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Hello all. I am a high level tennis player (div 1 next year) I had Tennis elbow for three months in the summer, I healed that but now I have had bicep tendonitis(osis) that has persisted for about 5 months. I am sure you all understand how frustrating being out of your sport for so long is. for the first 3.5-4 months of the bicep injury, I thought it was rotator cuff tendonitis, because of what a phys therapist diagnosed it as. about a month ago, I saw a MD sports doc, and have been reguarly going to a great physical therapist who played proffessional tennis. The Doc diagnosed with bicep tendonitis, which make sense since the pain is along my bicep tendon. mid bicep, worst on high bicep,(inside, and top) and then also goes to front of the shoulder chest area.
Have you looked into upper-cross syndrome? The only reason I ask this is because you describe symptoms very similar to a problem I had developed around this time last year. I spent almost 5 months (and thousands of dollars) trying to diagnose it and eventually was able to resolve it by addressing muscle imbalances with exercises, mobility/stretching. A good quicky test is being able to do a wall angle with your back flattened to the wall. They are also a (one of many) simple exercise to help aid in recovery.
It could also be tendonitis, but did you ever get an ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis? An impingement by the rotator cuff on the bicep tendon caused by UCS can give similar symptoms, but my ultrasounds came back negative.
As always take this with a grain of salt as I am not a doctor or trained therapist, but someone that had experience with pretty severe UCS and was able to recover through exercise and mobility work.
Let me know if you have any questions
hey Bman17, i’m going to go out on a limb and point you to a device that i started using and has done wonders with my injuries. I had a nagging elbow problem from poor KB form. it hung around for months and nothing i did helped it until i tried this device. it is a ICES Digiceutical A9a:
@ Bradley Betts- thanks a lot for the reply/advice. I have never been told that I have that specific syndrome. I have been told that the areas in back are weaker than front, I have scapula winging, and my upper trap is strong and overactive, while lower traps are very weak. These are all things that I just read are indications of UCS. I have been told all this by my phys therapist. Could you explain or give me a video on the wall angle test? also any specifics on what you did to fix it would be greatly appreciated. I am sure that I could have tendonosis as a by-product of UCS, instead of only having one or the other.
A weaker back vs. front can (and will eventually) lead to UCS and from my understanding UCS can lead into tendonitis conditions. If you google upper cross syndrome there are lots of good explanations of it and how to correct it. For myself, a day job of 10+ hours of sitting hunched in front a PC, plus lots of focus on pressing exercises and not much pulling sealed the deal. Thankfully it was simple to fix with some consistent effort on the rehab exercises.
Wall Angels – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO87HFVgsGo
There are not many good exercise videos on youtube, but this one kind of nails it. Back completely flat to the wall (no exceptions!), arms flat to the wall, 90 degress and try to press them over over your head. I have done these so many times the hair on my arms is gone from the friction but it was worth it to escape that constant pain. I still do them as part of my regular daily mob. The first time I did them I literally could not even bring my arms/shoulders to the wall without my back ‘breaking’ so its a good test.
I did a lot of things to fix it to keep it varied but in a nut shell:
– Stretched my pectorals (carefully) doing corner stretches
– Strengthen the weak back rotators
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRjreUQcTkQ << I followed a lot of this one
For dealing with the pain during it, me and the lacrosse ball got pretty intimate. For your it could be different (or entirely something else in fairness) but my infraspinatus was the major culprit, backed up by the supraspinatus. Again the quicky version is jam a lacrosse ball into your should blade area while against a wall and hunt around it until you find an awful spot (mine was down near the bottom of the blade tip near the mid back, plus about another dozen spotted through out the area). The first time I found it I swear to god I thought I was going to throw up. Rest up on it for as long and as hard as you can handle or until it relaxes. Google Infraspinatus or Supraspinatus self massage/trigger point for some examples.
I think a lot of these types of conditions are really tough to figure out because they can be very much individualized (why not a single of the half a dozen doctor and therapist I saw could diagnose it and I basically figured it out on my own). If it is some form of UCS for your case you need to hunt around when doing the trigger point stuff.
Hope this helps
For myself, I really just stuck to a ample amount of rehab exercises and soft tissue whenever I could do it (sometimes 3-4 times a day of 20-30 minutes each). I just googled a lot of different UCS exercises and rotated through them (prone cobras, arm circles, arm clock…thingers. I dont know the names of many of them :P). One thing I think should be driven home, that goes along with a lot of the Supple Leopard teachings is you need to do it every day, along with the soft tissue/lacrosse ball work on the back of the rotators and scapula muscles to help with the pain. Focusing on proper posture, bracing (as in the Supple Leopard), shoulders back and down also helps.
It took a few weeks to get rid of the constant pain and about 3 months before I was able to do most exercises again without it irritating the shoulders. As it got better I slowly started to add more and more exercises and gauged if they caused pain or not after. Bench Press is the only thing I cannot do without having a major flare up, so I have simply stopped doing it.
Almost 8 months later and I still need to keep up on the soft tissue and exercises, though not as frequently as at first. It is to be expected as I cannot realistically expect 7+ years of bad posture and poor ergonomics to resolve itself in a few months. The good news is that with the knowledge and tools its easy to manage the pain if it returns and its taking less and less work to fix flare ups and its happening less and less frequently. I am of the mindset that its likely going to take a couple years to completely resolve, but I have committed to making mobility a way of life if I want to keep training at this level.
Oh boy! I need to get better faster than that. I have been out of tennis for a while, and I need to get back full time on the court ASAP. I have started hitting lightly. Looks like I am going to have to go to ultra focused mode.
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Yes I agree with Bradly upper cross syndrome is a hell of a thing I have it as well and am dealing with it because of repetitive sports and reconditioning of some muscles in my back… Try that
Hey Frank! Could you give me some insight into what you’re are doing, and it has helped your shoulders sit back?
I am currently experimenting with a few different techniques to help correct my shoulder position.
Hey Bman and others any updates you can provide? Having on and off bicep pain for 5 months now that I think may be related to this. My chiro noticed I had tight pec minor and I often have tightness in neck and traps.