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some_girl
May 11th, 2005, 03:14 PM
Hey all, I've been lurking around here for a while, but now I finally registered because I have an important question that's worrying me. Any help would be much appreciated. And you all seem pretty nice.

What's wrong with my shoulder? Or: How can I tell the difference between normal muscle soreness and incipient injury?

I started swimming with a Masters swim team in January. I do 6000 to 8000 yards a week. In March, I hit the water funny doing a start and the next time I swam I had some pain in the "front of the armpit" muscle. I stopped swimming, did some heat and ibuprofin, went back a few days later, and that same muscle never hurt again.

However, my shoulder still gets sore, mostly the muscle that connects my neck to the top of my shoulder and along the inside of my shoulder blade. This tends to happen after I finish working out, but sometimes I'll get sore towards the end of a workout. How can I tell if I'm hurting myself through bad technique or not giving myself enough time to heal, or if it's just normal soreness due to getting those muscles in shape?

Some other facts:
* It's my nondominant side.
* It's the arm I use for open turns, which means it gets used more.
* If I skip heat for a day or two, it begins to feel tight.
* It is definitely less flexible than my other shoulder--when I stretch I feel it more.
* It's sorer today than it has ever been. Last night, by the end of the workout, both my shoulder and elbow hurt it a bit. Coincidentally, we swam pretty hard and fast, which meant lots of very snappy open turns. I hope that means it's just normal soreness & that I should work on flip turns and thereby solve the exacerbation situation.

If I had healthcare, I would ask a doctor. But I don't. And I want to keep swimming! Any insights?

jswim
May 11th, 2005, 04:24 PM
Hi there,
wow!, it's hard to know how to reply to this one. I know everyone's threshold and perspective of pain is a bit different.

I would first tell your coach about the situation and have him/ her evaluate your stroke and see if there's anything that could be causing the pain. If he/she doesn't see anything in particular, you may just want to try taking it easy on that arm a bit for awhile..

How Badly does it hurt? is it a dull throbbing type pain, or a sharp pain?.. In general, I think sharp pains are not a good sign, but I"m not a therapist or doctor, so I couldn't say.

Stretch regularly!.... This is very important for swimming, make sure you get a good set of stretches, and do them regularly. While you're stretching don't push too hard, just gentle stretches done often will do wonders.

If all of this doesn't work, I hate to say it cause I know you don't have insurance, but I'd look into seeing a professional about it..

Again, I am in no way qualified to give advice about this sort of thing, just thought i'd offer some ideas.. sorry to hear you're having shoulder trouble, good luck with whatever you try!!

Jeanette.

scyfreestyler
May 11th, 2005, 05:10 PM
If you can't "afford" (Can you really put a price on your health?) to see an MD then you might look into seeing a PT. I suspect you can get out of there for much less money and hopefully with some sound answers to your questions. My PT gave me a lot of information that my orthopod most likely took for granted.

Guvnah
May 12th, 2005, 02:08 PM
Usually, serious injury to the shoulder is a rotator cuff injury. But what you describe is not that.

Kae1
May 16th, 2005, 03:44 PM
Originally posted by some_girl
In March, I hit the water funny doing a start and the next time I swam I had some pain in the "front of the armpit" muscle. I stopped swimming, did some heat and ibuprofin, went back a few days later, and that same muscle never hurt again.

However, my shoulder still gets sore, mostly the muscle that connects my neck to the top of my shoulder and along the inside of my shoulder blade. This tends to happen after I finish working out, but sometimes I'll get sore towards the end of a workout.

I had something similar happen when I switched workouts from a 1800m workout to a 3200m workout (over the course of 3 days). It helped to take an ibuprofen before I went to the pool, ice the shoulder when I got home, and apply heat before I went to bed. However, what really helped was a qualified massage therapist. He identified the problem as not being a rotator cuff strain (which I was afraid of) but a pull where the bicep and bicep tendon met. He worked on it for about 20 minutes and I haven't had any problems since.

Hope that helps,
Kae

some_girl
May 17th, 2005, 05:50 PM
Thanks, everyone. My mother took an interest and paid for me to go to the doctor: he said I pulled my tricep and to stretch more, lift some weights, and do ice & heat, as Kae explained. He also suggested getting a massage, so you were very on the nose, Kae.

Thanks.

jswim
May 17th, 2005, 06:25 PM
whew!.. glad it wasn't something too serious!
take care and good luck!
J.