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  1. #1
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    Brief Medical History Overview

    Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    Hello, I'm new to this forum and really need some guidance with an injury I have. My sports are bodybuilding & swimming, I've been training for about 25 years. This is a new injury for me and I just don't know what to do?

    It all started back in November, I woke up after sleeping awkwardly on my side and found that it was very difficult to extend my left arm. I had a dull throbbing pain between my deltoid and neck. The pain was quite bad and the maximum dose of ibuprofen & paracetamol with anti-inflammatories was required to manage it. After a week the pain subsided but I have been left with weakness in my left side.

    My left triceps and left pectoral muscle are about 50% of the strength of the right hand side. My bench press has been reduced from a regular 160Kg to around 100Kg. Things have improved but only very slightly. My biggest concern is muscle atrophy. My left triceps and left pectoral muscle are visibly smaller, softer and wasting. I visited a chiropractor several times who suggested that I have a prolapsed disc in my neck.

    Iíve started using a Tens EMS , electro stimulator unit on the triceps and pectoral to combat the wastage , but I donít think itís made a lot of difference. A guy in my gym had a similar experience after suffering whiplash in a car crash and lost control of his pectoral , but he regained control in about 3 months. Iím not in any pain , my problem is muscle wastage and loss of strength.

    Please can anyone advise me on what I can do to improve this injury?

    Similar Threads:
    Last edited by physiobob; 06-03-2009 at 04:35 PM.

  2. #76
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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    Physical Agents In Rehabilitation
    Quote Originally Posted by one sided injury View Post
    wow sorry to hear that...

    how did he say those form?

    I have had similar symptoms to you. should I get an MRI?
    Some people are born with a syrinx, some people just get them in life for no reason, and some people get them from trauma to the spine.

    If you think you have one, get an MRI WITH contrast. I got an MRI without and then had to get a second one with contrast.
    (Contrast is just an injection they give you so they can watch the spinal fluid flow around the syrinx.)

    It's been a year and a half at this point. I realize I've had a syrinx / syringomyelia growing for at least 20 years and didn't know it. The MRI is the only way to find out.

    I'm one of the lucky ones, my symptoms are minor. I've been working out like crazy and am in the best shape of my life again.

    I'll never be as strong as I used to, but compared to the constant pain and paralysis some people get, I've got it easy.

    I hope you don't have this, and it's just something minor...
    Good luck!

    Last edited by droopypec; 29-04-2019 at 08:02 PM. Reason: Typos

  3. #77
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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    Quote Originally Posted by wakaday View Post
    Hello, I'm new to this forum and really need some guidance with an injury I have. My sports are bodybuilding & swimming, I've been training for about 25 years. This is a new injury for me and I just don't know what to do?

    It all started back in November, I woke up after sleeping awkwardly on my side and found that it was very difficult to extend my left arm. I had a dull throbbing pain between my deltoid and neck. The pain was quite bad and the maximum dose of ibuprofen & paracetamol with anti-inflammatories was required to manage it. After a week the pain subsided but I have been left with weakness in my left side.

    My left triceps and left pectoral muscle are about 50% of the strength of the right hand side. My bench press has been reduced from a regular 160Kg to around 100Kg. Things have improved but only very slightly. My biggest concern is muscle atrophy. My left triceps and left pectoral muscle are visibly smaller, softer and wasting. I visited a chiropractor several times who suggested that I have a prolapsed disc in my neck.

    Iíve started using a Tens EMS , electro stimulator unit on the triceps and pectoral to combat the wastage , but I donít think itís made a lot of difference. A guy in my gym had a similar experience after suffering whiplash in a car crash and lost control of his pectoral , but he regained control in about 3 months. Iím not in any pain , my problem is muscle wastage and loss of strength.

    Please can anyone advise me on what I can do to improve this injury?

    How are you doing now? I have almost the same background as you and almost the same injury. I sit at a computer all day but I swim on my lunch break and lift weights at night. I didnt' have a traumatic injury, but I have the tingling and one side that definitley is weaker and that wasn't the case in years previous.

    I also started using a Tens but that causes the muscles on that side to just get more tense.

    I believe my problem is with a pinched vein or nerve that is somewhere along a common feeding point to that side, but I can't seem to locate it and / or fix it>

    Have you found anything that works? Let me know!


  4. #78
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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    I see - that's a bummer that it's not something you can control but it's great to hear you're almost back to normal and killing it again.

    Did you have any tips you used to deal with the nerve pain at all?


