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Seems I might have something going on with my shoulder and arm that might be rotator cuff injury. It began last week and doesn't seem to be getting any better. It does get somewhat uncomfortable when riding. Without going to a doctor is there any way I can tell if it is really a rotator cuff injury or something else? Any type of exercises or techniques to minimise discomfort and promote healing? The pain comes and goes and I have lost full range of my arm when reach to scratch my lower back. Thanks.
 

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From my experience, when the rotator cuff is injured it hurts to "chicken wing" your elbow out or to reach high. How did you injure it....what happened?

My worst one was when I crashed on my shoulder while skiing....it took about a month to really start feeling better, then about 6 months before I could lob a baseball without pain. I didn't go to a doctor cuz I heard the surgery is 50:50 anyway for success. I'm symptom free now, although I cannot scratch my back above mid-back anymore. After that first month, though, I think I could've ridden a bike....

I wouldn't do any specific exercise to try to "promote healing"...I'd just let it rest by itself, maybe take NSAIDs for pain....Tylenol, Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen). If it really hurts, take TWO Aleve, it makes a BIG difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
From my experience, when the rotator cuff is injured it hurts to "chicken wing" your elbow out or to reach high. How did you injure it....what happened?

My worst one was when I crashed on my shoulder while skiing....it took about a month to really start feeling better, then about 6 months before I could lob a baseball without pain. I didn't go to a doctor cuz I heard the surgery is 50:50 anyway for success. I'm symptom free now, although I cannot scratch my back above mid-back anymore. After that first month, though, I think I could've ridden a bike....

I wouldn't do any specific exercise to try to "promote healing"...I'd just let it rest by itself, maybe take NSAIDs for pain....Tylenol, Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen). If it really hurts, take TWO Aleve, it makes a BIG difference.
Thanks. chicken winging my elbow and reaching high doesn't hurt but I can feel mild discomfort. It seems to hurt randomly and more when I'm in bed. The weird part is I really don't know how I injured it. I can't recall any traumatic events or movement I made to trigger it. I will take your advice and rest it the best I can. Thanks again.
 

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I injured my rotator cuff in a mountain bike crash and it took several years to heal. I could ride with the injury, but it hurt.

Go to see a doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor. I saw all three. Everyone quickly diagnosed the issue and told me exactly what was wrong - there there are four muscles in the "rotator cuff" so there are multiple potential effects on you. However, each "doctor" had a different solution to the problem.

For me the PT excercises didn't help. The doctor wanted to do surgery - I didn't. The chiropractor used electric shock to break up scar tissue and after a few months I was back to normal.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I injured my rotator cuff in a mountain bike crash and it took several years to heal. I could ride with the injury, but it hurt.

Go to see a doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor. I saw all three. Everyone quickly diagnosed the issue and told me exactly what was wrong - there there are four muscles in the "rotator cuff" so there are multiple potential effects on you. However, each "doctor" had a different solution to the problem.

For me the PT excercises didn't help. The doctor wanted to do surgery - I didn't. The chiropractor used electric shock to break up scar tissue and after a few months I was back to normal.
Thanks. I'm ultimately going to see a doctor if I don't feel any improvement in a week or two but I'm a bit reluctant as I really don't want the surgery if at all avoidable. My wife responded really well to PT. Just hoping for the easy way out.
 

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Not directly in response to what you asked but: When I started out I had some nagging shoulder pain too. Logically I would have thought a more upright position would help but strange enough it wasn't until I went to a really aggressive postion that the shoulder pain went away totally. I'm not sure if it was directly related to being more aggressive though because about the time I went more aggressive is about the time I had developed pretty good core strength.

Anyway, my point is going forward, aside from whatever off-the-bike attention your shoulder may require, look at addressing fit and core strength to minimize the chances it'll happen again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Not directly in response to what you asked but: When I started out I had some nagging shoulder pain too. Logically I would have thought a more upright position would help but strange enough it wasn't until I went to a really aggressive postion that the shoulder pain went away totally. I'm not sure if it was directly related to being more aggressive though because about the time I went more aggressive is about the time I had developed pretty good core strength.

Anyway, my point is going forward, aside from whatever off-the-bike attention your shoulder may require, look at addressing fit and core strength to minimize the chances it'll happen again.
This is something I never considered but I will be exploring. Short of injuring my shoulder in my sleep I can't place any events that would cause this.
 

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Hi,

I had a rotator cuff injury several years ago. I saw an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in shoulder injuries. He ruled out bone spurs and diagnosed me with a partial tear and frozen shoulders. I was prescribed physical therapy 3 times a week for 6 weeks. He said that in the past, surgeons would operate on someone like me. However, research has shown that PT works just as well if not better for cases like mine.

You need to rule out bone spurs (calcium deposits) that can rub and tear tendons.

Also, the rotator cuff is comprised of 4 different muscles. I wasn't told which rotator cuff muscle was torn. Based on my limited range of motion, I suspect it was my supraspinatus.

See a doctor for an official diagnoses. You might not even have a tear or bone spur. You might only need to strengthen your weak rotator cuff muscles and stretch you lattismus dorsi and pectoralis muscles. A Physical Therapist can help you better than a chiropractor.

