Suprascapular neuropathy after intensive progressive resistive exercise: Case report

J. C. Agre, N. Ash, M. C. Cameron, J. House

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52 Scopus citations


A healthy 30-year-old man developed pain in the posterior shoulder region approximately one month after initiating an intensive weightlifting program to increase upper extremity strength. This program especially emphasized shoulder abduction exercises. The pain intensified as he continued and finally he noted weakness of the involved shoulder, which led him to seek medical advice. Examination was normal except for atrophy of the infraspinatus muscle on the involved side and decreased strength of shoulder abduction and external rotation. Electromyographic examination demonstrated 3+ positive sharp waves in the infraspinatus muscle, delayed conduction to the supraspinatus muscle, and absence of an evoked response to the infraspinatus muscle. Surgical decompression of the suprascapular nerve within the suprascapular notch was then performed. Two weeks after surgery the pain was much less and the conduction velocities had improved. Eight months after surgery the patient was free of pain, the conduction velocities had returned to normal, and electromyography revealed reinnervation of the denervated muscle fibers. Intensive shoulder exercise, especially involving repeated forceful abduction movements, should be considered in the etiology of suprascapular neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-238
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987


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