Inflexible shoulders

Poetic_Mind

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I have this problem a lot when I swim, but I felt it merited a new thread. See, I have very inflexible shoulders. If I move it too far up or back, it sometimes pulls back slightly and locks in place. It's very very painful... Stetching helps a little, but sometimes it happens even when I stretch. I'm not sure what it is, but it may be frozen shoulder... I can say that I feel something move out of place in my shoulder when it locks, but I was reassured by my Adv. Phys. and Condition teacher that it is not a dislocated shoulder.

Anyone have any clue on what this may be or how it could possibly be fixed? I am not going to get X rayed... if it is very serious, I might get DQed for my ROTC scholarship. It does greatly hinder my ability to swim though.
 

Invictus

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Did your teacher tell you if it's damaging or not?

As a swimmer (I am not a physical therapist or nurse or anything of the like, but do have swimming experience), I can say that swimming has actually increased my flexibility and strength in my joints. I don't know what your swim workouts are like, but I'm not going to advise you to continue swimming because I don't know the specifics of your shoulder, and wouldn't want to further damage the shoulder if that's the case. However that being said, easy gradual swimming could strengthen the muscles around and supporting your shoulder. As I said before though, I don't know the specifics, just my :2c:
 
8

8'Duece

Guest
Sounds like a congenital condition.

I have had both shoulders surgically repaired after multiple anterior dislocations. Two of those surgerys where while in the Army stationed at Ft. Bragg. I had dislocated it prior to shipping out for BCT. Dislocated it during the second week of BAC and recieved 30 day's convo leave, to which I came home and did therapy every day.

I recycled into the next class upon returning to the BAC course, only after having to push out about 50 pushups in the CSM's office and get medical clearance. True story. Other wise I was destined to weeks of pulling CQ and being assigned to leg land.

I'd swim with someone that can teach you the proper combat stroke, side strokes etc and see if it's not just poor water performance putting more strain on the shoulder.
 

LibraryLady

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My quals for this thread - lifelong competitive swimmer raised up by a swim coach dad.

There are all kinds of reasons this could be happening. Find someone qualified to assess you. If this is a DQ-able condition for your dream, pursue as many avenues as you can til you get an answer. Don't rule out x-rays - they may be a part of the diagnostic process. Ask your doc, or maybe your Conditioning teacher for recommendations for a more qualified diagnostician.

Once you've ruled out a physical condition or fixed one if it exists, then -

Find a good coach - if your HS has a swim team, inquire there, or look for a local USA Swim team. http://www.usaswimming.org/usasweb/DesktopDefault.aspx

Shop around, be willing to spend some $$ on a good coach. Don't go to the lifeguards, they might be swimmers, but that doesn't mean they can coach. Don't go to physical therapists either, unless they specialize in swimmers. Check out your local university too, you might find what you need there.

LL
 

Poetic_Mind

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I'll be waiting a little bit, but I will eventually get them looked at. I'm afraid to do the right strokes when swimming because of the pain from the locking of my shoulders/ I was swimming in a 20ft deep area when it happened... yeah... went under for a minute and a half until I forced it back in place...:confused:

Happened again when I jumped off the diving board...right in midair!!! That was a huge shocker when I landed in the water with only one usable arm.:eek:
 

LibraryLady

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I'll be waiting a little bit, but I will eventually get them looked at. I'm afraid to do the right strokes when swimming because of the pain from the locking of my shoulders/ I was swimming in a 20ft deep area when it happened... yeah... went under for a minute and a half until I forced it back in place...:confused:

Happened again when I jumped off the diving board...right in midair!!! That was a huge shocker when I landed in the water with only one usable arm.:eek:

Lose the 'eventual' from your vocabulary.

You sound like you have a problem that could impede your ability to swim in deep water, thereby putting your life at risk...

:rolleyes: You're young and you think you're invincible - we have ALL been through this stage, though some of us never outgrew it... :rolleyes:

GET IT LOOKED AT BEFORE YOU SWIM AGAIN!

LL
 

Poetic_Mind

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No, I have no insurance. That is why it needs to wait. Obviously my PT teachers were not too alarmed. I just avoid water when I can and stretch before each workout. I am definitely going to get it looked at when it is financially feasible. I was told my excessive workouts contributed.
 

Poetic_Mind

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Well, now I am in the process of try to fix my left shoulder. I went to the ortho a few days ago and he gave me two probable causes for the locking of my shoulder( from this point on I will identify it more as a catching of the shoulder rather than a lock).

1.) Shoulder instability- ortho described it as a genetic problem where the joints are more limber than usual( sounds a lot like double-jointedness, but he never said that). He came to that conclusion after he moved the shoulder around to find out where it would and would not move. He then had me bend my thumb back to my wrist. Bending my thumb back to my wrist does not necessarily ID double jointedness as I had to push real hard to get it to touch my arm. I am anything but limber.

2.) Labral Tear- this is a tear in the Labrum( the cartilage cup that allows the shoulder to do all the movements it can do). This became a possibility when I mentioned that my shoulder was first injured when a larger guy knocked me on my left shoulder during a basketball game about 3 years ago. This event shot down the genetic cause of the catching of my shoulder as the first onset was at the age of 15. After that initial injury it occured more frequently.

The labral tear possibility prompted the doc to schedule a MRI for me. I took that and will hopefull know what is wrong by the 8th of January. I suspect he will suggest I do exercises to see if that fixes the problem. However, I will insist on surgery as my shoulder dislocated multiple times after attempting to do stretches and shoulder strengthening exercises. Getting surgery gives me a better chance at getting a waiver so I can do AROTC.

