The Dynamic Duo of Shoulder Impingement:
Shoulder impingement syndrome (SIS) is a common condition that affects many athletes. SIS is characterized by pain in the shoulders when performing sports such as weightlifting, gymnastics, tennis or any other sport requiring high levels of strength and power. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), SIS occurs due to “muscle weakness and/or trauma.”
Although there are various causes of SIS, one of the most common ones is muscle imbalance. Muscle imbalances occur when a small group of muscles become stronger than others. For example, if your biceps have become stronger than your tricep, then it means that they’re doing more work than your pecs and traps. When this happens, these weaker muscles cause pain in the shoulders.
Another possible reason for SIS is weak connective tissue around the shoulder joint. Connective tissue helps hold the bones together and prevents them from moving. Weakness in connective tissues can lead to pain in the shoulder joint.
Some studies suggest that SIS may be caused by repetitive stress injuries, which include sports like football, boxing, wrestling and martial arts. However, some experts believe that SIS is not related to repetitive stress injury at all; rather it’s a result of poor posture or improper training techniques.
The good news is that SIS can be treated with a few simple stretches and exercises. For example, you can start by foam rolling your chest and lats to release muscular tension. You should also make sure you’re practicing proper posture when sitting or standing. You should also perform the wall slide exercise to strengthen your muscles and increase their flexibility.
By strengthening the muscles mentioned above, you can prevent shoulder pain and other problems in the future.
Ways to Prevent SIS
Some people are more prone to shoulder pain than others, so here are some ways you can protect yourself:
Make sure that you’re properly warming up before working out. You should start with light calisthenics and slowly progress into more intense workouts. If you start with the most difficult exercises first, there’s a greater chance that your muscles will become strained or torn.
Always use proper form when lifting weights. If you’re struggling with a certain weight, there’s no shame in putting it down and switching to a lighter one. In addition, you should always ensure that your form is correct when performing an exercise. You should never sacrifice form just to lift more weight.
Try not to over-train. Although some athletes train every day of the week, you should limit yourself to three or four sessions per week at most. If you’re struggling to recover between sessions, then you should cut back on the number of sessions that you have.
Make sure your diet is top notch. You should be eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats. Try to eliminate sugary drinks and carbohydrates from your diet as much as possible. The less refined sugars you have in your diet, the better your body can cope with strenuous activities.
Make sure your sleeping habits are in check. You should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Also, try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up naturally without an alarm clock. When you have a consistent sleep cycle, it makes it easier for your body to recover.
Stretching is really important before working out. Never skip this part of the routine, even if you’re feeling tired. A good way to stretch your muscles is by standing with your arms straight out to your sides and raising them over your head. You should reach high as you can and hold the position for ten seconds or so.
Addressing Shoulder Pain
If you have been experiencing shoulder pain for more than a couple of weeks, then you should probably see a doctor immediately. He can run through a series of tests to see what the problem may be. If the pain is due to an injury, then the doctor can prescribe medications and/or physical therapy to get you back in the game.
However, if the cause of your shoulder pain is due to GIRD, then you may be looking at long-term rehab. The good news is that this problem is correctable with some simple exercises and stretches. Your doctor can teach you the proper way to perform these movements and also recommend some light weights that can help you in your rehab.
A Word From the Muskie
I must admit, I was shocked when I first heard about GIRD, or Golfers’ Impingement Syndrome.
I thought to myself: “Why hadn’t I heard about this before?”
It seems like such a common problem for athletes, and one that can easily be prevented with a few simple exercises. If you think you might be suffering from GIRD, I urge you to seek out your doctor immediately. However, if the cause of your shoulder pain is due to an injury, don’t worry! With proper rehabilitation, you can get back in the game in no time!
You’re now equipped with the knowledge to help keep your shoulders strong and flexible for a lifetime of enjoyment. Use it wisely, and enjoy your time on the green.
Nemawarkar, M.B., Aravajaneya, M.M.S., Pinto, C.D.G.D., & Suresh, T.
(2011). Painful Baseball Shoulder in an Elite Adolescent Baseball Pitcher: Shoulder Impingement Syndrome With Rotator Cuff Tear and Labral Injury.
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