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Burning Sensation in the Shoulder Muscles After Lifting Weights

author image Miguel Cavazos
Miguel Cavazos is a photographer and fitness trainer in Los Angeles who began writing in 2006. He has contributed health, fitness and nutrition articles to various online publications, previously editing stand-up comedy and writing script coverage as a celebrity assistant. Cavazos holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and political science from Texas Christian University.
Burning Sensation in the Shoulder Muscles After Lifting Weights
Inflamed soft tissues around your shoulder may cause shoulder pain after weightlifting. Photo Credit Barry Austin/Digital Vision/Getty Images

A burning sensation in your shoulder muscles after lifting weights may be a sign of shoulder tendonitis. You may develop shoulder tendonitis in your rotator cuff or where your bicep tendon meets the shoulder. Shoulder tendonitis is common among athletes who move the hand above the head for sports, such as weightlifting, surfing, swimming, rock climbing and baseball.


You may experience a painful burning sensation where your upper arm meets your shoulders during early stages of shoulder tendonitis. Pain may spread throughout your shoulder muscles and rotator cuff as the condition progresses. Your shoulders may feed tender, and swelling may occur with more severe cases of shoulder tendonitis. Pain may occur after exercise but may occur during exercise or at any other time. You may experience pain if you put sleep on the injured shoulder. Reaching overhead may also produce or worsen the pain.


Repetitive, minor impact on your shoulder may cause tendonitis. Weight training, gardening, raking, carpentry and tennis may lead to tendonitis. Sudden and more severe injuries to your shoulders may cause tendonitis. Performing exercises incorrectly or using incorrect posture, poor stretching or insufficient warm-up before your exercise can increase your risk of developing the condition. Rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, thyroid disorders or unusual medication reactions can produce undue stress that leads to shoulder tendonitis.


Initial treatment involves rest, compression, elevation and anti-inflammatory medication. Applying an ice pack at the pain site 15 to 20 minutes every four to six hours for three to five days may help acute cases of tendonitis. Ultrasound therapy can warm deep tissues in your shoulder and improve blood flow. A doctor may administer corticosteroid drugs through your skin directly over the inflamed tendon. Sports massage can increase circulation to the area. Sports injury specialists may gradually introduce light stretching and strength exercises. Your doctor may perform arthroscopic or open surgery to repair damage and relieve pressure on the tendons if your condition does not improve after six to 12 months.


You may prevent burning sensations in your shoulder or reduce the severity by warming up and performing some light stretching before lifting weights. Strengthening the muscles around the joint and taking breaks from repetitive shoulder movements can reduce your chances of experiencing pain. Practice good posture, and avoid sitting still for extended periods of time. Increase the demands of your workout gradually and avoid putting too much sudden pressure on your shoulder.

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