  5. #79
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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    When I first had the pain:
    I lay in bed for two days.
    I bought a chiropractic pillow for my neck to sleep on. I still use it.
    I started sleeping with a pillow under my knees. Turned out that fixed my lower back pain, so I stuck with it.
    I kept a pillow under my right arm to keep it elevated.

    It took 4-6 weeks before things got better for me where I didn't have any major symptoms.
    At that point, I could sleep normally in bed without arm elevated.

    You have to find out what the cause of the problem is. Usually that starts with a X-Ray, then an MRI, then an MRI with contrast.

    For most people, it is a disc in their spine which is bulging and pushing on the nerve from the outside in.
    I was a rare 1 in 15,000 case where the spinal cord is being pushed on from INSIDE out by a syrinx.
    There are other causes possible, but something is irritating the nerve.

    In general computer work is horrible for your neck from having your hand extended using the mouse.
    The trap muscles and neck take a beating from that and ache at the end of the day.
    I have a keyboard without a number pad so my hand is in closer to my body and that helps a lot.
    I also have fully adjustable chair and desk height.

    Looking at your phone is absolutely awful for your neck, toss the phone.

    The upside of this is that because my nerve is damaged, I no longer get neck pain at the end of the day like I used to.

    Sorry you are going through this too.

    I never believed in chiropractors until I tried on out of desperation for my lower back.


  6. #80
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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    Hi all,

    I'm glad to have found this thread as I have been experience some similar symptoms in the last few weeks.
    Almost 2 weeks ago, I sat down to do my usual 60lb DB presses, nothing too heavy since having a right pec tear years ago. My left arm went up, and my right arm had absolutely no strength. I found it odd, but thought maybe I had injured something and decided to give it a rest. 10 days later, still not much improvement, I went from being able to do 100 straight push ups, 30 dips, 30 pull ups to not being able to do a single push up, let alone a dip. Pull ups were very lopsided, and I could tell something wrong, as I could not even hold a 20lb DB in a press position.

    I went in for an x-ray from an orthopedist, who said he could not find anything structurally wrong with my shoulder, though he did say I did have a straightening of the cervical lordosis (natural curve of the neck). I blamed this on years of work on the computer and overall bad posture while sitting.

    Fast forward to 3 weeks ago (roughly a month after my original sudden loss of strength), for the first time in over 15 years, I had not worked out at least 4-5 times a week due to other obligations. I noticed that my right triceps (especially the medial and long head) was much smaller and softer than the left. Right pec at the time seemed as normal as before (post-pec tear, the right pec has always looked a bit different). That exact day, while standing on the train with a light backpack on, I felt a burning sensation from my trap/rhomboid area down to my right hand. The pain lasted for about 10-15 minutes and subsided, but there was an immediate sensation of numbness in my fingers, wrist and forearm.

    I went to a neurologist the very next day and he told me to get an MRI of both my neck and my right elbow, meanwhile was prescribed a 6-day steroid pack (Medrol), as well as Gabapentin and Nabumetone (NSAID). Results came back as 2 herniated discs in my neck, C3-C4 (C4 nerve root) and C6-C7 (C7 nerve root) along with bone spurs. Basically I had the neck of a 70 year old. I could no longer fully open my right hand, the pinky and ring fingers would not open while my wrist was held in extension. Numbness had become so bad I had to go on a medical leave as I could no longer do my work.

    Ever since my original diagnosis, I have received a second opinion from a neurosurgeon and both doctors believe that the plan of action is PT for 6 weeks and then reevaluation. I am hoping that the herniations will somehow resolve themselves, as medical practice seems to only deal with the symptoms of disc herniations (weakness, numbness, tingling) vs. actually being able to treat the herniation itself. I have been doing isolated exercises for my triceps, a lot of light 5lb-10lb overhead tricep extensions, tricep kick backs, resistance-band pull-downs, etc. Finger extension seemed to improve just recently, though typing still remains quite challenging. I can now do about 30 push-ups, and roughly 12 pull-ups in good form, as well as some bench-dips. However, the exercise that first gave me the most trouble (pronated DB press), I can still only do 20lbs, which is extremely depressing as I have noticed my right pec has significantly atrophied and I could barely flex the muscle itself.

    I hope to keep updating you guys as I make any new findings, it's now been almost 2 months since my first sign of weakness, 3 weeks since the burning sensation leading to the numbness, and now 2 weeks since MRI indicated the 2 herniated discs (C3-C4 and C6-C7 and bone spurs). My main goal is to no longer have any numbness and tingling in my fingers, wrist and forearm, while regaining coordination in my fingers and wrist. I will continue to rehab myself with push-ups, pull-ups, dips and light weights.

