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Managing Shoulder Pain Caused by Swimmer’s Shoulder

Swimmer’s shoulder is a repetitive motion injury caused by the constant joint rotation while swimming. It causes pain in your shoulder, upper back, neck and arm. The shoulder is incredibly mobile, but doing the same thing over and over, such as swimming freestyle, can create impingement or aggravation of the tendons, muscles, and nerves in the shoulder.

Some common causes of swimmer’s shoulder include poor technique, overtraining, previous injury, and fatigue. Physical therapy in Evansville, Indiana can help treat your swimmer’s shoulder to relieve your pain and get you back in the pool again. Here are a few ways to manage swimmer’s shoulder.


When the pain first starts, you should ice your shoulder immediately. This will reduce the inflammation in your shoulder, relieving some of the swelling and pain. You can use commercial ice packs, crushed ice in a zipper bag, a bag of frozen peas, or ice frozen in a small paper cup that you can peel back and use to massage your shoulder. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time four or five times a day.

Reduce Inflammation and Rest

Keep up with ice therapy to stave off inflammation. While you’re doing that, rest the shoulder. Don’t swim with it at all until it’s healed. If you have a hard time remembering not to use that shoulder, you may want to put that arm in a sling to help. If you try to keep swimming with swimmer’s shoulder, you could wind up causing a torn rotator cuff, damaged ligaments, tendonitis, bursitis, and damaged cartilage.

However, too much rest can be a bad thing. You could wind up with a frozen shoulder, which would require some serious physical therapy to remedy. A frozen shoulder severely limits your shoulder’s mobility.

PT for Swimmer’s Shoulder

PT is often an effective treatment for swimmer’s shoulder. Your physical therapist can design a routine of stretches and exercises depending on the exact location of your pain. She can massage your tendons and rotator cuff muscles, which can be hard to reach. That releases tension in your shoulder and helps prevent any further irritation.

Your exercises will likely be designed to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles if you’ve healed enough to exercise them. Strengthening those muscles will reduce the likelihood of future injury by supporting the shoulder joint. Your therapist will also help you with reconditioning your shoulder so it doesn’t become a weak spot in the future.

The three most common muscle groups that need to be addressed with swimmer’s shoulder are the posterior rotator cuff muscles, the pectoral muscles in your chest, and the thoracic spine muscles. Stretching and strengthening these muscles should be a goal of PT. You should also make sure to stretch and warm up those muscle groups before swimming, then stretch and cool them down when you’re done.

Swimmer’s shoulder is a painful condition that arises from repetitive motion during swimming. Ice, reduction of inflammation, and PT can all help address the pain and treat the underlying cause. With a bit of work, you’ll be back in the pool in better condition than you were before your injury.

Cary Grant
Cary Grant
Cary Grant, the enigmatic wordsmith hailing from the UK, is a literary maestro known for unraveling the intricacies of life's myriad questions. With a flair for delving into countless niches, Grant captivates readers with his insightful perspectives on issues that resonate with millions. His prose, a symphony of wit and wisdom, transcends boundaries, offering a unique lens into the diverse tapestry of human curiosity. Whether exploring the complexities of culture, unraveling philosophical conundrums, or addressing the everyday mysteries that perplex us all, Cary Grant's literary prowess transforms the ordinary into extraordinary, making him a beacon of intellectual exploration.


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