The Guru asks Michael for more information about his ganglion cyst when diagnosing forearm pain

July 22, 2015


I’ve been lifting weights for a couple of years now and several months ago I began to experience a dull, intense aching pain in my left forearm during certain exercises. It seems to happen (always, in fact), when doing straight bar bicep curls in the supinated position. Doing overhand grip, pronated curls isn’t as bad, and neither are neutral grip hammer curl style exercises.

The pain occurs mainly during the lift and is most intense immediately after I as a release the bar /dumbbell, and then it goes completely. The pain tends to fluctuate in intensity, and has recently started bleeding into other exercises, such as presses. There is a slight pain when making a fist, although I just did some forearm stretches and this has now gone.

I’m not sure if it’s relevant, but I had a ganglion cyst in this hand/wrist which took 8 months to heal (recovered in January) and has now largely gone; the pain was not there prior to the ganglion and has come on since, although I’m not sure if there’s any relationship.

I’m not sure if it’s tight muscles, fascia, a tendon problem, or something else, and I’ve looked all over the internet for a solution.


The Guru would like more information about the ganglion

Where was the ganglion? Inside/outside/top/bottom – it may well have some relevance.

This may well be nerve related rather than perhaps more obviously fatigue and vascular issue.

Is there anyway you could repeat a comparable exercise is standing and then do the same thing with same weight in lying with your head supported?

Things like tendons and fascia do tighten or stiffen, but there is generally a reason and cause – you want to change this and not just alter the symptoms by stretching.

Let me know.

The Guru

Michael follow-up with more details:

Hi Guru,

The ganglion was relatively central and quite high up in the hand towards the wrist joint. I had an MRI and my specialist told me it was large. But it was also so deep that it couldn’t be seen externally or picked up through ultrasound. So I’d say more on the top, but perhaps around the middle of the hand.

Also, there is pain when not doing exercises if I apply pressure. There is some pain when I apply pressure to the left (medial) side of the anterior part of my forearm about halfway up, but it is most intense when I apply pressure directly to the side about halfway up. However, when apply pressure, the pain lessens  when I put by forearm straight out in front of me; it’s only intense when I’m holding my forearm vertically in front of me as if tensing my biceps or pulling something downwards (I hope these descriptions make sense.)

If you mean lying flat on my back with my head supported and performing curls to the side of the bed/sofa, then yes, there is still pain. In fact, in this position where there is constant leverage being placed on the forearm, the pain was probably more intense.

Thanks for your help.


July 22, 2015


I’m not sure! You’ve got some things that sound like definite neural signs, some things that sound like definite tendinopathy signs, some enthesis signs and some signs of muscle imbalance.

As I think as it sounds as if gym life is quite high on your agenda and you’ve got a collection of differing symptoms, it may be well worth your while in getting then checked – it’ll speed your journey from A to B.

I can suggest things like adequate thoracic mobility, good form, more eccentric control and slower, through range less weight reps.

Or if all fails give yourself a breather for 2 weeks then slowly return with smaller more controlled reps….

The Guru

Guru Responded

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