it away much faster.
As for elbows, I'm guessing the pain is right behind the elbow where the tricep tendon might be? That seems to be the most common place for it anyways.
If the pain in the shoulder is more in the joint or the front of the deltoid then my best guess is it's A/C joint impingement. When this becomes bad enough a shoulder scope is going to be needed. This is outpatient surgery where they go into your shoulder and clean out the joint by grinding away at it a little and giving it more room to move around more freely.
If the pain is more towards the rear of the shoulder then you may be dealing with a labral tear. An X-ray would show an A/C impingement because you'll see where the ends of the bones look frayed and ratty looking. A labrum issue will require an MRI, and this usually requires a regular X-ray first and then the Doc calls for the MRI (basically a nice way to get more $$ from you).
A couple questions I would ask from you are:
#1 – Does it bother you in your sleep? and
#2 – is it only bad when under weight, or is it bad all the time?
I had A/C impingements in both shoulders and it sort of felt like an arrow was stuck in my shoulder, and the pain radiated from the front straight through my shoulder. sleeping on it was terrible, and every morning I awoke it felt stiff and sore.
You need to back off heavy weight for starters. For chest ditch bench pressing with barbells for awhile, and stick to machines or some light-moderate dumbbells. Forget a low rep range for now, keep your chest pressing in the teens and 20's for reps, and cut out overhead pressing altogether and just do lateral raises and rear delt raises. Cut out front delt raises as well.
For triceps definitely quit doing skullcrushers. I would stick to primarily tricep pressdowns with the rope for higher reps. Think of your sets more like pump-up sets than heavy weight that grinds and tears the joints up.
Don't worry, you will not shrink down or anything. And it's probably not for good, we just want to back off so you can heal and do not need any surgery if at all possible.
Definitely start taking glucosamine for your joints, and something else to consider is GHRP-2 peptide, for it's tissue regenerative and joint healing properties, along with a low dose of Deca Durabolin every week. 100-200mg/wk should work. I'd go 10 weeks like that and see if the pain doesn't go away.
Train hard! -JD
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