Your shoulder is a complex joint that is highly versatile and makes it possible to participate in a wide variety of sports. If you’re into sports that rely on shoulder movements, you may be at increased risk for experiencing a painful shoulder injury.
Experienced pain management specialists, Firas Hijazi, MD, and Satvik Munshi, MD, understand how disruptive a sports-related shoulder injury can be. They offer comprehensive care for common shoulder conditions that take you out of the game at LA Pain Doctor.
The physicians also value the importance of preventing injuries and provide a variety of resources to help you protect your shoulder and other joints. They provide some simple tips to follow to keep your shoulder functioning optimally and reduce your risk for sports-related injuries and permanent damage.
5 tips for preserving your shoulder health
There are several things you can do before, during, and after the game to preserve full range of motion in your shoulder joint and prevent injuries, like rotator cuff tears, impingement, and fractures.
Here are some recommendations from the team at LA Pain Doctor:
1. Don’t forget your pre-game stretch
At the heart of your shoulder is your rotator cuff, a group of tendons and muscles that provide you with range of motion and stability. The rotator cuff also keeps your shoulder in its socket as you move around to prevent a dislocation.To ensure this connective tissue is ready for action, you should engage in stretching exercises before and after the game.
A simple shoulder stretch involves reaching one arm up and over your head and then fold your arm so your hand reaches down your back (similar to the motions of scratching your own back) then repeat with the other arm.
Next, draw an extended arm across your chest and hold it there with your other arm, repeating again on the other side.
You can also increase your blood circulation by doing windmill motions — moving your arms forward and back, and then swinging them from side to side.
2. Build up your muscles
In between your sports-related activities, spend some time in the gym with weights to strengthen the muscles that support your shoulder joint.
To protect your shoulders during weight training, make sure that all of the components of your joint and arm are working together to share the workload. Not using all components can put pressure on surrounding tendons or ligaments, which can lead to painful tissue tears.
3. Watch out for repetitive use injuries
Many shoulder injuries occur because of repetitive stresses that cause damage over time and ultimately lead to a breaking point, such as a painful rotator cuff tear.
While it’s great that you’re motivated to stay physically active, it’s still important to give your shoulder a break every once in a while. You can keep fit with an activity that relies more on your legs and takes the pressure off your shoulder joint.
4. Pay attention to your body
Your body is constantly communicating with you through many different sensations, including pain. If you’re feeling pain in your shoulder, even if it’s only dull or nagging ache, don’t ignore it. Even a mild ache can be an early indication of a more serious shoulder injury
The earlier you seek treatment for a possible shoulder injury, the more likely you will enjoy a full recovery. Early treatment also helps you to get back to your favorite sport faster and reduces your risk for chronic pain and persistent shoulder dysfunction.
5. Always be mindful of your joint health
Though shoulder injuries are often a result of sports, be mindful of your activities outside of your recreational pursuits.
Anytime you put your shoulder to use, be careful not to push the joint too far. For instance, if you need to reach for something high up, grab a ladder or a taller friend to help prevent muscle strains and dislocations.
To learn more proactive tips for preventing sports-related shoulder injuries, contact the team at LA Pain Doctor by calling the office nearest you or by requesting an appointment online today.