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Experience with inflamed rotator cuff?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My front deltoid had been bothering me on and off since last spring. I wasn't sure if it was a pull from an over enthusiastic yoga adjustment, a repetitive stress injury from my new mountain bike routine or what.

After our last two ski trips it flared up again, to the point where opening my car door, swiping my parking lot pass or reaching to answer the phone caused real pain.

I had it checked out and the Orthopedist said it was an inflamed rotator cuff. Gave me a shot of cortisone, some exercises to do and sent me on my way telling me I could resume normal activities once the pain went away.

Its definately improved in just the last few days.... still a bit sore when doing the exercises, but I was curious if anyone else had experience with this. I guess I'm afraid that once I resume my "normal" activities it will continue to flare up.
post #2 of 9
Hi Maggie: Since many women are subject to hyper flexiblity, I would guess that your injury came from your yoga adjustment. When I was working in gyms, I saw this injury occur quite frequently amongst regualr yoga participants.

When thinking about flexibility, the keys word are "functional" and "dynamic." While it may be fun to contort your body like a preztel, static stretches that bring your range of motion beyond what is necessary for your daily life activities, can often lead to injury.

Do the exercises that your doc prescribed religously. When you resume normal activities, baby it a bit.

Good luck!
post #3 of 9
Maggie --

I have the same thing right now, only my pain isn't as severe
as yours. I fell on my poles in Park City back in January and I
think that might have done it.

The reaching for the car door thing, all that you describe, I have, too.

I haven't been to the orthopedist (yet), because I wanted to try what
mine recommended the last time I had a inflmaed tendon in my finger.

He didn't want to give me cortisone except as a last resort, so he
said take 2 Advil every 4-6 hours for 10 days straight. It worked.
I was cured.

This time the Advil is helping, but I'm still not better and it's been a few months. I don't know if it's rotator cuff or not. My trainer works with me on exercises and I feel a million times better after that.

How do you sleep? On your back? On your side? I sleep on my side (on the sore side, unfortunately), and I try not to, but I think that's one reason I'm still hurting a little.

Also -- do you use a computer all day?..... I know I feel more ache in the shoulder after I've been at the keyboard for several hours.

Guess it's time to go to the doc and find out once and for all. . .

I'm going to follow your progress with interest!
post #4 of 9
FYI on a technical note, the deltoid muscle is not part of the rotator cuff.

Cuff has 4 muscles:
teres major
teres minor
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Bonnie - thanks for the insight.... can't help myself, twisting into pretzel shapes is a big part of my yoga routine!

Cryptica - At the "height" of pain I couldn't possibly have slept on the sore shoulder. Hell, it hurt to roll over! I can now sleep on either side w/out discomfort. The orthopedist I went to said DO NOT sleep with your arms stretched up under the pillow. A position I know hurt most of last summer so I'm kinda out of the habit of doing it already.

I do work at a computer most of the day... but that doesn't seem to aggrevate the situation.

I did my exercises like a good little girl last night and things that hurt the night before didn't hurt then, so progress is getting made, although I did try a downward facing dog and felt a bit of a pull. Will wait another week or so before trying it again. Last week my shoulder wouldn't have supported my weight.

From everything I've read, once I reach "recovery" I'll just have to be careful in my activities, stretching well, taking "vitamin I" and icing as necessary.

Stop being such a man... if you're still hurting after a month its time to see the doctor! A shot of cortisone and 4 days later most of my pain is gone.

Jim - I understand that the deltoid is NOT part of the rotator cuff. That is where I felt my pain, which is why I didn't even THINK rotator cuff injury until I started researching it.

Unfortunatly this whole thing has caused an early end to my ski season. It's HARD to be good when there is still corn snow and moguls on the moutain!
: (

This getting old stuff is for the birds!
post #6 of 9
Bonnie - thanks for the insight.... can't help myself, twisting into pretzel shapes is a big part of my yoga routine!

Anyway, there comes a point when you need to make a choice. If you fitness regimen is actually interfering with your sport, as well as your daily functional activities, you need to evaluate which is more important to you.

