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Shoulder pain & strengthening
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By Will Copeland
Nov 23, 2012
view off the 4th belay
Calling all therapists...

I get a dull shoulder pain after climbing for long stretches, whether it be several hours or consecutive days. No sharp pain while climbing, just dull pain on the ground. I'm sure the same pain is there when I'm actually climbing, but I'm focused on other things.

The pain is on the back of the shoulder extending into armpit.

My question is, what exercises could specifically strengthen my shoulder to reduce pain in the future? What else should I do?

I am assuming low resistance high rep would be the best, but I am simply theorizing.

Thank you in advance for the advice.

By Tom Mulholland
From #1 Cheese Producing State!
Nov 23, 2012
I will preface this by saying I have no real medical/orthopedic training.

I've also had on/off shoulder pain for awhile in climbing, although mine has generally been more the front side of the shoulder. That being said, pushups help a little. What's really working for me recently are shoulder exercises that emulate climbing - i.e. the moves in climbing the tweak my shoulder.

I'll double over and hang my hand by my feet holding a 5 pound weight (keep it light). Then I'll bring my arm straight out sideways, level with my body, with my palm facing up. This is similar to being extended and pulling yourself into the wall (if you can picture that). I feel this exercise has made a significant improvement in my shoulder tweakiness.

And of course, I couple that with a lot of other standard shoulder exercises with light weights (10 lb or less). Anyway, you have pain in a different place than me, but perhaps emulating the climbing moves with low weight will help you as well.

Good luck!

By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Nov 23, 2012
Cue the "you're asking for a diagnosis on the internet!?!" post, followed by some more ancedotal stories, another 1 or 2 'why are you asking us?' posts interspersed with some plugs for Theraband therapy; then ultimately comes Aereli with a bit of an education lesson with a touch of condescendence.
Just go get it looked at.

By jasoncm
Nov 23, 2012
Good on the OP for asking advice. I would rather ask other climbers who have experienced the same thing than visit the crooked and many times totally inexperienced medical industry.

By David Houston
From Boulder, Colorado
Nov 23, 2012

Saw this article in Climbing Magazine a couple of months back...seems to help my tweaky shoulders a bit.

By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Nov 25, 2012
Me and Spearhead
A therapist responding:

Go have an Ortho look at it.
I work in the rehab/performance aspect of the health care game so I don't get to see folks come in w/ a complaint and then get to compare what they describe to what I see when I cut into them. That's the huge advantage an Ortho has when it comes to diagnoses.

Given the symptoms you're describing I would say that if this has been going on for longer than a month, a trip to the Ortho to rule out some kind of capsular/labral damage would be prudent. If it's not torn, then come back and find out what folks here like the most for rehab exercises if you're not inclined to seek out a professional.
Good luck w/ the shoulder,

By Elstone
From North Vancouver
Nov 25, 2012
I would recommend going to see a sports physiotherapist.

I have different shoulder pain than you so I may not be able to help. I have rotator cuff problems on the front of the shoulders.

When I went to Physio the guy recognized that my upper middle back is too weak, putting stress on my rotator cuff so I do more back shoulder/back exercises to fix my shoulders. It sounds like you've injured your rotator cuff on the back of your shoulder, but that's just a guess.

just because your shoulder hurts doesn't mean its just your shoulder thats injured. It could be a problem with your back. Ignoring the problem led me to tearing my rotator cuff.

If you don't want to pay for a physiotherapist, look up some rotator cuff exercises and do them with light weights and a rubber band.

All these exercise help me-I do 3 sets of ten with pretty light weight.
"drawing the sword"
"external rotations"
"reverse fly"

I don't do many pushup or chest exercises because it pulls my shoulders in putting stress on my rotator cuff.

It also helps to put a baseball on the wall and grind the muscle into it if it's tender and you have knots and scar tissue.

Also making sure you maintain a good posture and don't slouch may help balance it out.

But again, I don't really know what your problem is.

By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Nov 25, 2012
Brent Apgar wrote:
A therapist responding: Go have an Ortho look at it.

Your best advice comes from Brent.


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