published the article on elbow pain in the
of this eNewsletter, I got a few emails asking me about
shoulder problems. Unfortunately, in the last year,
I've gotten to experience a torn bicep tendon in my left
arm, as well as prominent acromialclavicular arthropathy in
my right arm... both of which have caused me more than a
little shoulder pain that I've had to work through and
Your shoulder joints move
every time you move your arms. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with
three main bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), collarbone (clavicle),
and shoulder blade (scapula).
These bones are held together by muscles,
tendons (connecting muscle to muscle), and
ligaments (connecting muscle to bone). The shoulder joint has the greatest
range of motion of any joint in the body. Because of
this mobility, the shoulder is more likely to be injured or
cause problems. The
acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which lays over the top of
the shoulder, is also easily injured.
Shoulder problems can be
minor or serious. Symptoms may include pain, swelling,
numbness, tingling, weakness, changes in temperature or
color, or changes in your range of motion. Shoulder injuries
most commonly occur during sports activities, work-related
tasks, projects around the home, or falls. Home treatment
often can help relieve minor aches and pains.
Some people will have a
tendency to ignore the pain and "play through" a shoulder
injury, which only aggravates the condition, and may
possibly cause more problems. People also may
underestimate the extent of their injury because steady
pain, weakness in the arm, or limitation of joint motion
will become almost second nature to them.
to call your doctor
If you are unsure of the cause of your shoulder pain, or
if you do not know the specific treatment recommendations
for your condition, you should seek medical attention.
Treatment of these conditions must be directed at the
specific cause of your problem. Some signs that you should
be seen by a doctor include:
- Inability to carry
objects or use the arm
- Injury that causes
deformity of the joint
- Shoulder pain that
occurs at night or while resting
- Shoulder pain that
persists beyond a few days
- Inability to raise the
- Swelling or
significant bruising around the joint or arm
- Signs of an infection,
including fever, redness, warmth
- Any other unusual
Orthopaedic surgeons group
shoulder problems into the following categories.
Sometimes, one of the
shoulder joints moves or is forced out of its normal
position. This condition is called instability, and can
result in a dislocation of one of the joints in the
shoulder. Individuals suffering from an instability
problem will experience pain when raising their arm.
They also may feel as if their shoulder is slipping out
Impingement is caused by
excessive rubbing of the shoulder muscles against the
top part of the shoulder blade, called the acromion. Impingement problems can
occur during activities that require excessive overhead
arm motion. Medical care should be sought immediately
for inflammation in the shoulder because it could
eventually lead to a more serious injury.
It is important to make
an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your symptoms so
that appropriate treatment can be directed at the cause.
If you have shoulder pain, some common causes include:
Rotator Cuff Tear
Rotator cuff tears occur when the tendons of the rotator
cuff separate from the bone. Surgery is sometimes
necessary for this condition.
Also called 'adhesive capsuliitis,' this is a common
condition that leads to stiffness of the joint. Physical
therapy and stretching are extremely important aspects of
Calcific tendonitis is a condition of calcium deposits
within a tendon -- most commonly within the rotator cuff
tendons. Treatment of calcific tendonitis depends on the
extent of symptoms.
Instability is a problem that causes a loose joint.
Instability can be caused by a traumatic injury
(dislocation), or may be a developed condition.
A dislocation is an injury that occurs when the top of the
arm bone becomes disconnected from the scapula.
Also called an AC separation, these injuries are the
result of a disruption of the acromioclavicular joint.
This is a very different injury from a dislocation!
There are several patterns of a torn labrum and the type
of treatment depends on the specific injury.
The SLAP (Superior Labrum, Anterior Posterior) lesion is also a type of labral tear. The most
common cause is a fall onto an outstretched hand.
Shoulder arthritis is less common than knee and hip
arthritis, but when severe may require a
joint replacement surgery.
Biceps Tendon Rupture
A proximal biceps tendon rupture occurs when the tendon of
the biceps muscle ruptures near the joint
The treatment of shoulder
pain depends entirely on the cause of the problem.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you understand
the cause of your symptoms before embarking on a treatment
program. If you are unsure of your diagnosis, or the
severity of your condition, you should seek medical advice
before beginning any treatment. Some typical treatments of
shoulder pain include:
Rest: The first
treatment for many common conditions that cause shoulder
pain is to rest the joint, and allow the acute
inflammation to subside. It is important, however, to
use caution when resting the joint, because prolonged
immobilization can cause a
Ice Application: Ice packs are among the most commonly used treatments for shoulder
Stretching: Stretching the muscles and tendons
that surround the joint can help with some causes of
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is an important
aspect of treatment of almost all orthopedic conditions.
Physical therapists use different modalities to increase
strength, regain mobility, and help return patients to
their pre-injury level of activity.
Anti-Inflammatory Medication: Nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory pain medications, commonly referred to
as NSAIDs, are some of the most commonly prescribed
medications, especially for patients with shoulder pain
caused by problems such as arthritis, bursitis, and
Cortisone injections: Cortisone is a powerful
medication that treats inflammation, and inflammation is
a common problem in patients with shoulder pain. Discuss
with your doctor the possible benefits of a cortisone
injection for your shoulder pain condition.
Shoulder surgery is the final treatment, yet sometimes
necessary when non-surgical treatments are not enough.
