This article is for every athlete out there who are having pitching shoulder problems. I am an athlete, who overcame a career ending rotator cuff tear in college, to pitch again and make it to minor league ball. I was told I would never pitch as hard as I did before the tear. I topped out at 94 mph my last season for the San Diego Surf Dawgs, over seven years later. That was more than 8 mph from before surgery. It was a long road and I am here today to teach you everything you need to know on how to prevent this from happening to you.
Before we get started I would suggest you take some time just to read this picture and learn the muscles of the shoulder. This will help you understand your pain and problems better.
In this article, I will not only help you learn how to prevent shoulder surgery but how to diagnose the pitching shoulder problem.
How to Prevent Pitching Shoulder Surgery
As I said, you must learn the small muscle of the rotator cuff from the picture above. These muscles are your career. They are here to internally and externally rotate your arm. The most important information to remember about these muscles are that they can only handle around 5 pounds of pressure each. The deltoids take over if the pressure exceeds this amount. So this means, all we need is 3 to 5 pounds to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. Anything more will prevent you from isolating them properly for development.
The most important muscle of the rotator cuff, for throwers, is the supraspinatus. This muscle lives under the acromion tip of the clavicle. This is the end of the collarbone. This muscle takes a lot of abuse when the elbow is above the pitching shoulder. This is because it is being impinged by the acromion tip. If your arm is internally rotated too far forward, when you pull your arm back to throw, this can cause the supraspinatus to "pop" or "grind" under the acromion. Over time, this can tear the muscle. To prevent this impingement, you must learn good throwing mechanics and how to build joint integrity. You can not do one without the other when trying to prevent an injury.
You can learn the correct mechanics to prevent injury from the 3X Pitching Velocity program. To build joint integrity, you need two 3 or 5-pound weights to get started. All of the exercises you will need are listed in the AcePitcher Handbook.
The first sign of poor joint integrity is posture. If you are someone who slouches over when sitting or standing, this could be a sign of poor pitching shoulder joint integrity. Another sign is when the ball of the pitching shoulder socket is protruding forward past the chest and the pitching shoulder blade is sticking out like a wing. This means that the anterior muscles are stronger than the posterior muscles. This is the definition of poor joint integrity. This will lead to a pitching shoulder injury.
Common pain that is a sign of impingement is usually referred to as pain from the supraspinatus. Most of the pain from the cuff is referred to as pain. Referred pain means pain that originates in one part of the body, but is felt in another part of the body. If you feel pain on the outside of your arm, between the bicep and tricep muscles, just below the mid-deltoid, then this is an impingement. Don't be alarmed, it isn't a tear. The supraspinatous is probably inflamed. This can be remedied with ice. You should only ice your arm for 15-20 minutes on and 15-20 minutes off. You can repeat the process but any more than 15-20 minutes on, can cause nerve damage. Always finish with ice. Never finish with heat. Heat inflames the muscle tissue, and when the tissue is inflamed, it isn't healing. It is also not a good idea to ice an arm just after pitching. It is best to flush the system. This is when you do some good sprints, to get your heart beating, so you can get your blood pumping. This will help flush the breakdown of waste from pitching out of your arm. Then you can ice. Also never ice your Ulnar nerve. You can also take anti inflammatories, recommended by your Doctor. This is a symptom you can pitch through, but remember when the supraspinatous is inflamed, this will cause more wear and tear on the cuff. So try hard to take care of it ASAP.
How to identify and deal with a Rotator Cuff Tear for a Pitcher
The sign of a rotator cuff tear is very obvious. You have a considerable loss of movement in your arm, with serious pain. If the supraspinatus is torn, which is the most common tear for throwers, you will not be able to turn your hand thumb down and raise it straight out in front of your body. This is because this movement requires a lot of work from the supraspinatous. If this is the case I am sure you have already seen a Doctor and unfortunately you need surgery. This was my case. It is a hard reality to face. Especially when you are 18 like I was. There was one moment that got me thinking positively and it was a saying I saw on a wall just after the Doctor diagnosed the tear. "Where there is a Will, there is a Way." Every six months the body regenerates itself. This means every muscle has grown new tissue from the inside out. Like your skin. If you can get yourself on the right track, you can start over again and this is exactly what it will feel like. You are starting over at this point and you may not get another chance. It is a tough road but laced with so many rewards. If you are someone who is post-surgery and needs a little boost to get back to the game you love, then please contact me and I will get you on the right track.
In conclusion, your rotator cuff is your life support as a pitcher. It is like a pair of tires that you can never change on your race car. It is vital that you learn how to take care of it if you want to play well into your twenties and beyond. I hope this article gets you going and please contact me with any questions or post them in the discussion board.
The #1 Training Program for the Pitching Shoulder
This program has helped tons of pitchers live the dream of throwing 90+mph and signing with a D1 University, getting drafted by a Major League Organization, and making it back to Major League Baseball. Many scouts in all organizations of baseball have recommended this program to help young pitchers get to the 90+mph range to improve their value at the next level.
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