    Does anyone have any suggestions to target a pec muscle post pec-tear since it seems to have atrophied the most? I am quite depressed, having being active for the last 15 years, but hope to be able to make a full recovery from this.


  7. #81
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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    I am in exact same boat. Mine was when I was doing my taxes on the computer and turned my head (after training 5 days that week) Felt tightness, then extreme pain in my back. Then the pain went to my tricep and forearm. After the steroid pack the pain subsided yet I was so weak I could not even do 1 push up. It was mentally draining. I continue to train 5 days/week yet progress is slow. I am now up to 34 push ups yet my tricep and pec are still not responding the way the should. My MRI and EMG show I have narrowing of the canal in my C7. I have been doing traction every night for 15 min, then I use the tens treatment, then I ice everything. I am type A and do this religiously. I have definitely improved but want these muscles to "fire" again. The muscle loss occured so fast I thought I had some major disorder. Please update me with any of your progress.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Do you have any current updates on your condition? I am going through exact same thing. It is mentally draining.....


  8. #82
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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn_sagebhc@comcast.net View Post
    I am in exact same boat. Mine was when I was doing my taxes on the computer and turned my head (after training 5 days that week) Felt tightness, then extreme pain in my back. Then the pain went to my tricep and forearm. After the steroid pack the pain subsided yet I was so weak I could not even do 1 push up. It was mentally draining. I continue to train 5 days/week yet progress is slow. I am now up to 34 push ups yet my tricep and pec are still not responding the way the should. My MRI and EMG show I have narrowing of the canal in my C7. I have been doing traction every night for 15 min, then I use the tens treatment, then I ice everything. I am type A and do this religiously. I have definitely improved but want these muscles to "fire" again. The muscle loss occured so fast I thought I had some major disorder. Please update me with any of your progress.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Do you have any current updates on your condition? I am going through exact same thing. It is mentally draining.....
    Roughly 3 months out from the first time I felt the loss of strength. I would say my right side is about 90% or so of what it used to be, I'm able to dumbbell press 50lbs each side for 12 reps x 5 fairly easily, and push-ups are back to 100 straight. Since having the MRI and nerve studies, and being diagnosed with the severe stenosis, I try to stretch my neck as much as I can with chin tucks and scalene muscle stretches. I found that when performing a chin tuck, and then tilting my head to the opposite side of the stenosis (thereby expanding the canal in which the nerve root runs), seemed to help a bit.
    7 Kinds of Neck Exercises : Chiropractic Stretches & Tips - YouTube

    I have incorporated a daily 15 pull-up, 30 push-up, 20 dip x 4 circuit to my daily routine, also targeting my triceps with some resistance band/cable work. I've tried to improve my grip strength with these rubber grip rings (50 each hand in the car while driving x4).

    I have a follow up with my neurosurgeon in another 4 weeks, I'll give another update then, or if anything else comes up in the meanwhile. My best advice is to keep at it, and the progress will eventually happen. Human bodies are fairly resilient if you give them the chance to heal.


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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    Swygart2, do you have any update on your injury? Mine occurred Feb 10, 2019, I am now 5 months in. My strength has definitely improved yet I am no where near where I used to be. My tricep (left arm) is over an inch smaller than my right and upper portion of my chest is still significantly smaller. Did your muscle recover? Have you had any more complications? I has been a competitive bodybuilder for over 15 years but now stay active training everyday but not competitively. It is mentally wearing on me w how quickly the muscle loss occurred. Just want to get it back......i have stenosis that has caused my issues...


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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    How has the muscle recovery been? My strength is coming back yet the tricep and upper chest are still not firing. I wish you the best on your recovery, any help would be appreciated.


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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    I've just quickly skimmed this thread; I apologize if I've missed some things. A couple questions that could help direct treatment:

    1) Do you have altered sensation (numbness and tingling), and if so, where specifically in the arm?
    2) Has anyone been checked for thoracic outlet syndrome? I see this quite often.

    You should be aware that imaging is rarely a good way to diagnose an issue. See Are your x-ray and MRI results helpful or harmful? - YouTube


  12. #86
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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    1) Only numbness is in left index finger. Minimal dull pain in base of neck and do have occasional pain near collar bone.
    2) No one has checked this, how do you test for it? I see the neurosurgeon July 22nd.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!!!


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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    I thought I'd throw my story into the thread since it's so similar to those who posted before me. I can only offer prognosis data, as I can't afford medical care. I'm not looking for diagnosis, just to offer my story which can hopefully help pros or others.

