My forearms are KILLING me!!

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    Jan 13, 2009 3:56 AM GMT
    My forearms have been killing me for a long, long time now, and it's mainly when i do biceps excercises. Imagine having shin splints in your forearms, that's pretty much what it's like. Let's see... trying to figure out the best way to explain this, haha.

    Hold your left arm out in front of you... it's the left side of the forearm, where the muscle of the bottom part of the forearm meets the bone. It hurts on my right arm too, same place. That's the best I can explain it. Has anybody else had this problem? Just want to know what would cause it and how i can help heal it. My old trainer told me it was because I wasnt' gripping my weight hard enough, but I have a hard time placing trust in this answer since when I grip it harder, it hurts more. He told me it was nothing to take a break from working out for, but ... he's not really the smartest of trainers. Any advice?
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    Jan 13, 2009 4:40 AM GMT
    You might wanna consider less masturbation icon_razz.gif

    But seriously, what kind of weight are you doing for your biceps?
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    Jan 13, 2009 4:52 AM GMT
    With forearm pain with exercises it can either be neural or muscular in nature so it takes a health care professional, usually either a physical/occupational therapist, or athletic trainer to differentiate between them, although both can be caused by similar impairments, typically either repetitive improper form, moderate forearm muscle tightness (including forearm pronators and supinators), or your forearm musculature are not strong enough to support the weight that you are lifting for your biceps. Ulnar nerve impingement, Compartment type syndromes, Flexor mass strains or tendonitis, and even carpal tunnel syndrome can all cause the type of symptoms you are stating, so if it is severe enough that it is limiting your lifting routine or your daily activities then you should see a therapist. If it is only minor then try some forearm stretches as well as a strengthening program for your forearm muscles (be sure to start with lighter weights and perform in pain-free motions) and see how it responds.
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    Jan 13, 2009 4:55 AM GMT
    It sounds like you have an inflammation thing going.

    Here's a test, that's cheap and easy. Lay off the arms movement for a few days. During that time you can take ibuprofen at at 400mg (2 pills) 3 times a day (doctor might put you on four times a day for 1600 total, but, you should be just fine with 1200). If the thing calms down, you need to look at doing higher reps, or perhaps stricter form.

    The NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, lower inflammation, and will make it feel better, but, your body is giving you pain because something is wrong. You need to figure out what it is.

    I'd say your trainer probably needs to go. The advice he gave you probably doesn't have much to do with your issue.

    Don't take the OTC ibuprofen at the higher level for a real long time.

    Over my 33 years of lifting, even when I try hard not to, from time to time I'll have inflammation here or there. It's just about impossible to keep from doing it.

    If you're a neophyte lifter, you need to give your body's supporting systems time to adapt to the intensity that weight training provides.

    Steady as she goes.

    If slowing down, NSAIDs, and form adjustment don't give you some relief, you can see a medical pro.

    In my experience, with the stuff, a lot of the medical guys are clueless on athletic stuff. I've had doctors want to cut on me when the condition went away spontaneously. If you see a doctor, make sure they have some clue in dealing with athletes.

    I've seen this many times in young men who lift low reps, but, don't get the blood supply in, by high reps, to get the attachments and supporting tissue to adapt. It can be very painful for them.

    Good form. Moderate to high reps (8 to 25). Full range of motion. Angonist and antagonist (both sides).

    Let the pain be your guide.

    There's good pain from a good workout.
    There's warning pain, saying you are doing something wrong.
    There's the pain of hurt, saying stop now, you've really messed up.
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    Jan 13, 2009 5:21 AM GMT
    Alright, i'll try that, thanks guys. Not sure if it helps much, but the pain only comes when i release my grips on the weight. While i'm actually lifting the weights I'm completely fine. Guess I'll try to speak to a good doctor either way. I've got goals to meet.
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    Jan 13, 2009 6:11 AM GMT
    Yep...sounds like inflammation. If it is, the ibuprofen will calm it down in just a few days, but, you're probably lifting to hard.

    Inflammation can REALLY hurt sometimes. You might have a bit of separation going on to, but, most likely it's inflammation.

    Every once in a while I'll get carried away with a 55 pounder doing triceps extensions in perfect form and get my elbow flared up. If I calm down a bit, it does, too.

    A good physical therapist can determine pretty quickly what's up.

    I'd try the obvious thing first, and go from there.

    You might want to do some forearm work, at high reps, to increase the blood flow to that area.

    A lot of times, the movement that is hardest is the one you need to work on.
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    Jan 13, 2009 6:34 AM GMT
    Try using a cambered bar instead of a straight bar, when doing barbell curls.

    Also, add some forearm exercises to your routine.
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    Jan 13, 2009 6:35 AM GMT
    Had the same problem a few months back.

    Chiropractor advised me to hold off on barbell curls for a while and switch more to dumbell curls, even use more preacher curls; with the barbell, your arms tend to lock and put more pressure on the forearms.

