Suffering from Swimmer’s Shoulder? Here are Two Stretches, No Pool Required

posted in: Sports Injuries | 0

With the arrival of spring, more casual swimmers will begin dipping their toes in the water. For the more serious swimmer, they’ve probably logged thousands of laps through the chilly winter months. As swim meet season approaches, swimmers want to make sure they are in the best physical condition to compete. One common injury the Next Level Wellness sees that slows down our swimmer patients is swimmer’s shoulder.

“It has been reported that 90% of complaints by swimmers, of sufficient magnitude to seek a physician’s advice, pertain to the shoulder” according to the Clinics in Sports Medicine journal. Further, the journal defines, “the term swimmer’s shoulder describes the pain swimmers feel in and around the shoulder temporally related to the act of swimming.”

This pain can vary from a dull nagging, perpetuated by the use of the hands to paddle, to a debilitating ache that may last an entire practice. A study two decades ago found that the average collegiate swimmer is estimated to perform more than 1 million strokes annually. Therefore, as with any sport, warm up and stretching is key to avoid such pain and improve overall performance.

There are many swim clubs here in the surrounding Irvine, Newport Beach, Tustin, Costa Mesa and other Orange County communities including Novas, Mantas, Aquazot, Gators, Novaquatics, JCC waves, Nadadores, Riptide, Speed Aquatics and Splash Aquatics. We’ve worked with swimmers across Southern California, and there are two stretches that we recommend for alleviating swimmer’s shoulder and back pain.

The first stretch is called the “Child’s Play – lats stretch,” shown by MindBodyGreen’s Dan O’Grady. This stretch is to warm up the Latissimus Dorsi muscle. The Latissimus Dorsi is a large, flat muscle on the back that stretches to the sides, behind the arms.

Start by putting a foam roller, an arms’ length in front of you, on the ground. Kneel, arch your back and lower your head to the point where you will need to rest your forearms on the roller. Then use your arms and a forward motion to stretch the muscle.

The second stretch is called the “over-under” stretch and uses a simple resistance band held between your two hands. Twisting the band, bend your left arm behind your back. Try to grab as high as possible. AT the same time, bend your right arm above your head and try to grab as low as possible. Make sure your elbow is pointed upwards. Here is an image from Muscle and Fitness Magazine. This will help with flexibility in the shoulders. Rotate arms and stretch both sides equally.


For more swimming exercises, check out our videos on our Facebook page of stretches and exercises you can do in the pool!

Our chiropractic team of wellness doctors – chiropractors and sports medicine specialists, Vasili Gatsinaris, DC, QME, James Kim, DC, Adam Abulghualya, DC, BS, ART and Caprice Leonard, MA, ATC specialize in chiropractic and health and wellness care. Our Irvine chiropractic office is located near

John Wayne Airport, convenient for people living in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Santa Ana and other surrounding Orange County communities. To learn more about our variety of services or to schedule an appointment, take advantage of our Stay F.I.T. special and contact us or call 949-263-9003 today.

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