    Origin of injury: No flu shots. No significant medical issues or history. 35 yrs old, resistance training average 4 times a week since age 14. Early January, 2019. I slept on the couch, which I rarely do, and woke the next morning with severe pain and stiffness in my left shoulder blade/left rhombic area and left side of neck. My wife was scheduled to be inducted for the birth of our child, so we headed to the hospital that night. During a two night hospital stay, due to complications during delivery, my condition worsened to the point of having to hold my head tilted to the left. I normally refuse to take medication, but caved and took some Ibuprofen, but it didn't help at all.

    When we got back home, brand new baby in tow, I went to do my first workout since the "stiff neck incident". I normally start with pushups. That's when I got depressed, as I went to lower myself to the floor, my left side gave out and I collapsed flat on my belly. I noted that my left pec and left tricep were essentially powerless and wouldn't flex normally, only slightly. I panicked and began trying tricep pulldowns, my right arm was completely normal strength and flex. My left arm couldn't even move the cable. On the bench, I tried barbell presses, but my normal weight was impossible on the left side, right side was normal.

    Over the next few weeks, I did chin tucks, which felt tight in the left rhombic region. I did weighted neck traction with an over-the-door-device. I started sleeping on a memory foam mat on the floor and bought a neck chiro-pillow to sleep with. None of these things provided relief.

    0-3 months after the incident: I stopped working out. My triceps would twitch randomly. The pain and stiffness in the left rhombic/neck areas faded very slowly, took about 2 months. I began losing touch sensation in my left pointer and left thumb, could feel pressure sensations though. If I leaned my head back, in a looking at the sky position, after about 10-15 seconds a pins and needles sensation would begin flowing from my left shoulder/upper bicep to my left hand. The longer I held my head in that position, the more intense the pins and needles would get. When I aimed my head back down to a level sight position, the tingling would begin subsiding instantly and vanish completely within a few seconds.

    4-6 months after the incident: Still have low activation in left pec and left tricep, and those muscles are still soft. All pain/stiffness is basically gone. Touch sensation returned, maybe SLIGHTLY muted. The "looking at the sky" tingling does not happen anymore. I began a modified resistance training regimen using low weight dumbbells, so I could isolate right and left side strength. I only do on the right side what I can do on the left side, to hopefully maintain body symmetry. The left side fatigues faster than the right side during workouts. My left side makes very slow gains, I had to buy fractional olympic weights so I could attempt to make strength progress.

    Today (7+ months): Still no improvement to strength or muscle hardness in left pec or tricep. No pain, tingling, stiffness. The only notable anomaly that remains is after my cable back workout, if i try to touch my shoulder blades together, it feels like a balled muscle in my left rhombic area. This dissipates by the next day.


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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn_sagebhc@comcast.net View Post
    1) Only numbness is in left index finger. Minimal dull pain in base of neck and do have occasional pain near collar bone.
    2) No one has checked this, how do you test for it? I see the neurosurgeon July 22nd.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!!!
    How was your visit at the surgeon? Was an EMG recommended?

    I'd check for an elevated first rib. And consider the possibility of having a cervical rib.


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    Re: Wasting triceps & pectoral, loss of strength

    Aircast Airselect Short Boot
    Hello,

    This may help some of you. I woke up one morning in March of 2018 with a stiff neck from what i thought to be sleeping wrong. I went about my day cause this was not the first stiff neck i ever had. But when i went to the gym that night, while attempting to warm up with dumbbell shoulder presses , my left arm went straight up and my right arm would not budge. These were 40lb dumbbells. I usually warm up with those and go up to 70lbs by the end of the workout. I forced 5 reps out of my right arm but knew something was wrong. I thought it was tendinitis or something, being that i played baseball and had it before . But next workout same thing on chest day i could not bench 135lbs, i could not even do 5 push ups. I then started to notice my right tricep wasting away. I went to an onsite doctor at work, he tested all my movements and said you should be fine. I kept working out everyday lifting what i could which was nothing. It is now November and i have went from not being able to bench alot or do much weight on my triceps to now seeing my tricep gaining muscle and benched 275 once . I get strong every week but my right is still alot weaker then my left. It is coming back i never went to the doctor or got checked. I just googled and found many people with the same issue. My bicep and tricep are still pretty soft but getting bigger. Its been 9 months and i have seen alot of progress, i read somewhere it takes a full 2 years to get back to 100%. I feel i will be there in about 18 months. One thing i did was i kept working out the entire time. I never stopped which may be why i am ahead of the curve. Good luck to you all.



 
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