Overhead athletes tend to have the biggest problems with shoulder pain because they’re constantly putting pressure on the very complex shoulder joint. Overhead sports include baseball, tennis, volleyball, handball, and other activities where participants regularly throw or hit. Sometimes these shoulder injuries cause nothing more than mild, occasional pain. Other times they can lead to serious problems requiring surgery. Even the mildest shoulder pain should be treated with care, as it’s usually a sign of bigger problems to come.
In this article, you’ll discover 3 ways to prevent shoulder pain in overhead athletes. With this information, you can avoid shoulder pain without risking surgery or eliminating sports or certain activities from your life.
The shoulder is considered a ball-and-socket joint, which means that it gives a full range of motion. Although a little more complex than the name suggests, the shoulder is essentially a ball in a socket surrounded with ligaments, tendons, and muscles that help it function in that full range of motion.
The complexity that makes shoulder joints so unique and versatile is the same thing that makes them susceptible to injury.
Most shoulder pain is the result of overuse and repetitive stress to various aspects of the joint. Below are a few of the most common shoulder injuries among overhead athletes.
Luckily, you can reduce the risk of these injuries and other types of shoulder pain with regular exercise, stretching, proper posture, proper form, and education.
A 2017 study of 660 handball players showed that a simple, 10-minute routine done three times a week saw a significant reduction in shoulder injuries among the participating athletes. While it’s best to have a professional present to help you with form and performance, you can incorporate the following exercises into your warm-up routine.
Note: To add resistance, hold a light medicine ball or weight in your hands.
If at any point you feel pain during these exercises, you should contact a professional before doing them again.
The exercises above can give you a baseline warmup that can help you prevent shoulder pain. You can also view more general tips on preventing shoulder pain here. However, if it persists, a chiropractor can help shoulder pain. Often, the cause of shoulder pain in athletes is a gradual misalignment that is almost inevitable with overuse.
Chiropractors can not only help to realign your shoulder, but they can give you further exercises to do so you never have to deal with shoulder pain again. No matter the cause of your shoulder pain, a professional can help you determine the right course so you can keep enjoying an active, athletic lifestyle.
Written By Dr Wells.
Shoulder pain in the overhead throwing athlete
Prevention of shoulder injuries in overhead athletes: a science-based approach
Preventing overuse shoulder injuries among throwing athletes
The OSTRC Shoulder Injury Prevention Programme
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