Four months ago, I was in a left arm sling for a different injury. I reached wrong, and felt and heard a dull pop in my bicep region, but no discoloring or sharp, lasting pain. Just a bit of soreness. However, the soreness turned into impingement syndrome, which I have since mostly dealt with. But during my healing, and attempting to get back to activity, I’ve noticed that when I do certain exercises and movements, I feel a slight burn/pinching where my bicep meets my shoulder. Specifically right at the top where my arm hangs from the body. Also, upon palpitation of the shoulder joint, I feel something moving that I can’t seem to replicate in the other arm. Supination of my forearm doesn’t produce pain or a clunk sensation.
I’ve had an MRI done, and it showed nothing out of the ordinary. How can I fix this?
Thank you for reaching out. You have provided some great information, but without performing a hands-on exam it is difficult to provide specific recommendations.
Looking at your history, there are several factors that can play a role in your current symptoms. Pain or an unpleasant pinching/burning sensation is a good indication that the current activity needs to be modified or potentially delayed in order to be performed in a way that is beneficial to the muscle in question. Strengthening is most often an appropriate treatment for symptoms like yours, with a heavy emphasis on strengthening the rotator cuff and the muscles that stabilize the shoulder blade. Oftentimes, performing shoulder strengthening exercises with the arm by your side rather than overhead can be a way to continue strengthening the shoulder without aggravating symptoms that occur with overhead motions (like the exercise in your example).
With your history of shoulder injury, we would recommend seeking an in-person consultation with a physical therapist. While an MRI can give a snapshot of certain structures in the shoulder, a hands-on examination will allow for your physical therapist to evaluate how the tissue is moving and responding to stressors (like the movements that cause your pain) and give you a specific diagnosis and guidance on how to appropriately perform exercises that can address your shoulder symptoms.
**This reply is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, physical therapist, or other qualified health provider with a medical condition.