Sudden Insane Muscle Atrophy
- 05-12-2011, 12:44 AM
Sudden Insane Muscle Atrophy
Well within one day my complete physique has changed. I woke up one morning with pains in my back after falling asleep in a weird position as I was watching TV. Worked out that day and an hour later I had intense pain in my back and then the next day my arm went numb. Worked out lightly to test my muscles and noticed that my right chest (pec) and tricep has lost over 70% mass and strength in two days -- actually maybe worse than 70%. Used to be able to do 12 dips with 100lb dumbell in between my legs. Then I noticed what looked like under my right pec my ribs shifted. Still trying to figure out how to fix this. ...depressing that I lost control of my health and physique. Any help is appreciated!
Doctors said I had a herniated disk in the C6-C7 area and said they were 99.9% sure but did not recommend an MRI since it would only rule out a tumor or it would be necessary only if I was getting surgery -- too young for that. Anyway, its been 4 months and my chest or triceps have not changed. I was stronger in the 5th grade, seriously. My left side is rock solid.
Anyone heard of this or have any ideas as to who I should see? I think I need a specialized physical therapist but cannot find anyone who has any experience "reawaking" muscles or "shifting" my ribcage back. ...actually still clueless why it looks like under my right pec that my ribcage is sticking out further than my left "solid" side. ...all in one bad nights sleep!
- 05-12-2011, 01:08 AM
I had a similar experience a few years ago. One day as I was warming up, my left arm failed to fire while warming up doing benches. What I could normally do 10 reps I could barely do one. The same thing was true when doing overhead db presses. I told my wife that I couldn't flex it & I thought it looked smaller. Sure enough I'd lost an inch.
My wife is an ob/gyn & she recommended that I see an Internist. The Internist noticed I had a "Winging Scapula". From what I can remember that has something to do w/a nerve not being free or working properly in the brachial plexus. The way the nerves innervate (sp?) is really strange if you ever see a nerve chart. Anyway, the Internist sent me to see an Orthopaedic surgeon (shoulder guy). Shoulder guy said it was in my neck & sent me to the neck specialist. Neck specialist had MRIs taken of my neck & brain. Spinal column showed a lesion which Radiologist said was typical of MS. Neck guy sends me to Neurologist. In the mean time, I'm not doing any weight lifting...only yoga, stretching & some p90x core type of stuff.
Anyway, neurologist puts me through an EMG, Evoked Response test, & a spinal tap. Oh, that 7 day headache was a major pain in the ass. In the end, the neurologist told me that all of my tests came back negative for MS, cancer or anything that could be detected. This all lasted for 3 months, my strength returned & the neurologist tells me to forget that the episode even happened.
I asked the neurologist if maybe I had a pinched nerve & it just worked its way out. He said that nerves are either dead or alive & they do not come back after dying. He used car crash victims as an example. I'm not buying that it is that black & white. I think I had some sort of stenosis/inflammation going on that was somehow constricting & not killing the nerve.
I did resume weight lifting but continued to incorporate yoga & stretching & didn't have any more issues. When I fail to occasionally work in stretching or yoga, I start getting pains in my shoulder blades & it is kind of painful when I look to the ceiling.
One other interesting thing is that when I was 17, now 39, I dove into an above ground swimming pool, landed on the bridge of my nose & had that flash of lightning when my neck cracked...was lucky to walk away uninjured. Anyway, I later learned from another orthopaedic guy that traumatic events can cause lesions on the spinal cord.
I would say either you could start w/a quality Internist & he can do some basic tests to determine who you should go see next, but I think you shouldn't play around & should definitely go see someone. Best of luck, I know how scary this can be.
- 05-16-2011, 01:41 PM
- 5'9" 180 lbs.
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
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this is terrifying? I'm so sorry this happened to you guys!
That's great you regained your strength heistroller; did you regain your mass as well?
Jgrigo, could you periodically keep me updated with your situation (e.g. your progress, what you're learning, potential explanations, etc)? It's both fascinating and frightening ala spontaneous combustion -- very sorry this happened to you!
05-16-2011, 01:57 PM
Without sounding like I am giving any medical advice it might be a good idea to go to someone who has an advanced knowledge of the spine and nervous system.
In the same way you can get stronger by using decompression exercises to gently open the intervertebral spaces it would make sense that any serious impingement of the brachial plexus could cause extreme weakness in at least one arm.
Edit: You have lost 70% mass in your arm i.e., circumference, not just strength?
05-17-2011, 12:37 PM
Red Dog, I was fortunate enough to regain my muscle mass...in my arm anyway. I once tore an ACL & was in an immobilizer for 8 weeks after the replacement. I've never regained the 2 inches I lost, so I'm familiar w/some things not coming back. I also mention this because my grandfather died of some unexplained muscular dystrophy in the 1940's in his late 40's. Ironically, I had genetic counseling done & I'm a carrier for SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy). Even though I'm supposedly only a carrier, any sort of muscle weakness or ligament injury does freak me out a bit.
05-19-2011, 01:00 AM
Sorry it was 70% strength and about in right pec about 50% mass. I will keep you guys posted, never had anything even close like this happen to me before. Its been 4 months now and although people think I am still in great shape, in my mind I have lost control of my body. ...sounds gay, but I have always been in control, i.e work harder, and see benefits -- with this, I am lost and working harder, better diet is not doing the trick. ...but I understand I need to figure this out. It really seems like my skeletal structure shifted. When I show people what it looks like right under my right pec, they freak out and think my rib cage has shifted. This falls in line with why my right side also feels tight -- I cannot stretch it that far b4 feeling the tension from the stretch. ...not sure if that makes sense as my brain feels like a fried egg right now. I think I am going to go to a Chiropractor who is also an exercise physiologist and specializes in sports injuries. ...just freaked out about letting anyone manipulate my body.
