Upper limb pain is a common problem among lifters of all levels of experience. It can occur in any of the joints of the upper limb, including the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. There are a number of factors that can contribute to upper limb pain in lifters, including:
- Overuse: Lifting weights can put a lot of stress on the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the upper limb. Over time, this can lead to overuse injuries, such as tendonitis and bursitis.
- Poor technique: Using incorrect lifting technique can also increase the risk of upper limb pain. For example, lifting with too much momentum or inefficient technique can put unnecessary stress on the shoulders and spine.
- Muscle imbalances: Muscle imbalances in the upper limb can also lead to pain and injury. For example, if the chest muscles are too tight compared to the back muscles, this can put the shoulders in a vulnerable position.
- Previous injuries: If you have had a previous injury to the upper limb, you are more predisposed to developing pain in that area again.
Common upper limb injuries in lifters
Some of the most common upper limb injuries in lifters include:
- Rotator cuff injury: The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injuries are very common in lifters, especially those who do a lot of overhead pressing exercises.
- Impingement syndrome: Impingement syndrome is a condition in which the rotator cuff tendons rub against the bones of the shoulder, causing pain and inflammation.
- Tennis elbow: Tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain on the outside of the elbow. It is caused by inflammation of the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the elbow bone.
- Golfer’s elbow: Golfer’s elbow is a condition that causes pain on the inside of the elbow. It is caused by inflammation of the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the elbow bone.
- Wrist pain: Wrist pain can be caused by a number of factors, including overuse, repetitive strain injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Physiotherapy treatment for upper limb pain in lifters
If you are experiencing upper limb pain, it is important to see a physiotherapist for assessment and treatment. A physiotherapist can help to identify the underlying cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan to address it.
Treatment for upper limb pain in lifters may include:
- Rest: In some cases, the best treatment for upper limb pain is simply to rest the affected area. This may mean taking a break from lifting weights or modifying your workouts to avoid activities that aggravate your pain.
- Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Heat: Heat can be used to relax tight muscles and improve circulation.
- Massage: Massage can help to reduce muscle tension and improve range of motion.
- Manual therapy: A physiotherapist may use manual therapy techniques, such as joint mobilization and soft tissue massage, to improve range of motion and reduce pain.
- Exercise: Exercise is an important part of treating upper limb pain in lifters. A physiotherapist can develop a personalized exercise program to help you strengthen the muscles of the upper limb, improve flexibility and correct any muscle imbalances.
Prevention of upper limb pain in lifters
There are a number of things you can do to prevent upper limb pain when lifting, including:
- Use proper lifting technique: It is important to learn and use proper lifting technique to minimize the risk of injury.
- Warm up before lifting weights: Warming up before lifting weights helps to prepare your body for exercise and reduce the risk of injury.
- Listen to your body: If you are feeling sharp, intense pain, stop the activity and rest.
- Include a variety of exercises in your workouts: Don’t focus on just one or two exercises. Instead, include a variety of exercises in your workouts to target all of the muscles of the upper limb.
- Strengthen your core muscles: A strong core helps to stabilize the body and reduce the risk of injury to the upper limb.
If you are experiencing upper limb pain, it is important to see a physiotherapist for assessment and treatment. A physiotherapist can help you to identify the underlying cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan to address it.