You can also have pain caused by repetitive motion and poor posture; not caused from a specific incident. If you are experiencing pain while sleeping side lying, watch how your shoulder resting on the mattress is positioned. If it's too far forward, the three of the four rotator cuff muscles are being pulled forward... not good if they are weak.

Best wishes.
 

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Sleep injury

This is something I never considered but I will be exploring. Short of injuring my shoulder in my sleep I can't place any events that would cause this.
Actually, from your comments I was going to suggest that your most likely cause is sleeping on it funny. A rotator cuff injury usually requires an impact and usually a significant impact.

The standard "office diagnosis" technique is to have somebody watch you while you lift both arms (outstretched to the sides). If you have a RC injury, one arm will automatically come up slower than the other.

As everyone has stated, they take months if not years to recover. A good PT exercise for both treatment and prevention is to lie on your side, arm outstretched in "front" of you and lift a light (5-10 lb.) weight from the floor to straight up and back.

But it sure doesn't sound like you have an RC problem.
 

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Likely you're developing an impingement problem. The cycling position tends to compress the front of the shoulder which can cause the impingement. Not a big deal if caught early and you get to a good physical therapist. You need to strengthen the muscles in the back of the shoulder and ones that hold the scapula down and open the shoulder. Or just look up exercises for strengthening the rotator cuff and/or dealing with impingement on YouTube. Be diligent with your exercises and you should be fine.
 

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Here's another possibility (the one I experienced of course), I was suffering a lot from pain in both shoulders that didn't go away for several months. I finally went to an acupuncturist who needled both shoulders and did accupressure on one of my shoulder blades around the spine. That immediately relieved the pain, then the doctor suggested that I use wrist braces for carpal tunnel, seems that the pain can telegraph back up from your wrists. I've been pain free for the last several months and I'm a happy camper. Just another possiblity, good luck.
 

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I had a partial cuff Tear by MRI, and the pain gradually improved with stretches and Motrin.
 

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Likely you're developing an impingement problem. The cycling position tends to compress the front of the shoulder which can cause the impingement. Not a big deal if caught early and you get to a good physical therapist. You need to strengthen the muscles in the back of the shoulder and ones that hold the scapula down and open the shoulder. Or just look up exercises for strengthening the rotator cuff and/or dealing with impingement on YouTube. Be diligent with your exercises and you should be fine.
I agree with OldChipper. I do not believe that you have a rotator cuff injury as those are usually caused by repetitive violent motion like throwing a baseball, or a football, or serving a tennis ball.

I have the same problem as you have described and it can become quite uncomfortable at times when I am riding. I will sometimes sit up and ride briefly with no hands until the discomfort subsides. Or, I will periodically stretch the affected shoulder/arm by reaching around my back (like when you get something out of your jersey pocket). That seems to help. When I get home, I always do a lot of stretching of legs, arms and shoulders.
 

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Seems I might have something going on with my shoulder and arm that might be rotator cuff injury. It began last week and doesn't seem to be getting any better. It does get somewhat uncomfortable when riding. Without going to a doctor is there any way I can tell if it is really a rotator cuff injury or something else? Any type of exercises or techniques to minimise discomfort and promote healing? The pain comes and goes and I have lost full range of my arm when reach to scratch my lower back. Thanks.
I have similar shoulder problems the past few months. I can't recall injuring myself I did however change roadbike which is more aerodynamic and feel myself stretching when hands are on drops. Shoulder pain is worst at night trying to sleep. Seems to be coming from collorbone, shoulder. More achy than
pain. Could this me rotor cuff. Am waiting on MRI to see what shows. Have tried physio and osteopath but no good.
 

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I have similar shoulder problems the past few months. I can't recall injuring myself I did however change roadbike which is more aerodynamic and feel myself stretching when hands are on drops. Shoulder pain is worst at night trying to sleep. Seems to be coming from collorbone, shoulder. More achy than
pain. Could this me rotor cuff. Am waiting on MRI to see what shows. Have tried physio and osteopath but no good.
My feeling is that your issue is more spinal. If you chanced positions to something your body isn't used to, you may be bending vertebrae in an unnatural position for you.

I would at the very least avoid the drops until you resolve this problem.
 

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I have similar shoulder problems the past few months. I can't recall injuring myself I did however change roadbike which is more aerodynamic and feel myself stretching when hands are on drops. Shoulder pain is worst at night trying to sleep. Seems to be coming from collorbone, shoulder. More achy than
pain. Could this me rotor cuff. Am waiting on MRI to see what shows. Have tried physio and osteopath but no good.
You've clearly been to medical professionals to order an MRI.
And you expect some random strangers on the interwebs to diagnose you from a couple sentences?

What did your doctors tell you when you asked them "Could this be rotator cuff?"
 

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I have similar shoulder problems the past few months. I can't recall injuring myself I did however change roadbike which is more aerodynamic and feel myself stretching when hands are on drops. Shoulder pain is worst at night trying to sleep. Seems to be coming from collorbone, shoulder. More achy than
pain. Could this me rotor cuff. Am waiting on MRI to see what shows. Have tried physio and osteopath but no good.
Just ride thru the pain, it'll either get better or worse. When it gets worse maybe your physio and osteopath will then see the problem and repair it.
 

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Just ride thru the pain, it'll either get better or worse. When it gets worse maybe your physio and osteopath will then see the problem and repair it.
Not a good idea. Pain is the body's way of telling you not to do something.
 
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