Got a Case of the CrossFit Shoulder?

Got a Case of the CrossFit Shoulder?

Since its genesis, CrossFit has provided motivation, camaraderie, and life-changing physical fitness training for thousands of people. Its intensive weightlifting regimens and competitive atmosphere have encouraged many people push their limits, burn away body fat, and build muscle.

As with any physical fitness program, there is some risk of injury. Many CrossFit clients have sustained shoulder injuries or developed shoulder pain since beginning the program. This is often caused by various improper form combined with high strain on one or more parts of the shoulder. CrossFit shoulder injuries typically stem from one of the following:

  • Rotator cuff is not properly stabilizing the shoulder.
  • Scapulae are not rotating appropriately while shoulder is moving.
  • Shoulder has limited mobility due to issues with the joint or thoracic spine.
  • An imbalance exists between the muscles on the front and back of the shoulder.

If any of the above are true, you could develop subacromial impingement (also known as “painful arc syndrome” or “swimmer’s shoulder”). This occurs when the muscles around your rotator cuff become swollen and irritated. This causes restricted range of motion and persistent pain in the whole shoulder.

How to Avoid Common CrossFit Shoulder Injuries

“It is vital that an athlete maintain a stable muscular base around the shoulder while also maintaining adequate mobility in order to decrease the risk of injury. The need to address both mobility and stability cannot be emphasized enough,” said a 2014 article from the CrossFit Journal. “With continuous overhead motion, a strong rotator cuff is a key element in preventing injury or decreasing the likelihood of injury.”

Proper warmups, stretching, and awareness of physical limits are crucial to avoiding injury, as is heeding instruction on proper form when lifting heavy weights. However, some injuries can stem from deeper structural problems with muscles, bones, tendons, etc., and require more than a good stretch to get better.

Physical Therapy Solutions for Shoulder Injuries

Beyond an initial, brief rest period, there are multiple avenues you and your physical therapist can take to heal your shoulder injury, alleviate pain, and prevent future injury. Your treatment plan will likely include inflammation reduction methods, exercises to strengthen muscles that may be weak or underused, re-learning various shoulder motions, and other treatments to help strengthen and stabilize your rotator cuff. However, every shoulder injury is different, and you will benefit greatly from a personalized physical therapy plan that is tailored to your specific shoulder issue.

Experienced Aberdeen Physical Therapists

Even if you have suspicions about the source of your shoulder injury, it’s always smart to get a professional opinion. When you come to ProFysio Physical Therapy, our experienced Doctor of Physical Therapy will run a variety of tests to determine the root cause of your injury, pain, and recently developed limitations. Then, we will work with you to create a game plan to get back to your gym through a variety of specialized treatments that are uniquely suited to your injury.

There are some times when pushing through the pain produces great results—but pushing through shoulder pain will result in, well, more pain. Let us help! Call (732) 333-6360 get in touch with a member of our team and schedule your initial evaluation.

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