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I am 7 months post-surgery, an arthroscopic clean-up on my left shoulder (rotator & labrum). I had the same surgery done on my right shoulder last year.
Some (overhead) MWOD stretches make my left shoulder numb, no pain. Also if I directly smash the posterior area of my delt, it will go numb. This happened before the surgery though. Right is fine. Left I clearly hit a certain “wall”, an impingement when going overhead.
I had a check-up appointment today with my orthopedic surgeon/doctor about this. His advice is contradictory to that of MWOD…
He said the numbness is not indicative of a problem with the shoulder, which was relieving to hear. It’s due to the superficial nerves – the c5 nerve which stems from the neck. He said to avoid doing any deep massage/SMR with the ball for another 6 months on all of the surrounding area (including scapula). He said to focus on flexion & external rotation stretches, and to do them very lightly – which I have not been doing, I’ve been doing them with a lot of banded resistance, putting my whole body into the stretch. More so he said to focus on stretching the chest (doorway stretch).
He said I don’t need to do internal rotation stretches. Why? Because “I’m not fighting lions”, we don’t need to or aren’t designed to or something to that extent – basically implying it’s not necessary, and if I must to do it then stretch IR lightly after I shower…
So, if I take his advice, then:
This seems really conservative to me, especially considering the surgery was only a clean-up, no repair. I just want to heal up so I can finally lift again – I’ve only doing light weight rehab work in the gym. Considering he’s a good doctor and has seen both my shoulders under the scope, I’m hesitant to ignore his advice.
What are your thoughts?
If certain MWODS make something numb based on your situation you shouldn’t continue to do it. As Kelly notes
If it feels sketchy by all means don’t do it.
What is causing the overhead impingement?
You don’t want to mess with something when nerves are involved.
Have you tried using something other than a lacrosse ball? One of the YTU balls, a tennis ball?
If you think you are injuring yourself, STOP. Don’t over do it. More is not necessarily better.
Have you considered seeing another doctor or PT to have another look at/opinion on what is going on?
Yes, the recovery process can be frustrating, but doing things before you are ready can cause more problems down the road.