You are here:

Sports Medicine/Problem with shoulder joint and biceps


First of all, I would like to thank you for taking time to answer my question.

I am a recreational bodybuilder working out since last 4 years. I am gaining muscles and burning fat.

Recently I encountered these two problems on my Right side:

1.   There is a stiffness in the right shoulder joint. It does not hurt normally. Only when I lift heavier weights I feel it. Mainly during, bench press or dumbbell flies. The stiffness is very much inside the joint, close to place where the bones meet. It is not in the muscles. I am not being able to lift properly because of this. It had been a more than a month. I am stretching it regularly but no relief. I remember having this problem back when I started. But then, it was there for a couple of week only.

2.   The bicep muscle of my right hand is sore. It hurts when I lift (it do not hurt otherwise). Strength is much reduced. I am not working the biceps now, allowing it to relax. But it is affecting my Chest, back, and shoulder workouts as well.

I am taking a protein supplement (Ultimate Nutrition: Prostar), it should have repaired the muscles. But it had not.

I am 35, male. Can you please indicate some corrective measures.

Hello Milind!

Thank you for writing me about your problem.  From what you are saying, the pain is only on the right side.  This indicates an injury of some sort.  I say this because  when you are working out with weights, flies, etc., you are using both upper extremities.  But when one side is injured, it affects the whole area as in your upper back, neck, and shoulder.  

My guess is that some way you had loaded that arm, and either twisted or lifted a heavy weight without balancing the body.  From that maneuver, you might have torn some of the tendon fibers that surround the shoulder.  With the weakness in the articular capsule, this might have put too much strain on the muscles attached to the shoulder joint, ie: the bicep tendon.  The tendons in the body attach the muscles to the bones, and when the tendon is affected, the muscles will become weakened, and that is where you feel pain in your biceps when you use your right hand.

To try to stretch it out will only cause more pain, so I would not suggest you use the right arm for anything more strenuous than picking up a glass of water! As you had mentioned, now the back and neck are painful, and this is the secondary cause of the bicep injury due to the articular tendon around the shoulder.  Sounds complex, but it is very easy to understand if you have a picture of the shoulder, and all the soft tissue that attaches to....and

As a remedy for your problem, I strongly suggest you visit a large hospital close to you, and ask the receptionist if there is an American-trained Orthopedic doctor practicing in the hospital.  Find the name(s), and get a telephone number for them.  Call each one to ask if they would see you for your shoulder pain. You will probably need an MRI to define the injury, and from there, micro-surgery might be needed so you can become strong again.  But, make sure you have found a very GOOD Orthopedic surgeon.  Your supplements will not work, resting it for months or years will not work, ice will help, but not heal, and anti-inflammatories won't do anything but give you ulcers.

So, before you do anything else, make sure you see the specific doctor for treating your shoulder.

Thank you again for your note, and I wish you luck in getting your strength back.  Please let me know how you are doing.

Dr. Patricia Arthur

Sports Medicine

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr. Patricia B. Arthur, DC, MRC, CST


As a 30-year practicing Chiropractic Physician, my specialty was Sports Medicine. For 8 years I had the distinct pleasure of working with the USOC, and traveled the world to care for the athletes in the Pre-Olympic venues for the Summer Games. When I wasn't traveling, I had a private practice, and a hospital practice, in Kamuela, Hawai'i. Questions I couldn't answer usually dealt with pharmeceuticals. This was not my expertise, but the simple questions pertaining to familiar drugs I was able to digress, or refer to someone that was knowledgable in that field. Most Sports Medicine field injuries were familiar to me, but I always aired on the side of caution. In my office practice, I would tend to see more patients with the weekend injuries who would try to self-treat, only making the injury worse than it should have been! Nevertheless, I never took anything for granted, and so it was my conservative approach to the "cause-and-effect" mechanisms that were vitally important to the healing process.


Following my competitive nature, I knew Sports Medicine would always be a part of my life. After graduation from Palmer University in Iowa, the old adage taught at the school dealt only with the spinal column......anything connected to the spine was outside our scope of practice. To me, this was too simplistic, because the complex body also had arms and legs! From this point, I developed specific technigues which would encorporate the body as a whole rather than haphazard segments. There is nothing traumatic that happens to a single ligament, tendon or joint that doesn't effect a secondary, or possibly a tertiary element in that area. In order for that space to heal, all the factors must be addressed. Volunteering my time teaching referrees, coaches, and interested parents about the realities of probable sports injuries was worth a thousand words!j

American Chiropractic Association; Local Emergency Response Committee; Hazardous Materials Response Team; Urban Search and Rescue Team - Operations and Planning; Federal Corps of Engineers Committee; Earthquake Advisory Board; Big Island Wildfire Committee

Papers published focusing on the importance of proper care of sports injuries; Authored medical columns for the syndicated magazine "The People's Doctor "; Published papers in professional journals on Head Injuries in Sports; Published papers on Drug Abuse in Sports.

Robert Packer Hospital - Certified Surgical Technician - CST; Palmer University - Doctor of Chiropractic - D.C.; Wright State University - Masters in Counseling/Psychology; Wright State University - Masters In Couseling of the Severely Disabled.

Awards and Honors
Selected US Olympic Physician -1988; Graduated Wright State University with a 3.75 GPA; Graduated Palmer University with a 3.5 GPA; Faculty Appointment - Palmer University Post Graduate Education; Faculty Appointment- Hawai'i/Kapiolani Community College - Skills Team Tester;

Past/Present Clients
Cincinnati Bengals Football Team pre-season training; Summer Olympic Athletes worldwide; Kona Ironman Triathletes - Finish - line physician

©2016 All rights reserved.