“Ouch, my shoulder hurts when I pitch.” More and more new students are coming to us to see if we can find the problem. There is more than one cause.
Let’s examine a few.
1- Improper form. For instance, girls who square their shoulders back to face the catcher at release are putting stress on the shoulder in a direction that a female is not designed to handle. This is probably the most common of all causes. Another common cause is lifting the shoulder as they try to make a circle. A lot of kids who try to start without any backswing may fall into this habit. Often their muscles are insufficiently developed in other areas, so the traps get involved to try to get things moving. This causes the shoulder to lift upward, roll backward, and then roll around to release. These kids usually bring us a lot of popping and crunching in the rotation. There are several other form problems that lend to sore shoulders so get a good assessment of your form.
2- Kids who fail to warm up properly can feel pain in the shoulder. Warmups can be pretty simple. Just make sure the muscles are all warm and loose and gradually move into full pitching afterward. Do some dynamic stretching, overhand throwing, and progress through drills slowly until the muscles are entirely loose. The older and stronger you get the more careful you must be.
3- Sometimes pain is an indicator of the need for a chiropractic adjustment. Pitchers will be stronger on one side and those muscles, when they sleep, will pull a vertebra slightly to the side, which can impinge a rib or cause it to push toward the shoulder blade. This happens to kids over and over. A chiropractor will simply put pressure on the offending spot and pop it back into place.
4- Muscle imbalances. Pitchers develop terrible muscle imbalances because the throwing side gets far more activity than the glove side, and the front is stronger than the back. We see problems in the “scaps” (scapular area) over and over. The best way to prevent issues is to have her on a great training program developed by an expert based on a thorough strength assessment. The chiropractor puts things back in line and a training program keeps it there. Contact us if you need more information.
Injuries are now a far more serious issue than in the past. We play far more games and play almost year round. Too many kids are playing too much, and unless their bodies are built in the right direction, they are more prone to injury.