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GET BACK TO BASEBALL – Relieve shoulder pain with physical therapy

Learn how an elite baseball player rehabilitated by doing physical therapy treatments for his shoulder pain to get ready for the Division I NCAA season by working his core and shoulder muscles.

John was a collegiate baseball pitcher and very competitive who suffered a labral tear in his left throwing shoulder most likely from lifting weights  The doctor was concerned John may need surgery to repair the sports injury and wanted him to try to rehabilitate the shoulder with Physical Therapy first.  Understanding the throwing and pitching motion are critical to a successful return to the mound.

At the initial physical therapy evaluation, John presented with findings consistent with labral pathology: posterior shoulder pain, shoulder blade and shoulder joint weakness, limited joint mobility and range of motion of the shoulder joint, and mild changes in the ligament that holds the shoulder joint together (joint capsule).  He also had a moderate muscle spasm of a rotator cuff muscle, the infraspinatus muscle.  He was unable to pitch, and was having a moderate amount of difficulty reaching behind his back and lifting ten pounds overhead.  John also had a pretty tight hip flexor muscles, which prevented him from being able to throw a baseball without hip pain, or do leg exercises at the gym.

John started a progressive rehabilitation program including physical therapy manual treatment, neuromuscular re-education, therapeutic exercises, and modalities to control his pain and inflammation.  Manual treatment consisted of soft tissue mobilization to his shoulder joint and scapular muscles, and hip flexors, shoulder joint mobilization and shoulder stretching to increase his range of motion, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and manual resistance exercises to strengthen his rotator cuff muscles and improve his shoulder coordination as well as manual stretching of his hip flexors.  John’s therapeutic exercises included stretching and strengthening of his shoulder complex.  He was a hard worker, and was very diligent about performing his exercises in and out of the clinic.

John made excellent gains with physical therapy and was able to rehabilitate his sports injury.  His shoulder and hip pain completely went away, his range of motion and flexibility significantly improved with frequent stretching, and his shoulder strength surpassed his pre-injury status.  John was able to return to a baseball training program with no shoulder or hip pain, and subsequently returned to pitching pain-free. Sports injuries to the shoulder including throwing and baseball can be completely rehabilitated with proper application of physical therapy treatments.