05-19-2011, 05:09 AM
I often feel bad in the morning after I wake up.
Is it just a problem of my habbits of sleep or it's a warning of my health?
05-19-2011, 03:42 PM
- 5'9" 180 lbs.
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- Jun 2007
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But yeah, not anywhere near what the OP is discussing!
05-23-2011, 07:30 PM
- 6'1" 230 lbs.
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- Oct 2006
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Sounds like damage to the brachial plexus... I had the same exact thing, although it was from severe compression of the collar bone and trapezious muscle, not a herniated disc.
Within 24 hours of the trauma, My right arm was not strong enough to lift a glass of water to my mouth. It slowly improved over time, but took roughly 3 months for me to be able to get back in the gym consistently... and another 3 months to build my strength back up
The atrophy is insane too... my right arm and chest shrank rapidly over the first month or so, but caught back up quickly once strength improved.
If there is still an issue of the disc compressing the nerve plexus, then you have to fix that problem before your going to see improvements. I would suggest talking to a chiropractor initially, as they may be able to make a few adjustments and see if tension is relieved on the nerve.
Once that is resolved, it's going to take several months to get back to where you were before the injury.
The best advice I can give is to make sure you are training the muscles to their potential, but don't get impatient and over do it or you will may reinjure, or cause new complications. Nerve damage is an extremely slow healing process, but consistent use will increase recovery time.
The ribcage thing is interesting... Is your back strength effected? If you damaged nerves that cause weakness in the supporting muscles around your scapula, then this could explain why your ribcage appears to be protruding.
05-27-2011, 12:42 AM
Anyway I hope I can follow in your foot steps. I still work out like crazy, just not as much weight and now form is most important to me. I started pilates which is actually having amazing results for me and I am using it to realign my wieght training program more for longevity. ...after all, it only takes one minor mistake to change your life.
05-09-2013, 03:36 PM
I think it is crazy that this happened to other people too. I woke up one day with severe pain in my lower right scapula and had numbess in my right arm and some fingers. After MRI's, Ortho doc's and chiropracters, nothing worked. Then I went and got a massage and it fixed the pain and the numbness within a few days of having it done, having the message therapist concentrate on the insides of my armpit and upper back/scapula areas. Now I still have the muscle atrophy in my right tricept and right inner/collar bone pec area. I am 5' 10" as well and weighed about 220 at the time it happened. No injury happened to have caused it. Anyone else using that cheap ass Body Fortress Whey Isolate, who knows what could have caused it but the dent in my chest and loss of strength is killing me.
09-25-2014, 12:14 AM
Well now I know what the hell is going on with me, and I cant wait to go doctor hopping and spending money. I know where my pain is, upper back between the shoulder blades. My left tricep and left peck lost 70% of strength, cant even do 1 dip. I don't have much pain anymore if any, since I know my herniation was sticking out the back, I avoided leaning forward, doing crunches, presses, leg presses etc. I keep my posture the best I can an do exercises like pull ups, pushups, curls..etc. this happened 4 weeks ago, i feel a tiny bit stronger, but I know I better get it checked out soon, and hope to god i get my strength and mass back. I read a lot about sticking with training carefully of course, otherwise the atrophy would het worse and worse. I also read a post where a neurologist said that people who get better, have always always always kept working out / PT. Any advice from anyone would be great, but I know its almost impossible to tell.
10-04-2014, 03:58 AM
10-04-2014, 01:23 PM
10-08-2014, 09:26 PM
Mate. Get an MRI to rule out herniated disks.
I really think this sounds like TRIANGULAR INTERVAL SYNDROME. The tricep (radial nerve) and axilar nerve may impinge by the teres major, minor and long tricep head. This, when the subscap is not properly holding the humeral head (arm bone) in the shoulder blade socket. If the pain was in the back of your shoulder, then I think it's pretty much confirmed as nerve damage/entrapment, whatever.
I've had some clients with this, and the docs rarely know about it as it's usually a training injury and therefore rare. It will rarely happen to the general population. Releasing the teres maj/min, lats and long triceps head should yield almost immediate results. Also the subscap should test very weak on strength and function tests.
If there's also athropy in the lats, could mean TOS (thoracic outlet syndrome), but you should feel neck pain. The lats are innervated by the thoracodorsal nerve, which is a subsection of the brachial plexus:
What you need, if my suspected diagnosis is correct: muscle activation of rotator cuff and likely the shoulder blade stabilisers. Manual therapy and release of the compensators of these muscles (mentioned already).
If the problem is TOS, manual release of pec minor and scalenius muscles, and exercises to promote proper breathing and scapular posterior rotation may greatly benefit.
As you can see, (middle posterior nerve cord = lats) they're all passing through the cavity below the pectoralis minor, and cmopression here is typical TOS.
Both TOS and TIS both are viable diagnosis that you may further investigate mate.
Wish you the best of luck!
10-26-2014, 12:50 AM
Had this problem as well. Burning pain in right scapula last October for about a week. The day the pain went away I lost about 80% of the strength in my right tricep and pec. And severe atrophy followed, no more horseshoe just a gooey tricep.
Went to a few docs, MRI, Nerve conduction study, and got no answers.
Started self treatment with chiropractor/massage therapy, and working that side twice as hard.
A year later my strength, and size are better than ever. I just worry about losing my strength overnight again.
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