    Also, do my forearm focused exercises to go with your bicep work. I tried all this and the pain went away fast.
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    Jan 13, 2009 6:38 AM GMT
    Oh, yeah...forgot to mention...use dumbbells in independent movements. Using barbells, and especially the E-Z, bar, can really mess with your lower arms....great to mention that.

    Best one for stretching and independent double-ended movement: incline dumbbell curls, and behind the head triceps extensions with a single dumbbell.

    The darn barbells limit your range of motion and bind on your joints.

    We RARELY do barbell movements on upper body in an effort to stay healthy.

    Dumbbells are so much better for full range of motion, stretch, and ancillary groups.
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    Jan 13, 2009 6:43 AM GMT
    Yeah, I'm sticking with the dumbbells mainly to work those stabilizer muscles as well. I'll need to raid the pantry and see if we have some ibuprofin, i'm sure i saw some somewhere... *dives in the medicine cabinet*
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    Jan 13, 2009 1:09 PM GMT
    "In my experience, with the stuff, a lot of the medical guys are clueless on athletic stuff. I've had doctors want to cut on me when the condition went away spontaneously. If you see a doctor, make sure they have some clue in dealing with athletes."

    This has been my experience too. If it is just a physical issue I go straight to the physio/PT and save myself the referral
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    Jan 13, 2009 1:43 PM GMT
    Nobody should be recommending to anyone to take any kind of medicine unless they have a medical degree and know your health history and allergies.

    If you get the ok from a doctor that it is not a pathology or rip in soft tissue, and most likely inflammation of soft tissue, a massage therapist with a medical background would be an option. If a doctor has given you clearance, it very well could be a contracted tricep or posterior deltoid causing the problem.

    Do you stretch, especially after a workout? Weight training teaches muscles to remain in a contracted phase and in doing so puts stress on connecting tendons and ligaments continuously.

    If your trainer does not responded to your comments about your continuous pain, dump them. It is not because you do not hold the weight tight enough, if anything it is the way you hold the weight or too much weight too soon. There is some pain to muscle growth, but anything more than 3 days should be a warning.

    Good luck.
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    Jan 13, 2009 6:45 PM GMT
    Even at high dose levels, ibuprofen is safe, and that's why it's so widely used and over the counter. It goes without saying that the poster is likely informed with regard to any allergy to NSAIDs.

    Running off to the doctor for every little thing is why health care costs are out of control.

    If the ibuprofen calms it down, we all win.

    The ibuprofen is FDA approved, which is more than we can say for a lot of advice.

    It's o.k. to use some common sense from time to time.
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    Jan 13, 2009 7:00 PM GMT
    Sounds like tendonitis which would be aggravated if you're trying to grip the weight bar harder. Try to grip with your hand and not your fingers or switch to cables and machines for a few weeks and see if that helps. Google tennis elbow and golfer's elbow and see if those symptoms match yours and then do the stretches and exercises that they recommend for the forearm. See a sports medical physician if you can if that doesn't work. Taking ibuprofen will treat the symptom but not the problem, so i would suggest trying to solve the problem first.
  • auryn

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    Jan 13, 2009 7:47 PM GMT
    Seems to me that the strain you're putting on your forearm flexors has caused adhesions that need to be worked out. There are self massage and hydro-therapy techniques that you can apply to help.

    Ibuprofen will dull the pain, but not fix it. Provided that you haven't done any lasting damage --which I doubt is the case since you feel the pain when you're releasing your grip-- you should just need to get massage and learn to stretch your forearms properly after bicep curls.

    One thing you can do to massage is to sit down, rest your arm on your lap (palm side up), use your opposite arm and press that arm into the arm on your lap and make a slow, waving motion with the hand on the bottom. As you're pressing, slowly move the top arm toward your bicep (you should feel a slight stretch as your hand goes down --if you feel pain, lighten up the pressure on top arm). When your massaging arm comes to the top of your forearm, use your palm and make lighter circular motions until your hand gets back to your wrist.
    rinse and repeat.

    You should only have to do a two or three passes. Then stretch your wrists (your forearm muscles attach to your hands) then lightly rub your arms to keep the blood moving.

    If your arms are really tender, dunk them in cold or ice water and rest them.

    But get to a massage therapist and have them give your arms some extra work. Should only take a 1/2 hour or less of spot treatment.
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    Jan 13, 2009 8:08 PM GMT
    You really don't need to see a specialist on this matter if it's not keeping you from doing day-to-day activity.

    I had the same problem in my elbows and shoulders when I first started lifting heavy for my chest and triceps. I lifted light with high volume and took ibuprofen before my workouts for about a month and a half until I stopped getting pain in my elbows.

    I've also managed to tweak my forearms exactly like reedw doing curls, and it's easily fixed with a week off followed by ibuprofen and lifting light for a couple weeks until it finally heals.
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    Jan 13, 2009 8:35 PM GMT
    Actually, adhesions are a nice way of saying scar tissue, and it's very unlikely that you have that going on. If you do, most times, you'll hear a snap as the adhesion rolls by.

