Baseball/Softball: Shoulder Pain
First off, I’d like to let everyone know that I’ve been a loyal Royals fan since birth. My dad and I had season tickets in the 90s and went to just about every game, and so I just wanted to say that it feels good to replace all those faded blue T-shirt-Tuesday-T-shirts with newer World Series Champions gear!
Now, for all you avid baseball and softball players, I’ve got some great news when it comes to relief from your shoulder and/or elbow pain. In fact, one of the biggest reasons I became a chiropractor in the first place was because of the relief chiropractic provided me for my shoulder pain from when I played baseball as a kid. And yes, chiropractic is safe for kids.
I’m going to give you three common causes of shoulder pain we see in our office and how we help provide relief of that shoulder pain:
1. Thoracic Spine Restrictions/Shoulder Restrictions
The shoulder joint is actually pretty remarkable when you think about it. Your shoulder is literally held in place by muscles, ligaments and cartilage.
With that said, the deep and achy pain you get in your shoulder from throwing is often due to a combination of things. Some of these things are restrictions in the thoracic spine and shoulder (GH joint) that result in injuries to the ligaments and rotator cuff muscles that support the shoulder and “hold it in place”.
One of the first things we do in treatment is restore motion to restrictions in the thoracic spine/upper back. The scapula’s ability to move is effected by the upper back’s ability to move. By adjusting the upper back, we allow the scapula to move more freely which results in less muscle tension and less likely injury to the shoulder.
In addition, we also do a very unique adjustment to the shoulder depending on where the shoulder is positioned and depending on what stresses are being placed on the shoulder. Often times, it is muscle imbalances that pull the shoulder forward and cause tight muscles around the shoulder joint. For this, we adjust the shoulder accordingly and restore motion to the glenohumeral and AC joints.
2. Cervical Spine Restrictions
There is a group of nerves that branch of the spinal cord and form what is called the brachial plexus. It is these nerves that innervate the muscles of your shoulder and arm. These nerves are responsible for muscle movement and pain sensations in the shoulder. In fact, if you get shooting pain down your arm, it is often times due to irritation of these particular nerves.
By adjusting the cervical spine (neck), we allow these nerves to function better. In addition, we also manually stretch muscles in the cervical spine, such as the levator scapulae, to help restore full motion to the shoulder.
3. Muscle Imbalances
Whenever you do anything repetitive such as throwing a baseball, you set yourself up for muscle imbalances. Furthermore, baseball and softball players often times do exercises to strengthen those pec muscles and biceps. While these are the “looking good” muscles, they often become too strong for your own good. What happens is these muscles become stronger then the muscles behind your shoulder and in your back, and so these stronger muscles begin pulling the shoulder into a bad position forward.
One of the things we will do for this is give you specific exercises that involve a combination of stretching and strengthening to get the shoulder in a better resting position. This makes it less likely that you’ll injure your shoulder while throwing a baseball or softball.
Another thing we will do is apply RockTape in a way that stabilizes the shoulder, lightly stretches tight muscles, and trains the correct resting place of the shoulder.
In the end, stop suffering from that annoying deep and achy pain in your shoulder. Like we said before, it is usually a combination of all three things mentioned above. Chiropractic adjustments are gentle and effective and are going to help prolong your career. Give us a call today, get adjusted and maybe you too will be inspired to become a chiropractor like I was after the relief it gave me for my shoulder pain.