Ask A Pro

Q

I am a 45 year old male and I have been working out at the gym for many years. I have not changed my exercise program in about 6 months to 1 year. I have not made any drastic changes to the amount of weight that I have been lifting either. When I perform the overhead shoulder press it gives me pain on top of my shoulder. What could it be?

 
A

The pain that you describe is not uncommon. When we raise our hand overhead and in particular when you have weight in this position, many times the tendons of the rotator cuff or the bursa under one of the bones can be compressed under the bone called the acromion. Wear, tear and altered mechanics of the shoulder can create bony growths on the tip called osteophytes. These bony growths then decrease the space for the tendons on the top of the shoulder. If the tendons continue to be compressed, they break down. Unfortunately, as we age the circulation to the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder decreases after the age of 40. Therefore, with poor healing ability, constant compression, and the potential for poor mechanics in place, the shoulder is in a compromised situation. Of course, this is only one of the many causes for the pain that you describe. A Physical Therapist is trained to analyze shoulder mechanics and help identify the source of your pain. In the short run, I would discontinue any overhead pressing until this can be evaluated further. Let pain be your guide! At CSSPT, our focus is YOU because we want you to work, live and play…. Again!!

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