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Old 03-20-2009, 01:27 PM   #1
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Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

Over the past 2ish weeks I have been experiencing a pain during bench pressing. I feel it immediately upon lifting off the bar, beginning right with the first rep of my light-weight warm-up set (60% of max). It was moderate at first but has become worse over the past 2 weeks and I'm wondering if I've injured something. I have to hang from a pullup bar for a few seconds between every bench set to re-stretch and get rid of the pain.

The pain is very difficult to tell exactly where it is. Even when I feel it, I push all over the area but can't seem to find where exactly it's hurting, but it's definitely somewhere in my upper left chest/shoulder area (only my left, not my right). There are 2 things I can think of to describe the pain, 1 when you try too hard to throw a football as far as you can, and 2 when you try to lift a lot of weight without warming up at all.

I'm starting to lean toward it being a chest thing, since I don't feel ANY pain doing military press. I feel a small amount of pain doing chest cable cross, but it's hard to tell. I don't feel it doing any other exercise, but it just feels like it's more in my arm than in my chest.

Is it possible I just pulled a muscle a couple weeks back and haven't given it enough time to heal? Or something more serious? I always take 2 full days off between benching days, but like I said it's only gotten more painful each workout. It's very frustrating because I was shooting toward a weight goal by next Sunday, but I don't know if I can keep pushing myself like this. I've been benching for years and have never experienced persistent pain like this.

Thanks!

 
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Old 03-21-2009, 07:33 AM   #2
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

It could be muscle or tendon. It's kind of hard to tell exactly what happened, but if you're feeling pain... STOP. If there's one piece of advice that could save you weeks, months, years of frustration and sidelining, that's it. I'd say, give it a full week of recovery time (all your muscles could probably use the rest and repair if you haven't done this in a while) and when you get back in, if you start to feel the same pain again, stop *immediately*, not after 3-9 sets, and give it more time. Don't let a goal blind you to injury. You just have to back up your dates a bit so you don't wreck your chances of ever making it.
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:22 AM   #3
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

Thanks. Yeah, I guess that's what I expected to hear, but needed to hear it firsthand to actually motivate me to stop. I haven't worked out since Thursday (any muscles) so I'll probably give it til after this weekend and see how it feels then.

In the meantime, and later on if the pain continues, any advice on what areas I can still safely work out so I'm not losing out everywhere else? Legs/abs obviously, and maybe biceps/back?

 
Old 03-23-2009, 01:44 PM   #4
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

You should be able to work any muscles that don't aggravate the injury. Even in the short term, you can do dumbbell lifts with the uninjured side if you really want to. If it doesn't hurt, you should be golden. Keep me up on how it goes.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:11 AM   #5
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

Alright, gave it 10 full days off, the only workout I had during that time was a single leg workout, 7 days ago. Went and benched last night, and it's not completely healed. I did just the bar, fine, then 95, fine, then 135 (what is usually my warm-up weight) and could barely feel something doing 2 sets of 8. I can hardly call it pain, but the muscle still felt bothered, enough to where I was pretty sure it would start to get worse again if I decided to proceed with a normal workout. I did a couple sets of middle-weight preacher curls and tricep extensions which seemed safe then called it quits. I didn't feel any aggravation at all post-workout so I don't think I slowed the healing progress much.

So, I think I'll give it until Easter weekend, and HOPEFULLY I should be 100% by then. I was really angry last night about how much this is setting me back, but thinking about it, it has healed a lot considering 11 days ago, it was sharp instant pain upon my very first warm-up rep of 135. I felt maybe 5% of that pain last night.

 
Old 03-31-2009, 06:30 AM   #6
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

Right on. When you're not laid up for two solid months because you wanted the workout more than you were willing to recover, you'll be glad you held off. Trust me. Sounds like you're most of the way there. You'll get right back to where you were faster than you'd expect. Glad you're healing up.
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Old 04-13-2009, 12:57 PM   #7
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

It's been another 2 weeks, and I was planning on going to the gym today and testing it again, but I'm just sitting here at work and the shoulder is hurting. Feels like the rear delt today. I just don't think it's healing. It's been bothering me at random times lately, seemingly more often than the days I was lifting through the pain, despite having two 2-week breaks now. And I've babied it so much that I've tried to use only my right arm even for simple every day movements like getting out of a chair, out of bed etc but it hasn't mattered. One thing I've noticed is sometimes when I wake up it feels tired/sore, since I usually sleep on my left side. If that is keeping it from healing what am I supposed to do? I guess I'll have to see a sports medicine doctor....

