Jim Marshall said it best with his retort to coach Bud Grant regarding the intensity of a practice: “coach, there’s only so much tread on the tire.” A recent article described the anatomy and functional mechanics of the shoulder girdle via an automotive theme. This series of articles will discuss what the “car” owner needs to be looking out for with respect to any “odd noises” emanating thereof. Being aware of the classic symptoms of shoulder wear and tear with subsequent proactive intervention at the “shop” will ensure that this complicated joint will be functioning at its full potential, thus helping you to accomplish the majority of your desired daily activities without significant pain or impairment.
The Process of Shoulder Wear & Tear
The majority of shoulder injuries arise due to recurring mild injuries (microtrauma) experienced as a younger adult or adolescent. As a young adult, we typically do a poor job listening to and appreciating symptoms of dysfunction and pain assuming that all is well and the presenting issue will resolve on its own. Unfortunately, “there is only so much tread on the tire” and a process of permanent change is already beginning to take place below a level of formal appreciation with respect to intervention. This reality and the subsequent problems that can arise later in life (when we have the time and money to do the fun stuff like play tennis) need to be appropriately addressed to ensure fruition of one’s recreational goals as a senior.
20s & 30s
Injury about the tendon (attaches muscle to bone), bursa (protects tendon from bone) as well as cartilaginous tissue is already occurring in our 20’s and 30’s. The ability to self-repair is quite significant but no longer perfect. This generally coincides with a progressively sedentary lifestyle as one settles into a career and family life. We no longer go to a particular sport practice on a regular basis to maintain and improve upon our physical stature. Yet the desire to perform at a prior level of intensity is maintained.
To remedy the trauma as well as attempt to route the body in a less damaging direction, the body uses an inherent fight or flight mechanism initiating soft tissue mobility loss about ligamentous (connects a bone to another bone) and capsular tissue (houses the synovial fluid within the joint). Thus as an early middle ages, we begin to experience a general level of flexibility loss as well as subsequent weakness at the extremes of mobility. Subsequently, positioning the joint in extreme positions with too big a load now becomes traumatic.
How to Remedy Shoulder Issues in Your 20s & 30s
- Implementing and diligently following a functional exercise program that maintains strength at end ranges of motion which is sport specific to the loads and forces placed on the joint.
- If the shoulder is injured, one must allow for complete healing prior to the initiation of a restorative rehab and/or exercise program.
- Returning to tennis (for example) is broken down into component parts, i.e. starting with simpler racquet motion patterns such as a modified forehand culminating with serving motions; again appreciating the parameters of progressive reps and intensity thereof, and expanding through three dimensional motions.
If you have any questions about your shoulder condition or injury, we are always available to answer your questions. Contact our Twin Cities shoulder rehab specialist Terry Buisman at 952-922-0330.
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