Wide Range of Treatment Options Available
Spring is here and many golfers cannot wait to get out on the course. But as with any other sport, it is vital to warm up and prepare your body before the season begins. For most golfers, that means making sure your shoulders are ready to drive the ball down the fairway.
The shoulders are an essential part of the golf swing. Shoulder muscles allow the arms to turn and extend over and behind the head through the backswing. Strong, flexible shoulder muscles allow golfers to have a solid follow-through and finish. As any golfer can tell you, a solid backswing and follow-through play a vital role in having a consistent golf swing.
An injury to the rotator cuff – that’s the four stabilizing muscles in each shoulder – is a common shoulder problem for golfers. These injuries are painful and can keep you off the course.
With shoulders, the pain may slowly increase over time or there might be a sudden onset of intense pain – it all depends on the type of injury. For a sudden onset of pain, see a medical provider immediately if your shoulder is extremely painful, you heard a pop or you cannot move your shoulder normally. If you do not have any of those symptoms, try the RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method at home to see if the pain decreases. If the pain does not go away after several days or gets worse, then make an appointment to see a medical provider.
If you have nagging pain, try the RICE method and take ibuprofen to help manage the pain and reduce inflammation to see if that helps. If the pain continues or gets worse, then it is time to have a medical provider examine your shoulder.
Shoulder injury treatment ranges from medication to reduce inflammation to surgery to repair any tears. Physical therapy is often used to treat the injury. If physical therapy does not work, a corticosteroid shot can be given to help alleviate the pain. Rotator cuff surgery is a good option for patients who are young and healthy since the healing rate is very high. Surgery is considered in older patients if the tear is caused by a sudden injury or the shoulder does not get better after several months of conservative treatment.
Rotator cuff injuries are not limited to golf. People who play other sports that involve heavy use of the shoulder, including baseball, football and tennis, can also experience rotator cuff injuries. Using good form in your chosen sport may help reduce the chance of developing a rotator cuff injury.