Swimmer’s Shoulder: How to Stay in the Water and Out of Pain

Five ways your chiropractor can help ease the shoulder pain swimmers often feel from overuse without taking time off practice.

As most athletes know, with every sport comes the risk of injury. In the case of long time competitive swimmers like myself, that injury typically has something to do with our shoulders, and the fact that we are constantly over using them. Additionally, most serious athletes will do whatever it takes to keep any injury from getting in the way of their performance. As a ten-year competitive swimmer, with a few injuries and medals to prove it I have learned a few ways to help ease the symptoms of a typical swimmer’s shoulder.

One day my shoulder began to throb with each stroke I took. The pain seemed to intensify each day, eventually lasting through the night, disrupting my sleep.  Fearing a career ending injury like torn rotator cuff, I quickly confirmed with my doctor that it was not seriously injured, just overused. It was then suggested that I take up to six months off of swimming to let me shoulders recover.  As swimming was my entire life, and how I planned to pay for college (with a scholarship) I flat out refused and insisted on the opinion from our Chiropractor in Eagle River.

As it turns out, our Chiropractor is very experienced in treating sports injuries. He had five treatments that helped me keep swimming and eventually onto receive swimming scholarship for college.

  1. Therapeutic Ultrasound feels so nice and decreases pain.
    The heat from this machine not only feels great in the bitter Alaska winters, but it also helps reduce the pain by increasing blood flow to the sore and stiff area.
  2. Ice after every practice to keep the shoulder(s) as calm as possible.
    I mean I knew ice helped, but I didn’t know how much it could help calm my shoulders after every practice. My chiropractor had all these different types of wraps to help keep the ice packs on my shoulder so that I could still move around while doing this treatment.
  3. A good massage is what every athlete deserves.
    Loosening sore and stiff muscles is a must for athletes to keep going. I would get weekly massages before each weekend swim meet to keep my body relaxed and happy. The warm massage table and calming essential oils used during each massage made it such a treat, especially in the winter!
  4. Frequent Chiropractic Adjustments keep the body aligned and happy.
    After every massage, I would get a chiropractic adjustment to realign the bones, muscles and tendons in my shoulders, neck and back. Preventing exercising with an out of whack body reduces the risk of making the injury worse.
  5. Stretching before, during and after every practice is key to staying competitive.
    This last one is a must. Working with my chiropractor and massage therapist on what stretches would best benefit my body and shoulder before during and after a work out was the key to keeping me in the water and gaining pain relief.

Check back next week to find out how my mom uses massage therapy as stress relief.



by Chugach Chiropractic & Massage Center