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View Full Version : Any advice for shoulder pain? Other than take off training



Killer
December 10th, 2007, 10:46 PM
I have been swimming lots o yards and my shoulders are hurting. Last year I went to therapy, and got some good execizes that helped. Now the pain is in another area (Trapezius, teres major, rear deltoids). I know I am a bit OCD but I hate stopping training. Should I cut back on yards and increase weightlifting? What about deep tissue massage? Anyone have any thoughts?:confused: This is starting to get depressing.

jim clemmons
December 10th, 2007, 11:09 PM
I have been swimming lots o yards and my shoulders are hurting. Last year I went to therapy, and got some good execizes that helped. Now the pain is in another area (Trapezius, teres major, rear deltoids). I know I am a bit OCD but I hate stopping training. Should I cut back on yards and increase weightlifting? What about deep tissue massage? Anyone have any thoughts?:confused: This is starting to get depressing.

If you want to swim why would you back off swimming and increase the weights? I'd cut out the weights, not increase them. Stop the weights completely for a while. The massage would be helpful as well. Did you restart the exercises you got from therapy? You might start those up again too.

The Fortress
December 11th, 2007, 12:08 AM
I have been swimming lots o yards and my shoulders are hurting. Last year I went to therapy, and got some good execizes that helped. Now the pain is in another area (Trapezius, teres major, rear deltoids). I know I am a bit OCD but I hate stopping training. Should I cut back on yards and increase weightlifting? What about deep tissue massage? Anyone have any thoughts?:confused: This is starting to get depressing.

I am in a constant state of shoulder management and used to have more severe pain issues, including the areas you mention. I never stopped swimming. I'm not sold on the "resting" notion for non-acute pain. But you may have to modify your training somewhat for awhile by reducing yardage or adding more kicking, drills or different strokes.

Have you seen a doc? If pain persists have it checked out. In the interim, I would immediately start doing rotator cuff/scapular stabilizing/PT exercises. Deep tissue massage or ART therapy also would likely help.

What kind of weights are you doing? I would not increase the amount of the weights. You might have to cut back for awhile if you're in pain, but I think some light to moderate weight lifting and core work helps my muscles take the load off my shoulders.

If you're doing substantial yardage, you have to keep the shoulders strong and healthy. Try not to get depressed, although I understand it's easy to when you're in pain and want to train. Do the exercises faithfully. Good luck.

Edward The Head
December 11th, 2007, 10:11 AM
Have you thought about trying a different type of pillow? I had bad shoulder problems for a long time, then I switched pillows and it went away. My wife bought new pillows and it came back along with really bad neck pains. I thought it was just getting older and swimming. Then I switched back to my old pillow and it went away. I don't have any shoulder or neck pains now. It took me a long time to figure out that it wasn't the swimming that was causing the pain. I use a very hard pillow, I get the pains when I sleep on a soft one. I don't like using the hotel pillows anymore because I wake up with pain the next day if I do. You could at least try it and see what happens.

Killer
December 11th, 2007, 10:32 PM
Thanks to you all. I am glad I am not alone. I sometimes get frustrated with some health care professionals, all they say to do is stop exercizing and take these drugs. I will use your advice.

SwimStud
December 11th, 2007, 10:43 PM
Thanks to you all. I am glad I am not alone. I sometimes get frustrated with some health care professionals, all they say to do is stop exercizing and take these drugs. I will use your advice.

You're probably a good techincal swimmer but just in case...make sure you're not crossing over on your front crawl...I was, and it was causing me a lot of pain which has gone away since I worked on not crossing over (I may still cross a bit but I think it's better).
Good luck and remember ice is your friend.

The Fortress
December 11th, 2007, 10:51 PM
I sometimes get frustrated with some health care professionals, all they say to do is stop exercizing and take these drugs.

No kidding! It's "have a cortisone shot." Now, they do help, but only initially and it's a temporary fix. Or "take muscle relaxers." No long term effect. Some orthos are very good, but there are few who treat real swimmers who train real yardage. They think we're from Mars. You have to be very assertive about finding out what steps you need to take to fix the pain. Unfortunately, they can be very time consuming and boring, i.e., RC exercises. Snooze. But I still think it's difficult to train hard without some bodywork and RC work. Your muscles freak out and pull on the tendons ... your RC is weak, so you compensate with other muscles and they get overloaded, etc. Just be persistent. I have to go to ART 2x a month just to keep swimming.

runner girl
December 11th, 2007, 11:26 PM
Thanks to you all. I am glad I am not alone. I sometimes get frustrated with some health care professionals, all they say to do is stop exercizing and take these drugs. I will use your advice.
If a doctor tells me to stop exercising, I usually don't go back to them. I love my ART guy, because his comment at the first appointment was something along the lines of "let's make sure we are in agreement here - the goal is to get you back up to the volume of exercise you were doing" BINGO! So when he told me to ease back and do a different form of exercise a few days while we worked out the kinks, I was okay with it. I knew I was going to be in business very quickly.

jim thornton
December 12th, 2007, 12:43 AM
An extremely common topic on our forum here. The thing that has helped me most during times of shoulder travail is to get zoomers and kick most of practice. It's actually a much harder workout in many ways. And it lets you keep in the pool and stay up with your teammates--this regular camaraderie is, I believe, essential to many committed swimmers' mental health.