    Adhesions are fibrous bands that form between tissues and organs, often as a result of injury during surgery. They may be thought of as internal scar tissue. In the case of frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) adhesions grow between the shoulder joint surfaces, restricting motion.

    Almost certainly you've just got a bit of inflammation going on, and you need an anti-inflammatory, get some blood in (high reps will work well), and a bit of recovery / rest.

    Often, the simplest solution is the right one.

    The whole adhesions idea, at your training level, is a pretty big stretch.
  • auryn

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    Jan 14, 2009 4:51 AM GMT
    Not really chuckystud,

    Adhered tissue can be caused due to micro-tears in connective tissue from Repetitive Strain Injuries. There are some things that a person can do on his own to keep the problem from being exacerbated. Cold hydrotherapy can help the inflammation that you are so apt to consider to be the problem.

    Not seeing reedw face to face, and palpating his arms, I can only give an opinion based on my experience and education. Whether you agree with it or not is not important. I simply provide a brief example of what can be done without him having to spend money, if he doesn't have any.

    We may disagree, and that's ok, but it's not a big stretch to say that he has adhered tissue that can easily be addressed. His pain as he releases his grip tells me so. However, inflammation is a symptom, not a cause.
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    Jan 16, 2009 10:29 AM GMT
    Again, NOBODY should be recommending anyone to take any medication unless prescribed by a medical professional with knowledge of the patient's health and history.

    Even ibuprofen has side effects and drug interactions.

    DRUG INTERACTIONS: Ibuprofen is associated with several suspected or probable interactions that can affect the action of other drugs. Ibuprofen may increase the blood levels of lithium (Eskalith) by reducing the excretion of lithium by the kidneys. Increased levels of lithium may lead to lithium toxicity. Ibuprofen may reduce the blood pressure-lowering effects of drugs that are given to reduce blood pressure. This may occur because prostaglandins play a role in the regulation of blood pressure. When ibuprofen is used in combination with aminoglycosides [for example, gentamicin (Garamycin)] the blood levels of the aminoglycoside may increase, presumably because the elimination of aminoglycosides from the body is reduced. This may lead to aminoglycoside-related side effects. Individuals taking oral blood thinners or anticoagulants [for example, warfarin (Coumadin)] should avoid ibuprofen because ibuprofen also thins the blood, and excessive blood thinning may lead to bleeding.

    PREGNANCY: There are no adequate studies of ibuprofen in pregnant women. Therefore, ibuprofen is not recommended during pregnancy. Ibuprofen should be avoided in late pregnancy due to the risk of premature closure of the ductus arteriosus in the fetal heart..

    NURSING MOTHERS: Ibuprofen is not excreted in breast milk. Use of ibuprofen while breastfeeding, poses little risk to the infant.

    SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects from ibuprofen are rash, ringing in the ears, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and heartburn. NSAIDs reduce the ability of blood to clot and therefore increase bleeding after an injury. Ibuprofen may cause ulceration of the stomach or intestine, and the ulcers may bleed. Sometimes, ulceration can occur without abdominal pain, and black, tarry stools, weakness, and dizziness upon standing (orthostatic hypotension) due to bleeding may be the only signs of an ulcer. NSAIDs reduce the flow of blood to the kidneys and impair function of the kidneys. The impairment is most likely to occur in patients who already have impaired function of the kidney or congestive heart failure, and use of NSAIDs in these patients should be cautious. People who are allergic to other NSAIDs, including aspirin, should not use ibuprofen. Individuals with asthma are more likely to experience allergic reactions to ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. Fluid retention (edema), blood clots, heart attacks, hypertension and heart failure have also been associated with the use of NSAIDs.
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    Jan 16, 2009 10:54 AM GMT
    I used to have te same pain, it wasn't due to the grip on bicep excersises, but the grip involved in back excersises.
    My brother in law is the trainer for the Detroit Tigers (he does not lift wieghts, but deals in sports medicine as the liason between the team, and the team doctor)
    he advised me to use lifting hooks, or straps to lessen my grip on those excersise, while continuing to lift, and to take anti-inflamatory, such as ibuprofren
    Since then I have no pain, I also work with my hands everyday, so that pain was interfereing with work.
    try that
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    Jan 18, 2009 10:21 PM GMT
    I use straps for pulling (puts the weight into my back and not in my hands).

    I use wraps for chest, tris, and bis.


    If I'm doing heavy legs presses (over 800 or so), or heavy squats, (over 315 or so), I'll wrap my knees, too.


    Without doubt,, has the most bad ass lifting gear.
  • puttputt

    Posts: 254

    Jan 19, 2009 7:52 AM GMT
    I had the same problem 2 years ago, and they were tendon related. Switched to a lighter weight and only did preacher curls for about a month or two and it went away.
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    Jan 19, 2009 8:19 AM GMT