UGH!

The worst part of this is hearing every week the tremendous gains that my friends that I work out with continue to make, while I'm sidelined.

EDIT: Went and worked out anyways, it probably felt about the same as 2 weeks ago, maybe 1% better, lol. I tried slightly higher weights and it didn't hurt during the set but a bit afterwards. Also, I did dumbbell presses and they didn't hurt in the slightest...what's up with that?

I kind of feel like if I go see a doctor he's just going to tell me to take a month or 2 off which I would do anyways, but I'm kind of just desperate for some kind of answer at this point.

Last edited by mustangGT33; 04-13-2009 at 03:58 PM.

 
Old 04-13-2009, 08:44 PM   #8
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

If it doesn't hurt during the reps, thats a good sign. Might give it a couple more days and give it another go to see if it's improved at all. A sports med doctor might not be a bad idea though, especially since you *have* rested it for a while and have specific symptoms that they might have some better insight into. If you have the insurance, don't hesitate to go. If you don't you might hold off a bit longer and see how it progresses.
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:03 AM   #9
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

Yeah I have insurance so I might as well.

You are very helpful, Naxis. They should pay you.

 
Old 04-14-2009, 06:25 PM   #10
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

your problems sound like they're related to poor posture [generally] and probably dispersed tendonitis through poor technique. just a feeling. in either case it's unlikely you rid yourself of the problem [long term] unless you get a bettee understanding of your body and or biomechanics. hope this helps!!!
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:56 PM   #11
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

I do have crappy posture, but if that was the case why is it only affecting one shoulder, and why so suddenly also?

Saw the doctor today (just a general practice doctor) and he said it's tough to say because I have no pain now, and so little pain when I have tested it recently, and said it's normal for these kinds of injuries to take up to 6 weeks to heal (would mean I'm a couple weeks away), and he gave me an anti-inflammatory to take for a week. He said to then start exercising it again with VERY light weights (like re-habbing it) because that would be better than just letting it completely sit like I've been doing. He said I could probably slowly work the weight back up over the period of a month or so.

 
Old 04-15-2009, 07:12 PM   #12
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

The anti-inflammatory should help. You might also look at supplementing with ginger for a longer term solution (if inflammation is the core issue). I've jacked a couple joints up and after the injury healed, the chronic inflammation continued to haunt me, but after 3-4 weeks of ginger capsules daily (one in the AM, one in the PM), they subsided and stayed gone. Just another option to think about.
Hope the rehab helps. Keep me updated. I have vicarious investment in your success now.
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Old 04-15-2009, 07:27 PM   #13
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

Vicarious...nice, that easily wins word of the day.

Ginger capsules....GNC-only type product? Or my nearest Meijer? I'll definitely plan on using those, cuz I'm worried too about the pain returning after it's healed up.

 
Old 04-15-2009, 07:39 PM   #14
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

You *can* get them at just about any health food type store (I actually don't know if GNC will have them; not technically a sports supp) <removed>
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Last edited by mod-anon; 04-15-2009 at 08:52 PM. Reason: do not discuss online purchasing

 
Old 05-09-2009, 08:28 PM   #15
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Re: Pain in left arm/chest/shoulder from benching

Meh, got back into the lifting, low weights, I've had 3 workouts but still not sure what to think. No pain during the workouts, but on off days sometimes the shoulder feels a bit sore. Could be typical soreness of course, though. I've also noticed the shoulder cracking quite often (like cracking your knuckles) probably once every couple hours or so, and just from natural movement, not doing it on purpose. I only notice this on workdays, maybe because my left arm is stationary for periods of time sitting in front of a computer? But my right shoulder never cracks like this. So I wonder if the shoulder only feels sore because of the cracking, or if my previous injury is leading to the cracking and I'm in a vicous circle, etc.

Plus, I have a whole new problem: I had to go to the hospital a couple weeks ago from an insanely painful chest pain I was having (right side, hurt like hell to breathe), for which I was diagnosed a simple chest muscle or bone injury (was called "musculoskeletal chest pain). I have NO idea what could've happened since I wasn't even lifting around that time. I was given meds for that and it went away pretty quick, and since the doctors didn't say it would stop me from lifting, I did my few workouts, except I can feel some sort of extra pressure in my chest area when I do medium weights. Concerning indeed since this is with lifting far below the amounts I was doing a couple months back...but I just don't understand why 2 separate doctors acted like it was nothing, gave me meds, and no limitations on activites whatsoever.

Just felt like updating. Starting to feel like I'm cursed from advancing in lifting any further!

 
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