I did some research on my own and I think I found the problem. I think I have a Bankart's Legion. It completely matches my shoulder problem. It describes it as a initial shoulder dislocation with future shoulder dislocations occuring from movements( such as moving my arm behind the head, etc.) It also describes the individual as not "trusting" the shoulder and fearing it will dislocate again. Younger individuals are apparently more suceptable to future shoulder dislocations after an initial dislocation. I am going to bring up this possiblility when I see my ortho agian. Problem is that I read MRIs do not always catch Bankart's legion.

At the ortho's I did take a X-Ray but there was nothing wrong. It has to do with the muscle(rotator cuff) or the cartilage surrounding the joint.

I told my future-PMS about my doctor visit and told me that the genetic problem will make it virtually impossible for me to join the Army. The tear will be easier as I can get that waived.

Perhaps anyone on this board can give me a unprofessional diagnosis of my problem. I personally think it is some kind of tear to the labrum.:2c:
 

Invictus

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I'm fairly certain that a Bankart Lesion is a specific tear of the labrum.

Doctor knows best.
 
W

WillBrink

Guest
I have this problem a lot when I swim, but I felt it merited a new thread. See, I have very inflexible shoulders. If I move it too far up or back, it sometimes pulls back slightly and locks in place. It's very very painful... Stetching helps a little, but sometimes it happens even when I stretch. I'm not sure what it is, but it may be frozen shoulder... I can say that I feel something move out of place in my shoulder when it locks, but I was reassured by my Adv. Phys. and Condition teacher that it is not a dislocated shoulder.

Anyone have any clue on what this may be or how it could possibly be fixed? I am not going to get X rayed... if it is very serious, I might get DQed for my ROTC scholarship. It does greatly hinder my ability to swim though.

If you are not able to see a doc (a referral to a Physiatrist sounds like what you need), an MRI, etc., there's not all that much that can had via the net beyond the general advice. It could be caused by imbalances in musculature (a common cause of shoulder problems), weak rotator cuff muscles, something congenital, and other possibilities. Many swear by the 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution :

http://www.amazon.com/7-Minute-Rotator-Cuff-Solution/dp/0944831257

Daily stretches to emphasize include: *

1) A chest/doorway stretch.
2) Hand up the wall stretch - stand next to a wall, place your hand on the wall, and "climb" your fingers up the wall as high as you can go before the pain kicks it.
3) Behind-the-back towel stretch (hold a towel with both elbows bent and both hands behind your back - one elbow pointing down and one pointing up - hopefully that makes sense).
4) Lat stretch - self-explanatory.
5) Posterior shoulder stretch (arm across front of body).

(*) = via Dr. Peck

Short of knowing what is actually causing it, that's about the best that can be done over the 'net without making diagnosis that coud be totally wrong.
 

Poetic_Mind

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You quoted an older post of mine. I am beyond doing stretches and shoulder strengthening exercises to fix the problem. They simply have not worked. The problem is that AROTC wants signs of improvement, so if the doc assigns me physical therapy there is a greater chance I will not be able to do ROTC when I go to college. Surgery may be the key pending the MRI results.

I just talked with a DoDMERB doc that told me it will be the seriousness of the injury and "a history of recurrent dislocations" that will determine whether or not I am DQed. The fact the problem may be genetic will not be grounds for a DQ.
 
W

WillBrink

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You quoted an older post of mine. I am beyond doing stretches and shoulder strengthening exercises to fix the problem. They simply have not worked. The problem is that AROTC wants signs of improvement, so if the doc assigns me physical therapy there is a greater chance I will not be able to do ROTC when I go to college. Surgery may be the key pending the MRI results.

I just talked with a DoDMERB doc that told me it will be the seriousness of the injury and "a history of recurrent dislocations" that will determine whether or not I am DQed. The fact the problem may be genetic will not be grounds for a DQ.

Then is sounds like MRI, diagnosis, and direct medical intervention is what you need here. Good luck.
 

Mephistopheles

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Don't know if you have found resolution with your shoulder probs yet, I know this is an old thread...but

I have had 3 surgeries on my right shoulder. Some of the same symptoms you describe were similar to what I was experiencing. I had a labral tear and impingement that was very painful, and after two scopes to clean it up, I went to see a guy named Dr Basamania at Duke, who wound up doing a bicep tenodesis. It was my bicep tendon all along causing the problems, but because of the complexity of the shoulder joint it was hard to track down the problem. Basically they cut my bicep tendon off right near the head of the humerous and drilled a hole in the bone, stuck the bicep tendon in the hole and wired it in place.

No more pain...

Find a good shoulder specialist. All orthopods are not created equal...
:2c:
 

amlove21

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here we go- quals: registered paramedic, 500+ clinical hours along with every cookie for MED i can get in the AF/DOD, lifetime and current swimmer.

Dude, Bankarts sounds right. As i was reading to catch up to current, that actual malady entered my mind. You wanna be careful though- a full labrum tear wont show on an XRay, only on an MRI, same with Bankarts.

Furthermore, this shit is serious, and the only and best option is aggressive and immediate medical treatment and/or surgery. This "my teachers didnt seem to think it was that serious" comment cracked me up- you know why? ITS NOT THEIR SHOULDER. Im telling you right now- you dont wanna mess with this. Get an MRI, see an ortho, and not some regular family practice doc, and get aggressive with it or you will regret it. Youre young enough that it will heal, but you need to get on it.
 
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