A crunchy shoulder that produces odd sensations?
August 18, 2011 6:26 AM   Subscribe

I have a knot or something similar in my left shoulder. I've been trying to work it out in the last week, and now I'm feeling a sensation that's very peculiar. Can someone explain what's causing it?

When I bunch my shoulder (contract it back towards my spine, then release), there's a distinct crunch and the feeling of something (ligament?) rubbing over something (bone?). None of that hurts (though it's all in response to a general muscle knot-esque pain). But after doing it a few times within a couple minutes, my entire shoulder becomes... uncomfortably giddy? This very physical feeling akin to hysterical euphoria. The best comparison I can come up with is that it feels like an anxiety attack that's happening only in my shoulder. Engaging any "crunchy" parts of my shoulder seems to produce similar results, but not to the same extent. Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this? What's going on? At the very least, are there more medical terms I can use to further investigate?
posted by ictow to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I think you might be experiencing something like what I get sometimes. My feeling is tight discomfort in my shoulder, accompanied by the fact that when I try to free-up the tightness by moving my shoulder around, I feel a sensation like clicking each time the joint passes a certain point. It's like a tight string is temporarily getting caught on something, then snapping past it. A doctor told me it was a tendon moving over bone. The solution for me is exercise: as long as I get in some arm and shoulder strength training every once in a while the problem stays away.
posted by Paquda at 7:15 AM on August 18, 2011

Response by poster: Yes, I definitely am experiencing crepitus. But it's the sensation that happens after the clicking/cracking/etc that I'm really curious to get more info on, because I've never experienced it before. It's the fact that it doesn't feel relaxed but restless that intrigues me.
posted by ictow at 7:22 AM on August 18, 2011

Response by poster: If anyone has similar problems, try looking into scapulothoracic bursitis. Still don't know about the weird feeling it's producing though.
posted by ictow at 8:23 AM on August 18, 2011

Best answer: Does Fasciculation sound at all familiar?

I've seen that happen in a horse's back when working out a particularly nasty knot. Apply a little pressure to the knot, muscles all along the back start twitching in place; it can last a while after you stop touching the knot.
posted by galadriel at 9:04 AM on August 18, 2011

Try graston bar technique at a physical therapist. I had the same thing. While it leaves nasty bruising, it was the only thing that worked out the knot.
posted by stormpooper at 9:28 AM on August 18, 2011

I had surgery a couple years ago for SLAP lesion, stands for SupraLabral Anterior-Posterior. Basically, its the "washer" between the shoulder's ball and socket. If it tears (which I'm not necessarily suggesting you have), a lot of crunchiness ensues.

My symptoms matched Paquda's pretty much exactly.I was constantly popping my shoulder, which didn't hurt nearly as much as the loudness of the popping would suggest. In fact, I lived with this problem for about 3 years before desperately seeking treatment.

f you intend to get this checked out, please do not just get an X-ray. They will tell you "there's no bone damage, so don't worry..." because really it sounds like an osteo- issue. But, your issue sounds like torn cartilage, or bursitis.
posted by obscurator at 12:56 PM on August 18, 2011

Response by poster: A doctor friend suggested it might be deep small muscle spasms causing the sensation. Jives with what galadriel suggested. I might try one of those electronic muscle simulators and see what that does.
posted by ictow at 1:09 PM on August 18, 2011

After you get to the root cause and sort it out, check your posture too. I had similar happen (frozen + spasms), had a chiro + physio unbind it all for me, then had it reoccur.

What I picked up on was - I'm a desk worker, I read a lot for my job and I was leaning all my weight through my left elbow, which was putting all sorts of weird sustained pressure through my shoulder.

I sorted my workstation out a bit so I could sit upright without leaning and within a couple of months it stopped happening.

Good luck!! =)
posted by bbtomo at 3:24 PM on August 18, 2011

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