Want Healthy Shoul­ders? Move them!


Golf Today Northwest - - Contents -

Shoul­der prob­lems can be a real nui­sance. Whether it is a small is­sue like gen­eral stiff­ness af­ter work­ing out or a more sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem like a ro­ta­tor cuff tear or ten­dini­tis, shoul­ders are sen­si­tive and prone to in­jury. I treat a large num­ber of shoul­der con­di­tions on a daily ba­sis. Re­gard­less of the sever­ity or type of con­di­tion, it’s pos­si­ble that a shoul­der prob­lem could be re­solved af­ter only a few weeks of con­ser­va­tive care or, al­ter­na­tively, it could take months or even years to heal. There really is no pre­dictable time­line for re­cov­ery. With that said; one thing is for sure; if you can keep your shoul­ders healthy and mov­ing prop­erly, your chances of in­jury are greatly re­duced. In golf, any shoul­der

“Dear, The Golf­ing Doc; I had shoul­der prob­lems in the past and they went away af­ter see­ing my Chi­ro­prac­tor. I’m start­ing to have some prob­lems again when golf­ing. Any sug­ges­tions to keep my shoul­ders healthy? Thanks." —Mike A., Seat­tle, WA

in­jury can be detri­men­tal to your game. It can even cause you to stop play­ing due to pain and discomfort. When most peo­ple think of their shoul­der, they of­ten think of the ball and socket joint. This joint stands out be­cause it has the great­est range of mo­tion. It’s im­pos­si­ble not to as­so­ciate that par­tic­u­lar joint with ev­ery move­ment you do with your shoul­der: reach­ing up, for­ward, be­hind you, un­der you, or when push­ing, pulling, or even swing­ing your golf club. Even though that joint moves a lot, it is only one part of a multi-joint com­plex that must move in sync—called the shoul­der gir­dle. The shoul­der gir­dle also in­cludes your scapula, or “shoul­der blade”, which forms a joint with the back of your up­per rib cage, and your clav­i­cle, or “col­lar bone”, which then con­nects to your ster­num, or “breast bone” at one end and your scapula at the other. Sounds com­pli­cated right? Well, it is! Now add all the sup­port­ing mus­cles, ten­dons, lig­a­ments, joint cap­sules, and nerves, and the shoul­der is even more of a spi­der web. There­fore, no mat­ter how mi­nor a shoul­der prob­lem may be, it can be quite com­plex. There are plenty of things you can do at home to help re­duce the risk of in­jur­ing your shoul­der. Keep­ing it strong by do­ing gen­eral

ex­er­cises—like us­ing small weights or bands—is per­fect. No heavy weights are needed. How­ever, my rec­om­men­da­tion be­fore do­ing any strength­en­ing is to first make sure the shoul­der is mov­ing prop­erly. Good range of mo­tion will al­low you to build even greater strength and also keep your shoul­der healthy at mul­ti­ple an­gles and po­si­tions. There­fore, it’s so im­por­tant to have a healthy shoul­der be­fore play­ing golf. If you don’t have good shoul­der mo­bil­ity, or if you strengthen it too fast or too much, you’ll be prone to in­jury. You will only be strong within your lim­ited range. Here are some ex­er­cises that you can do daily to help keep your shoul­der mov­ing bet­ter. Be sure to hold your stretches for 30 sec­onds and re­peat them up to 3 times per side. Try to do them a few times per day. As you can see in the pho­tos, you can even do these ex­er­cises while play­ing golf. I rec­om­mend that you do them be­fore you play or prac­tice. And, as al­ways, if you ex­pe­ri­ence any pain or discomfort dur­ing any of these ex­er­cises, stop im­me­di­ately and con­sult your physi­cian.

Dr.sese is the Clin­i­cal Di­rec­tor at the Wash­ing­ton Golf Per­for­mance In­sti­tute in Belle­vue, WA.

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