There are some superb yoga instructors out there who have a clear understanding of how much flexibility someone really needs. Unfortunately, due to the pseudo religous nature of the discipline, yoga also attracts many quacks and flakes.:

The fitness industry is getting stricter about how much physical contact we are allowed to make with students. Manually adjusting someone to the point of injury can be the grounds for a lawsuit. IMHO, as far as flexibility is concerned, only a physical therapist is qualified to do that.

There's an irony here. Yoga teaches you to breath and relax into a stretch. This is a good idea. But then, some "guru" comes along and forces you into a non functional range of motion. Hello?

I'm sorry if this seems like an anti yoga rant. Like I said, there are some fabulous yoga instructors out there. Some of my best friends are yoga instructors.

However, due to the number of incompetant, clueless instructors, the injury rate for yoga is higher than high impact aerobics! It just gets a bit frustrating when someone asks for advice about an injury, but is unwilling to give up the one thing that caused the injury in the first place.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 


That'll teach me to post before my morning cup of tea.... sorry ~hanging my head in shame

Not discounting your advice at all, but to be honest... I don't KNOW that the yoga caused the injury. It may very well have been the addition of the new sport - MT biking.

I've been doing some pretty intense Astanga Yoga with a most excellent teacher since the summer. There is not a time in my mind that I can remember the Yoga making my arm hurt. It wasn't until I started MT biking that I had any problems. When the arm would hurt I'd back off on the Yoga until it felt better.

My first thought when the arm started to hurt was yoga... then the next light bulb went off and I thought MT biking. I had the bike adjusted and that seemed to make things better, until ski season started. It wasn't until I couldn't move my arm and started researching that I figured out that the pain in my deltoid could actually be coming from my rotator cuff.

I'm guessing I must have aggrevated the shoulder while skiing, either by hitting a bump too hard or a fall. So, the true pain actually came from skiing, and believe me, it's gonna take alot more pain than I experienced to make me stop skiing!

It also may have been aggrevated when my chiropractor started adjusting the shoulder to give me some relief. I'm not sure I'll ever know WHAT created the problem.

In asking for advice... I was looking for insight going forward, or experience others have had with a similar injury to see how long it would be before I could start "playing" again and tips to avoid a repeat of this problem. Will it heal and I'll be done, or will I have to nurse this shouder for the rest of my life?
post #8 of 9
I think the point that LM might have been trying to get to was that the Yoga might have indirectly caused (or didn't help to avoid) the issue by creating an overflexablity. I have heard of people having problems with overflexability from yoga. They swore the problem was from the sport that created the injury, but the root of the problem was the flexability they accheived in yoga weakend the tendons and hadn't developed the surrounding muscles enough, and then an injury happened while participating in another higher intensity sport.

But back to what you were saying in the end of your post, I know a few people that have had rotator cuff injuries, and all of them, with proper rehab have been back to 100% in not to long a period of time, however, most did continue to perform the rehab exercises every now and again to make sure their rotator cuff would be less succeptable to injury.

Personally, I still have to get off my butt and to a doc after I created some pain in my shoulder lugging luggage back from my vacation. I'm pretty sure its rotator cuff, but I cannot be sure until its checked out.

In your case though, I would think the best bet is probably to see a doc, and talk to the doctor and/or a physical therapist about your yoga routine and recomended course of therapy/rehab and see if possibly the yoga will/is interfering with the rotator cuff healing properly.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
I know a few people that have had rotator cuff injuries, and all of them, with proper rehab have been back to 100% in not to long a period of time, however, most did continue to perform the rehab exercises every now and again to make sure their rotator cuff would be less succeptable to injury.

That's good news. It's only been a week since I've seen the doctor and I've got full range of motion back. I've religiously been doing the exercises they gave me. Exercises, which at first were excrutiating I can now do with a 5 pound weight. I intend to make the exercises part of my normal routine as in addition to guarding against future injury they'll only help develop my arms!

The doc told me when it stopped hurting I could resume my normal routines. I explained to her the intensity of "normal" for me and she told me to just take it slow.... so, I'll start with some road biking before I hit the trails, and do an ez yoga class and work my way back up to where I was.

Fingers crossed!
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