Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tips for Shoulder Pain (Rotator Cuff)

     Here are a few tips for those suffering from shoulder pain or rotatator cuff syndrome.  Shoulder pain is quite common and when you look at the anatomy of the shoulder it is pretty easy to see why.   The design of the shoulder predisposes it to injury with overhead activities.  Many shoulder problems begin with either repetitive overhead activities such as painting, cutting hair, assisting dentists, lifting weights, putting on makeup, pitching a baseball, cutting limbs from a tree, or swimming.  Of course the list could go on and on, but you see what I am talking about. 

     So the first tip is to avoid overhead activities as much as possible and when raising your arms, try not raise them above shoulder level.  We treat a lot of people who lift weights and workout on a regular basis, and the first thing I tell them when they come in with shoulder problems is that I will not take them as a patient if they continue to do military press and incline press.  They usually don't like to hear that, but the fact of the matter is that they will not get better if they continue to do those exercises.  I learned the hard way when I strained the rotator cuff in my left shoulder back in college doing incline press with a straight bar.  Once their shoulder is healed, I will then show them what I call a modified military press that they can do without aggravating the rotator cuff.

     The second tip is to use ice packs over the shoulder if there is significant pain or swelling.  Never use heat when there is swelling.  That's why you always see professional baseball pitchers with big ice packs on their shoulders in the dugout after pitching, to keep the swelling down.

     The third tip is that if it is not getting better to get it properly evaluated.  Just getting diagnosed with Rotator Cuff Syndrome doesn't really give you the full picture of what is truly going on.  Every condition can be different and after thoroughly evaluating the shoulder we can then give personalized care and instructions.

     Stay Healthy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Mouse Shoulder Epidemic

     There is a growing epidemic in this country called Mouse Shoulder.  Well, that's what I call it. What is it you ask?  It is 99.9% of the time found on the right side.  It is located between the shoulder and the neck.  It can sometimes lead to neck pain, headaches and presents itself usually as a tender knot just above the tip of the shoulder blade.
     So, why do I call it Mouse Shoulder?  I call it Mouse Shoulder because the most common factor leading to this epidemic is the use of the computer mouse.  Mouse Shoulder is joining the ranks of Carpal Tunnel, Trigger Finger, and Elbow Tendinitis as common problems caused by computers.  Most people typically spend hours a day on the computer and almost always use there mouse on the right side. (I have met one person who switches back and forth between her right hand and her left hand, but that's just wierd)  The repetetive use of the mouse causes significant built up tension in the right shoulder and neck region leading to Mouse Shoulder. 
     So how do you prevent it?  The easiest way to lessen the stress caused by the mouse is to make sure that you are keeping it close to you and that you don't have to reach for it.  The reaching is what causes the tension in the neck and shoulders.  Often times a cordless mouse may be needed to keep the mouse close to you.
     Hopefully this little tip will help keep you from being a statistic in this growing epidemic. :-)  Now if you continue to have problems, give us a call and we will get you fixed up.