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Pain in Deltoid when raising arm above head
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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Oct 9, 2011
Mt. Agassiz
I've been having pretty incessant pain for the last couple of days. The odd thing is, everything felt 100% (no soreness, no fatigue) until I woke up last week and couldn't raise my arm laterally above my head. After warming it up/stretching for a minute, I could successfully raise it above my head, but with a fair amount of pain. A couple of minutes after that, I could raise/lower my arm out to the side rapidly with very little discomfort at all. The pain subsides through the day. The location of pain seems to be about 1" below the top of my shoulder, right in the upper central region of my deltoid. Any idea what may have caused this to flare up in the morning after feeling no discomfort the night before? Tips for loosening up the area? I originally thought it might be a rotator cuff issue, but don't think that's the case anymore. Thanks.

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By Grant Gerhard
From Denver, CO
Oct 9, 2011
Edge of Time, RMNP
Ryan,
From what I've heard/experienced, rotator cuff issue would feel like a more deep pain, while deltoid pain would feel more superficial. Rotator cuff tares in healthy people tend to be from a violent motion, which doesn't sound like what happened to you.

I'd RICE, and get some Icy Hot or Mineral Ice and massage your shoulder for about 15 minutes with that every night. One thing I've found nice is after I've showered to turn the water down and heat up, and only let it get my shoulder. GL and definitely don't climb until there's no pain.

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By AJS
From Boulder, CO
Oct 9, 2011
In the sea of Cortez - Baja California, Mexico
Hi Ryan --

I've been having something similar, though it doesn't sound quite as bad as your's. A PT friend said it's probably a bit of a tear or overuse injury where the bicep attaches to the shoulder. See here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biceps#O... -- esp. the picture on the left.

The good news is that after a week of taking it easy and stretching (shoulder and biceps, etc) it's feeling a lot better.

Cheers,
Adam

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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Oct 9, 2011
Stabby
Rotator cuff issues are just one possibility out of many with what could be wrong with a shoulder.
How far can you place the back of your hand up your back compared to the good arm?
Have someone push down on your fist with arms in a holding a tray position, while you resist. Same thing but pushing sideways out. Sharp pain?
Hold arm straight up over head. Have someone hold your fist, try to rotate. Sharp pain?

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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Oct 9, 2011
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.
This was probably caused by sleeping in a funny position. The best thing you can do for your shoulders, elbows, back and fingers is to train yourself to sleep flat on your back, with your arms hanging straight down along your sides and your fingers straight.

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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Oct 9, 2011
Mt. Agassiz
Mike Lane wrote:
How far can you place the back of your hand up your back compared to the good arm?


Definitely not nearly as far, but I never have been as flexible with that arm in that respect. There is discomfort as my arm moves behind my back and upwards though.

Mike Lane wrote:
Have someone push down on your fist with arms in a holding a tray position, while you resist. Same thing but pushing sideways out. Sharp pain?


No sharp pain with this movement.

Mike Lane wrote:
Hold arm straight up over head. Have someone hold your fist, try to rotate. Sharp pain?


This does cause discomfort.

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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Oct 9, 2011
Mt. Agassiz
Thanks to all for the quick responses. I'm definitely not going to force a climbing session with how it feels now.

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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Oct 9, 2011
Stabby
Limited range of motion is caused by an impingement. Sharp pains are generally tears. We as climbers tend to have SLAP tears the most. Try finding a PT to start and get on a Theraband routine, usually works wonders when you're young and the injury is minor. You need a program to strengthen the entire shoulder complex to avoid worsening anything. Also, I got some good advise about dry-needling as treatment, look into that too.

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By Copperhead
Oct 9, 2011
I wouldn't self diagnose. The deltoid is notorious for exhibiting referred pain, so the actual injury could be in one of many locations including the deltoid itself.

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By Peter Pitocchi
Oct 9, 2011
Pete belays 2nd pitch Little corner
Ignore it for a while. It willl probably just get better on its own.

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By Scott Beardslee
From Keystone, CO
Oct 19, 2011
Top of Royal
I've had the same pain for the last couple months. I don't tend to notice it when I'm climbing but definitely feel it when I'm not. I went to the PT and they explained how it is most likely Tendonitis and gave me a bunch of exercises to do with the Dyna bands to strengthen the shoulder. If it feels like an intense pinching feeling, you probably have the same thing. What happens is the tendon was somehow irritated and became inflamed. So every time you lift up your arm the inflamed tendon gets pinched by the muscles in the shoulder. Hopefully this helps. The best thing to do is have the doctor check it out and right a script for some PT.

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