Raise your hand if you have shoulder pain, or at least try.

Most of the time, the shoulder allows us to do almost anything. It’s one of the most versatile joints in the body. No other joint can rival the shoulder's fantastic flexibility and movement possibilities. But that freedom comes with a high price. 

The wide range of motion (ROM) that our shoulder joints are known for is the result of striking a delicate balance between mobility and stability. For example, a pitchers shoulder must be flexible enough for huge external rotation angles and stable enough to avoid dislocations.  Otherwise, throwing a 100mph fastball would not be possible.

In sports arenas, baseball, swimming, tennis, and American football players are typical candidates for shoulder injuries (Cole et al., 2013; Zaremski et al., 2017).  Due to the high repetition of overhead activities alongside the pressure to perform, our shoulders undergo a substantial amount of stress. 

While rest between training can help offset overuse injuries and musculoskeletal pain, damage to the joint can still occur.  In some sports, like baseball and swimming, shoulder pain and stiffness make up more than 50% of the top complaints (Cole et al., 2013; Zaremski et al., 2017).

Common shoulder problems for Athletic Individuals

A common shoulder problem for athletic individuals

 A common shoulder problem amongst athletes is Subacromial impingement (SAI). It happens when the soft tissues in the subacromial space get compressed, causing pain, stiffness, and limited movement.

The typical sign of SAI is pain in the front and side of the shoulder, sometimes extending to the upper arm. Athletes may experience nighttime pain and may also notice decreased muscle strength. 

Subacromial impingement represents the traditional form of impingement. The term 'subacromial impingement syndrome' includes various conditions related to the rotator cuff and is occasionally used interchangeably with shoulder pain.

Using Spidertech for Shoulder Impingements

Optimal results with Kinesiology taping and exercise

 A critical review of many research studies found that when used alongside exercise, kinesiology taping improved shoulder pain and function (Ghozy et al., 2020), and combining exercise with kinesiology taping was recommended as a beneficial approach for shoulder impingement syndrome.

A 2016 study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine looked at the Spidertech Shoulder Pro-cut vs high dose (Naprosyn, 500mg, 2x/day) anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) at improving pain and function in people with Subacromial Impingement.  They found that the Shoulder Pro-cut was just as effective as the medication and improving shoulder pain and function and Pro-cut was better tolerated by the study participants due to the side effects of NSAIDs.  

In the name of transparency, however, it is essential to note that not all studies report beneficial results when using kinesiology taping alone for SAI or, in this case, subacromial shoulder impingement syndrome (Keenan et al., 2023).   

In contrast, some studies report that kinesiology taping can improve our sense of body awareness or proprioception of the shoulder specifically (Alfaya et al., 2022). This is a rather crucial detail, considering that the shoulder's fantastic flexibility and movement possibilities should not go unsupervised.

Addressing limited options for subacromial shoulder impingement

In 2019, a highly respectable scientific journal, The BMJ, published a guideline that strongly advised against subacromial decompression surgery for subacromial impingement (Vandvik et al., 2019).  Citing strong evidence, the guideline will likely impact shoulder care in the future.

So, where does this leave us?

Reflecting upon the latest findings underscores the importance of noticing simple warning signs like fatigue, pain and discomfort.  While this may be particularly challenging for competitive mindsets, adopting self-care strategies becomes even more crucial. 

Consider the case for competitive participation.  When asked, 97% of college-level swimmers and 91% of elite junior competitors reported shoulder pain during strenuous exercise over one month (Sein et al., 2010).

For coaches and swimmers seeking the latest evidence for monitoring or injury prevention programs, a recent study updated the status of ‘considered’ internal risk factors (McKenzie et al., 2023):

  1. ROM is unlikely to predict injury, but monitoring changes may prove helpful.
  2. Maximal shoulder strength is likely not associated with a shoulder injury.
  3. Improving shoulder strength and endurance may yield superior results.
  4. Monitoring absolute training load is not the risk per se, but the relative training load (how one compares to their capacity) is more important.
  5. Previous injuries are at high risk of re-injury.
  6. Primary injury prevention should not be underestimated.

So while we can adore our shoulders' incredible versatility, that wide ROM demands deliberate attention. When it comes to managing shoulder impingement, Spidertech can be a valuable tool to help strike that crucial balance between mobility and stability, providing relief and support for those experiencing shoulder pain.

 

References

  1. Alfaya, F. F., Reddy, R. S., Alkhamis, B. A., Kandakurti, P. K., & Mukherjee, D. (2022). Shoulder Proprioception and Its Correlation with Pain Intensity and Functional Disability in Individuals with Subacromial Impingement Syndrome—A Cross-Sectional Study. Diagnostics13(12), 2099. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics13122099
  2. Clausen, M. B., Hölmich, P., Rathleff, M., Bandholm, T., Christensen, K. B., Zebis, M. K., & Thorborg, K. (2021). Effectiveness of Adding a Large Dose of Shoulder Strengthening to Current Nonoperative Care for Subacromial Impingement: A Pragmatic, Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial (SExSI Trial). The American Journal of Sports Medicine49(11), 3040-3049. https://doi.org/10.1177/03635465211016008
  3. Cole, A.K., McGrath, M.L., Harrington, S.E., Padua, D.A., Rucinski, T.J., & Prentice, W.E. (2013). Scapular bracing and alteration of posture and muscle activity in overhead athletes with poor posture. Journal of athletic training, 48 1, 12-24. DOI:10.4085/1062-6050-48.1.13
  4. Dong, W., Goost, H., Lin, B., Burger, C., Paul, C., Wang, L., Zhang, Y., Jiang, C., Welle, K., & Kabir, K. (2015). Treatments for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: A PRISMA Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis. Medicine94(10). https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000000510
  5. Ghozy, S., Dung, N. M., Morra, M. E., Morsy, S., Elsayed, G. G., Tran, L., Minh, L. H. N., Abbas, A. S., Loc, T. T. H., Hieu, T. H., Dung, T. C., & Huy, N. T. (2020). Efficacy of kinesio taping in treatment of shoulder pain and disability: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Physiotherapy107, 176-188. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2019.12.001
  6. Alfaya, F. F., Reddy, R. S., Alkhamis, B. A., Kandakurti, P. K., & Mukherjee, D. (2022). Shoulder Proprioception and Its Correlation with Pain Intensity and Functional Disability in Individuals with Subacromial Impingement Syndrome—A Cross-Sectional Study. Diagnostics13(12), 2099. https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics13122099
  7. Devereaux M, Velanoski KQ, Pennings A, Elmaraghy A. Short-Term Effectiveness of Precut Kinesiology Tape Versus an NSAID as Adjuvant Treatment to Exercise for Subacromial Impingement: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Clin J Sport Med. 2016 Jan;26(1):24-32. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000187. PMID: 25915145.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.