For those of us that have
already experienced this type of injury, you are
probably already aware of what's bothering you and
why... unless you're stubborn like me and keep putting
off the doctor : ( Do yourself a favor and check
it out so that you can get to the point of recovery that
much quicker... good luck!
Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
Ok, raise your hand if you want to do something about your
belly and butt... yeah, I thought so. Those areas are
usually on a lot of peoples Christmas lists! The
bodyweight exercise this month incorporates a step up with a
knee raise. Stepping up works your butt and thighs,
while the knee raise adds a little abdominal extra to the
motion. You'll also find this exercise in some of the
step-aerobic classes where brisk motion and higher repetitions
will also add some cardio benefits. This exercise can be
performed on a step, chair, bench, or even a set of stairs.
The higher the step, the more challenging it becomes and the
more you'll feel your hiney the next day!
Target: butt and abs
(gluteals and rectus abdominis)
in front of the step, step completely onto the step/box with
one foot, step up and raise the opposite knee up as high as
you can. Step down and bring the step leg down behind
you for a toe touch. I recommend repeating for 10
repetitions on the same leg before switching to the other leg.
It's good practice to maintain good arm motion during the
exercise also for additional motion and effort.
The Kettlebell is a cast
iron weight, which resembles a basketball with a handle. A Russian
exercise device used for more than 100 years, Kettlebells have long been
a favorite in that country for those seeking a special edge in strength
In the twentieth
century Soviet science discovered that repetition
lifting is one of the best tools for all around physical development.
In a multi-year study of college students In 1983 (Voropayev), a group
that just lifted kettlebells showed better scores in every fitness test
compared to a control group that followed the typical military oriented
In addition to their many mentioned benefits, the official
also develop the ability to absorb ballistic shocks.
The ballistic blasts of kettlebell exercise become an excellent
conditioning tool for athletes from rough sports like kickboxing,
wrestling, and football. The extreme metabolic cost of high rep
Kettlebell workouts will put your unwanted fat on a fire sale.
design can be used as an adjustable kettlebell, allowing weights up to
1-1"x 6" steel nipple (handle, external diameter is 1 and 1/4")
2-1" 90 degree elbows (connect handle to vertical pieces)
2-1"x 4 1/2" steel nipple (vertical pieces), longer vertical pieces
will allow the use of larger, heavier plates
1-1"x12' steel nipple (through plates)
2-1' end caps
pound standard barbell plates (make sure the 3/4" pipe goes through
all of these, the hole in some of my 5 pound plates are too small to
with some dumbbells, always verify that your collars (or end caps) are
tight before using.
If you are like me and find
yourself working out solo, ensuring that you are giving yourself enough
rest between sets can sometimes be a challenge. I picked up the
GYMBOSS interval timer for just that
purpose. It's small (about the size of a little pedometer or
pager), has a clothing/belt clip, and the one-touch operation is very
convenient. Besides the countdown timer with alarm that I use
regularly for weight training and coaching, I've also used it for cardio
intervals so that I can easily do high intensity for 30 seconds, lower
intensity for a minute, and repeat through that cycle for the duration
of my session.
The GYMBOSS has the following
The GYMBOSS typically sells for $19.95
which I have found to be very reasonable.
Check it out if you're interested!
S T R E T C H ! Yeah, I
know, when time is a factor, flexibility training is the first
thing that is cut out. I was never one to stretch
regularly... that is until I started getting older and
experiencing joint injuries that could be avoided by regular
stretching. Simple stretches like stretching your
forearms can prevent elbow injuries, hamstrings and hip
stretches can help with low back pain, and shoulder stretches
are key to improving and keeping a good range of pain-free
not take a great deal of effort. It's really just a
matter of doing it. I prefer not to stretch as part of
my workout, but rather to do my stretches afterwards at my
desk or watching tv with the family. Problem areas
should be stretched several times per day. For total
body stretching, it's good to get into a routine and to hit
all the body parts in order. I like to work top-down,
starting with my neck, then working all the way down to my
ankles. Stretching should not be painful. You
should stretch to the end of your comfortable range of motion,
hold for 8-10 seconds, pause, and then try to stretch a little
further for another 8-10 seconds.
Try this for a week or 2, once or
twice a day, and take note of how much better your body is
Click here for some basic
Yo Yo Yo... Merry Christmas!
Well, not yet... but it will be here before we know it!
Have you been good this year? Surely you're not one of
those people that are waiting for New Years to start being
a ton of fitness gifts out there, but be careful when you
ask for recommendations. Personally, I don't think
these gifts are universal. Since motivation plays such
a big role in the ability to adhere to a workout and keep
things going... you need to understand what makes the "giftee"
tick. Just because you, or one of your friends
recommends a gift, doesn't guarantee it will be useful for
everyone. Motivation, daily routine, fitness level,
and other factors have a huge impact on the type of fitness
stuff that someone is going to use and get benefit from. What are you asking Santa
Claus for this year?
Thank you all for reading as
well as the emails and comments that I get regarding fitness
questions and article ideas! This issue concludes my
4th year of this little newsletter and I continue to have
fun putting it together each month. I'd like to wish
everyone a happy and healthy holiday season as well as lots
of luck in EXCEEDING YOUR POTENTIAL and surpassing your
goals for 2010!
For prior issues of this
newsletter go to
choice you make has an end result" -
youtube video of the month -->
Functional Training for Wrestling