Training your deltoids can be tricky at times. You use them a lot when working other body parts – mainly chest – and it is easy to injure one or both at any given time while performing an exercise.
If any of you have had a rotator cuff injury, it can be debilitating and keep you out of the gym for an extended period of time. Surgery aside, you can cut down on the weight being used or modify the exercises to keep the pain and discomfort to a minimum, but it will eventually become one of those things that you have to get used to and live with.
But that can also become an even bigger issue, because once there is some type of injury, arthritis will begin to set in and cause even more pain and stiffness, and also cut down your range of motion. So let’s say that you decide to go under the knife and have that tear repaired. The arthritis will still be present and you will have went through all of that and still have problems.
Most athletic people have ‘osteoarthritis,’ which is from normal wear and tear over the years of lifting weights. The articular cartilage begins to wear away and you start to suffer a ‘bone-on-bone’ scenario. The cartilage wearing away some or even entirely decreases the protective space between the shoulder joints.
Some orthopedics suggest cleaning out the shoulder arthroscopically to increase the space, but that may be only a temporary solution.
For non-surgical suggestions, you can eliminate the movements (in the gym and out) that cause more pain, attend physical therapy to improve your ROM, take aspirin or ibuprofen, cortisone injections, moist heat, ice and even taking supplements like glucosamine and/or chondroitin, which may help relieve some pain.
But there is no perfect answer on how to relieve shoulder pain. Anyone who has been training for more than a few years can tell you that. It’s up to the individual of what his/her threshold for pain is and your commitment to the gym.
[EDITOR’S NOTE:] This subject is one that I can certainly relate to. After a few years of feeling a lot of pain and discomfort in my shoulder, my regular doctor referred to me to a highly respected orthopedic. He took an x-ray and MRI and told me that I was basically screwed, as both shoulder joints (you have two in each shoulder) were writhe with arthritis. I also had a rotator cuff tear and a labrum tear, for good measure. He said the same thing that I wrote in the article – having surgery to fix the tears would only make things partially better for me and the arthritis was the main culprit. He gave the me the same speech – it depends on how much pain you can deal with and get used to it. That was a few years ago; I’m still dealing with it.