As your shoulder pain decreases, you can let your arms go through the motions without actually pulling with much force. This, for me, is a way to keep the range of motion good without aggravating the underlying tissues.

Eventually, you start pulling a little harder and finally put the zoomers away till the next episode.

Other things that have helped me:

ice after practice
never use kick boards
don't do strokes that are particularly pain provoking--in my case butterfly and backstroke
realize that the vast majority of shoulder problems are self limited (i.e., will go away on their own provided you don't keep the aggravation level high).
tell yourself as well that there have been many, many injured swimmers who switched to a kicking emphasis for whole chunks of the season--and ended up doing really good times, and sometimes PRs, during the end of the year meet
good luck and don't despair!
if you are anything like me, with hypochondriacal tendencies, focusing on minor discomforts, odd clicks, etc. only make pain perception worse.

rtodd
December 12th, 2007, 08:12 PM
FINS!!

The Fortress
December 12th, 2007, 10:33 PM
FINS!!

FINS!

Couldn't agree more. Takes the stress off the shoulders. Fins can ramp up cardio, enhance flexibility and help with streamlining. I haven't had a lot of adverse effects from excessive training with fins. So I think the advantages of saving your shoulder and getting the extra benefits outweigh the disadvantages of fins.

I agree with runnergirl. My ART doc is also focused on keeping me training as opposed to mandating rest.

tomtopo
December 13th, 2007, 11:20 AM
I have found that changing the way you exit your hand and start your stroke can significantly reduce shoulder pain. Along with a rehab program, the changing of how you get your hand and arm out of the water and how you set-up your stroke may even eliminate your shoulder pain.

I had the former ASCA president put on a clinic for us and helped one of my swimmers eliminate the severe shoulder pain that had him side-lined (kick lane) for a few weeks. He told the swimmer to roll more and as he pulled his hand out of the water to make sure he could see his palm (the entry was the same). The larger muscles in the front of the shoulder pulled his arm out and the impingement problem went away. I have inhereted swimmers with shoulder problems and helping those swimmers takes a committment from them to religiously do their rehab. Good luck

Chris Stevenson
December 13th, 2007, 06:00 PM
This sort of advice may be old hat to many of you, but I came across this article "When It's OK to Run Hurt"

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/11/fashion/11FITNESS.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&oref=slogin

The advice seems to apply to swimming and other activities. Address the mechanics issues when you can, listen to your body (if the pain is sharp or worsening, then don't be dumb and ignore it).

Kick workouts can be very intense and are well worth doing. As you are doing them, look forward to the day you will blast past your competitors off the walls!

I, of course, take absolutely no responsibility for any injuries that result from you listening to anything I have to say. (My wife's a lawyer, I had to say that...!)

Thrashing Slug
December 13th, 2007, 10:55 PM
I know it's redundant, but.. Use Fins! When my shoulders get sore, I transfer the load to my legs and hammer the kick.

Also try lifting weights. Rotator cuff exercises are a must, but I had great success mixing those with regular old weightlifting. Military press, lat pulldowns, shoulder shrugs, etc. I always do my rotator cuff exercises first to warm up, but then I transition into heavier weights. I think it has helped a lot. I prefer exercises with dumbbells instead of barbels, I think they stretch the muscles out more and seem to complement swimming well.

Based on your first post about swimming lots of yards, you might also want to periodize your training and incorporate some rest weeks where you swim less yards, but focus on quality. Maybe a "rest week" would be a week of shorter yardage but intense sprinting. Or it could be a week of slower technique work. The key is to reduce the potential for overuse injuries. Confuse the muscles!

~.

The Fortress
December 13th, 2007, 11:10 PM
I, of course, take absolutely no responsibility for any injuries that result from you listening to anything I have to say. (My wife's a lawyer, I had to say that...!)

I'm sure she's a lovely lady.

Killer
December 15th, 2007, 11:26 AM
I did 4000 yards with my zoomers on yesterday. My shoulders dont hurt as much while swimming. I am going to continue this for awhile. Judging from the response, I am not alone! Why cant it be like when I was 15! Thanks for the advice.

pwolf66
December 15th, 2007, 02:46 PM
I'm sure she's a lovely lady.

And your profession would be??????? :thhbbb:

Paul