Thursday, October 23, 2008

Info on Shoulder impact while Paddling a SUP, By; CPT Nikki Gregg

Last year, the first summer SUPing w/ a paddle thats too long.. This year a proper sized paddle and free from shoulder pain.
Wanted to share with you all some info about the shoulders and their impact while paddling. When I started Stand Up over 18 months ago, I had some issues w/ my shoulders. I guess I improved my paddling technique and equipment and became stronger. Here is the 411 on shoulders.. 1st part in a series of future articles
By CPT Nikki Gregg , Thanks to Nate at ..

If you’ve been stand up paddling long enough, I’m willing to bet that your shoulders have felt sore at least once or twice and maybe even kept you out of the water for a few days to recover. Whether it’s a past injury that nags you, the wrong size paddle, bad technique, or a combination of each, it eventually sends you to the medicine cabinet (or the liquor cabinet) for some pain relief after a long session. The next few articles are designed to equip you with knowledge about your shoulders to help you keep them healthy, injury free, and out on the water paddling!
The shoulder contains three bones and three separate joints. Many muscles act at the shoulder as movers and/or stabilizers. The muscles have several functions depending on the shoulder’s angle during movement. Of special importance is the rotator cuff, which is made up of four muscles and their tendons originating from the scapula. These tendons help hold the “ball in the socket”, are important stabilizers, and help rotate the shoulder (glenohumeral joint).
Injuries to the shoulder occur for many reasons including acute injuries from sudden trauma such as dislocation, separation or fracture. However, the most common injuries tend to be chronic that can develop from the following:'
1. Prolonged raised position of the shoulders. Holding any muscle in one position too long can cause strain.
2. Repetitive movements and overuse.
3 .Doing too much too fast.

Any of these may cause inflammation to the shoulder which occurs when a muscle or tendon is stressed beyond its limit and causes microscopic tears. Inflammation is actually a normal part of the healing process. However, if the muscle or tendon is not given enough time to heal before it’s subjected to the same activity, inflammation can become chronic and cause progressive damage to the tissues.
Activities where you repeatedly raise the arms above the shoulders, such as surfing, swimming, and of course paddling, causes the head of the humerus, or ‘ball’, to slightly rotate up in the shoulder ‘socket’ and narrows the small space between the head of the humerus and the bony projection from the top of the shoulder blade (scapula) called the acromion process. This causes friction between the rotator cuff tendon and the acromion process which can develop into irritation and inflammation, better known as rotator cuff tendinitis or tendonosis.
Also, this movement can pinch the sub-acromial bursa, a sac containing a small amount of lubricating fluid, that lies under the roof of the shoulder and develop into shoulder bursitis. ‘Impingement Syndrome’ occurs when there is inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons and the bursa that surrounds the tendons.
Another cause of angst for your shoulders is a tear of the rotator cuff. More common in people over the age of forty, aging can cause degeneration in the tendons leaving them more susceptible to tearing. Advanced degeneration may lead to a tear during normal everyday activity. Acute tearing, although less common, can happen from lifting a heavy object above shoulder level overloading a tendon causing a tear or a sudden arm movement such as throwing.
If during or after stand up paddling you experience pain in the top outer part of the shoulder, or pain when lifting the arm above your shoulders (that may radiate to the elbow), along with pain while lying on the affected area, you need to address these problems or they will worsen. The next two articles will discuss the importance of strengthening and stretching your shoulders, along with specific exercises and stretches you can do to protect them. Also, you will get a personal trainer’s perspective on how to paddle efficiently with proper technique and posture as well as how to choose proper equipment. In the meantime, contact

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