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Rotator Cuff Injuries Suck When You’re a Surfer

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I hate going to the doctor. I don’t have insurance and always research the Internet for cures. Maybe one day I’ll wise up and trust in my doctors AND ask them questions about my shoulder instead of Google.

So, over the past year my right shoulder has been getting more and more tender, but only enough to poke fun at myself for getting old. I am 37 years old as I write this post. Then, on a recent trip to Nicaragua, I really felt the pain. It hurt to lift it over my shoulder but I never had a specific event that would cause great injury to my shoulder and cause a full tear (almost always requiring surgery), just a partial tear or a little bit of tendon damage. From the research I have done, it appears that only the major tears require surgery…which is very good news for my surfing.

Here are some events that could cause a rotator cuff injury;

  • repetitive lifting over your head
  • repetitive over the shoulder motion in sports like paddling, throwing etc
  • a hard fall in sports like when skiing you land on your harm and tweak it around

Here is the bad news for my surfing. Most advice I could find online recommended resting the arm from the activity that hurt it in the first place (surfing) and doing physical therapy for it. There were three main do it at home physical therapy excersises that are meant to strengthen the shoulder muscles around the rotator cuff tendon. In theory, when combining these excersices with rest, the muscles around the rotator cuff will strengthen and help carry the weight giving your rotator cuff time to heal.

See A Doctor For Your Shoulder Injury

It is also recommended to see a doctor sooner than later, as a rotator cuff tear that is serious could cause future medical problems if left untreated. The doctor will most likely do a physical examination and ask you to do a 180 degree waving motion with your arm to determine exactly where the pain is and when it starts. I’m assuming this will also help the doctor determine if the injury is severe or minor. If it appears to be a severe injury, then the doctor will most likely request x-rays of the should and even an MRI depending on your level of pain.

Great Video of Doctor Discussing Shoulder Injury

I watched this video and thought, wow, this guy did a great job explaining the injury, how it occurs and exercises that will help a shoulder injury heal without surgery.

Doctors often recommend pain killers for severe pain, anti inflammatories and sometimes even steroid shots into the shoulder area. If your body reacts well to the steroids, perhaps you will get more than one shot.