/ Arm and shoulder ache when running

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gazhbo - on 19 Jul 2013
If I'm pushing it out in the last mile or so of a run I seem to get really achey arms back and shoulders. My legs and lungs feel like they've got a bit left in them but I can't really go any more because of my shoulders and arms. Anyone got any explanation or advice?
koalapie - on 20 Jul 2013
In reply to gazhbo: Probably neck or upper back problem but you also want a medical screen for slightly unusual symptoms such as this. A decent physio ought to be enough to start with but if persistent see your doctor.
kathrync - on 20 Jul 2013
In reply to gazhbo:

I got pain in my arm and shoulder when I started running too. For me, it was mostly about being too tense - when I relaxed it went away.

I've been running regularly for about 4 years now and I still get it sometimes, but usually only when I am worrying about something else which makes me tense - or at the end of a race when I am pulling all the stops out.

I also used to get intercostal cramps which also went away when I started relaxing more and were probably also related to being tense. I also have one sports bra that seems to cause me similar problems, although looking at your profile, I doubt that's your problem!

As for how to solve it, if I am racing I tend to just push through it because it always backs off pretty quick once I stop. Mental distraction techniques work pretty well for me - if I focus on the pain I just get more tense and it gets worse so I play stupid games in my head instead.

If I am doing a training run and just getting some miles in without the time being important, I will often stop and swing my arms around a bit to loosen them up. Making sure I am breathing smoothly and all the way out seems to help me and sometimes attempting to change my breathing pattern slightly helps (this may just be because it's distracting though).

I also spent some time focussing on my running form - I used to run with quite hunched shoulders, especially when I was going all out, and the thing that has helped me most has been focussing on relaxing my upper body and making sure that my shoulders are dropped and not pulled forwards when I run. I suspect that this is what goes wrong when I still get pain when pushing it for a race.

gazhbo - on 21 Jul 2013
In reply to kathrync:

Thanks for the reply. I've been running for about 12 years so it's not starting out issues. I agree it's probably about tension and form. I try to relax my shoulders but if I drop them any more I'd just be dangling my arms uselessly beside me.

I guess the answer is to relax as much as possible and then either ease up or put up with it and push through it.

In reply to koalapie:

I don't think it requires any intervention. It's not so much pain as fatigue, I just find it strange that my arms and shoulders seem to be giving out before my legs. It stops as soon as I stop or even ease off a bit. I climb a lot and don't have any issues with the same muscle groups then.
Steff - on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to gazhbo:

As others have said, tension might be an issue. One thing to bare in mind though are possible heart issues which may result in shoulder and arm pain.
I would probably go for a health check just in case.
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Bob kate bob on 22 Jul 2013
In reply to gazhbo: If you climb a lot you might have over developed your shoulders compared with other muscles. If you see climbers and especially boulderers when they develop muscles they often end up with hunched shoulders. You might need to look at balancing your muscles. Maybe a trip to a physio for advice?

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