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Tennis, tendonitis of the shoulder, shoulder, shoulder pain, shoulder injuries, frozen shoulder, labral tear, arthritis of the shoulder

Common Shoulder Injuries and How to Get Relief

Posted on November 01, 2017 by Thomas Parker, MD
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We are always careful not to give medical advice. Please seek a medical evaluation for prolonged or severe pain.

I personally have had too much experience with shoulder pain, no doubt, related to decades of tennis and the aging process. To name a few:

  • A subdeltoid bursitis that was treated with a steroid injection, physical therapy, strength and flexibility training.
  • A near complete right rotator cuff tear that was treated surgically.
  • A left labral tear (probably caused by poor technique on a two handed backhand) that was treated surgically.
  • A severe shoulder pain diagnosed as a frozen shoulder.
  • Arthritis in the left shoulder that was treated by a total shoulder replacement.
  • Lastly, I apparently over did it during recovery and detached the subscapularis muscle and a reattachment surgery was successful.

With all of the above, I am lucky with my results and am able to play tennis without restriction. Both my experience as a physician and my personal experience as an injured athlete more than qualify me to write about the shoulder and the most common injuries that are associated with it.

SHOULDER INJURIES DEFINED

shoulder_anatomy.pngThe shoulder, which also happens to be the most complex joint in the body, is comprised of many tendons (tendons attach muscle to bones). Due to this, we often see shoulder tendonitis when these tendons become irritated and inflamed. Anterior (front) shoulder pain is commonly caused by biceps tendonitis or irritation of the AC (acromioclavicular) joint. Pectoralis tendonitis, provoked by repetition and overuse, can also cause pectoralis muscle tenderness in association with anterior arm pain. In addition, although not seen well on this image, are the deltoid and triceps muscles and tendons which, when irritated, are the source of deltoid pain and triceps tendonitis.

The posterior (back) shoulder includes rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres major) and the corresponding tendons. Irritation of these tissues results in rotator cuff pain and can be disabling to the athlete involved in both explosive and endurance sports.

RELIEF FROM SHOULDER PAIN

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What options are available to the athlete who has a non-surgical shoulder problem like some of those mentioned above? Identification and elimination of the culprit behavior is always the first step. When you avoid the movement that is responsible for the injury, it allows the inflammation to settle down and the healing process to begin. As with injury to any muscle or tendon, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE) are indicated. It is easy to rest, apply ice and hardly necessary to elevate the shoulder.

A top-notch shoulder compression support brace will keep the tissues warm, increase proprioception (the concept of knowing where your body is in space and the ability to safely maneuver around your environment) and comfortably compress the tissues but not restrict motion. Any device that does not do these three primary things is not optimal. It’s important to note that a shoulder compression sleeve or brace that causes a change in the normal mechanics and the way you use your arm/shoulder during activity is actually harmful. Hence, finding a compression product that won’t hinder your movement is crucial.

shoulder-compression-wrap-back-view.jpgThe Adjustable Shoulder Helix will provide all the benefits mentioned above that can be expected with compression. It is made of the highest quality compression material available and will stretch more than the human body. What this means for you is simple: you won’t change the way you play to adjust for the limitations of the compression sleeve.

It is ideal for management of an acute shoulder injury, whether athletic, traumatic or as part of a post-operative recovery. And for chronic shoulder problems, the benefits include improved pain control, reduced risk for re-injury and support for damaged tendons and muscles. Many athletes, myself included, have found the comfortable compression provided by the Adjustable Shoulder Helix to be ideal in managing an otherwise play-limiting shoulder injury.shoulder-compression-wrap-black.jpg

Body Helix strives to use scientific evidence as the basis for our claims of benefit for our compression sleeves. Before our Adjustable Shoulder Helix, there has never been a shoulder compression product that comfortably supports the shoulder and doesn’t limit motion during use. Therefore, we have limited scientific studies that serve as the basis for benefit, but we do have testimonials from athletes with shoulder problems and other injuries who have had substantial relief when wearing our compression sleeves.

 

Thomas Parker, MD

Thomas Parker, MD

About the Author: Thomas E. Parker, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Body Helix, is a retired physician, with a practice specialty of Internal Medicine. He attended The Ohio State University College of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at Duke University Medical Center. Parker received the distinction of “Top Doctor” in Charlotte Magazine in 2011, 2012, and 2014. In 2008, Parker became involved in Body Helix as a founding member and Chief Science Officer with the responsibility of overseeing product development, safety and guiding marketing materials to reflect scientifically accurate claims.

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