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Shoulder Pain and Surfing


As Hurricane Florence barrels towards the east coast we are sensitive to the destruction it brings, but as a surfer we couldn’t be more excited to take a stab at some of the the better surf of the year. Surfing is a tremendous sport which requires athleticism, balance, skill, and a real appreciation of the power and beauty of nature. Talk to any veteran surfer and they have the ability to speak about surfing at times as an almost religious/outer body experience.

When a surfer enters the water they need to get past the break of the waves in order to get ready for the next set of waves that approach. Sometimes this can be extremely challenging requiring the surfer to paddle with their arms for long periods of time. This places extreme stress on the muscles of the shoulder girdle.

The shoulder (or humeroscapular) joint is formed by the articulation of the head of the humerus with the scapula. It is a ball-and-socket joint and the most freely movable joint in the body.

The muscles of the shoulder bridge the transitions from the torso into the head/neck area and into the upper extremities of the arms and hands. For that reason, and because of the dexterity of the shoulder joint itself, the musculature of the shoulder is complex, ranging from massive prime mover muscles to finer stabilizer and fixator muscles. http://www.innerbody.com/image/musc10.html

Certain injuries are prevalent in athletes who perform repetitive movements either overhead, or in a circular motion. Swimmers, surfers, racquet sports, as well as crossfit athletes are all susceptible to shoulder injuries. Some common diagnoses of shoulder pain can be found below.


Impingement syndrome is one of the most common injuries we treat here at CSCM, particularly with our overhead athletes and “desk jockey’s.” Impingement syndrome usually starts out as a “pinch” sensation experienced in the front of the shoulder. Soon to follow is increased pain, inflammation, and often difficulty raising your arm overhead, or reaching behind your back.

Here at CSCM, we effectively treat impingement syndrome, and correct the muscle imbalances that led to it in the first place with a multitude of conservative treatment strategies.


The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis.  A tear or strain of these muscles and their tendon’s compromises the stability of the shoulder joint, and can be a cause of shoulder impingement syndrome.

Rotator cuff injuries are very prevalent, but can be treated at CSCM with a healthy diet of integrated services, including ART, Physical Therapy, acupuncture and kinesiotaping. At CSCM we utilize a unique system of integrating multiple experts who specialize in musculo-skeletal medicine to get you better, and keep you feeling good. This system of working together gives you the best care, and allows you moving and living life the way you want


The biceps tendon travels up the arm and inserts into the labrum of your shoulder. Improper function of the rotator cuff, and scapular muscles can lead to tissue breakdown and ultimately pain/injury to the biceps tendon. This pain can be debilitating, and often affects people reaching behind the back and overhead.

Here at CSCM treatment consists of decreasing inflammation and trauma to the injured structures while restoring the normal function of the shoulder to fully rehabilitate this condition.


Your a The glenohumeral joint, or shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket articulation where the round head of the humerus fits into the shallow fossa of the scapula like a golf ball on a tee.  The labrum is a piece of fibrocartilage(rubbery tissue) attached to the rim of the shoulder socket that helps keep the ball of the shoulder joint in place.  The labrum also provides a suction-cup effect that adds stability to the shoulder.  A slight tear or degeneration in the labrum is usually diagnosed with orthopedic tests and may need an MRI.

Here at CSCM we work as a team to conservatively manage this injury and fully rehabilitate the function the scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff muscles with ART and specific exercise protocols.

Here you can see our patient Ivan receiving a combination of Active Release Technique, Graston Technique, and Chiropractic adjustments on the cervico-thoracic, shoulder region. He plans to hit Ditch Plains this weekend and wanted to be as balanced as possible before taking on some large surf.

If you have any questions about how are integrated approach to musculo-skeletal performance care can help you feel free to contact our office.

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