Workout Soreness / Shoulder Dislocation

Workout Soreness

Most of us are familiar with the post-exercise soreness that comes after a particularly strenuous exercise session. This pain, which is usually accompanied by stiffness and weakness, is often referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, abbreviated to DOMS.

It is unclear exactly what the purpose of this pain is, as it is maximal approximately 24-48 hours following an intense exercise session. However, we do know that muscles experiencing DOMS show signs of micro-tears throughout the tissues and the effects are worse following eccentric (lengthening under tension) exercises more than other types.

While DOMS is not indicative of any serious injury and has no lasting side effects, it can be very uncomfortable and is problematic for anyone who needs to perform again quickly, such as an athlete in a tournament stretching over a few days.

A person suffering from DOMS may also be at a higher risk of injury if they continue to play sport at their usual level. Understandably, many people are interested in how to avoid or reduce the effects of DOMS.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence on how to reduce DOMS, however high-quality research is limited and there is certainly no quick fix to this problem.

When it comes to avoiding DOMS, both a warm up before exercise and a cool down afterwards are important. Many experts also recommend using a foam roller on affected muscles following exercise. And while many people, particularly long-distance athletes are fond of using anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain after exercise, the evidence shows that its effectiveness is limited and perhaps not worth the side effects of using the medication regularly.

Other advice includes gentle exercise, such as 20 minutes on a stationary bike, and mild stretching. Staying hydrated during sports is always important, and keeping your fluid intake adequate while experiencing soreness afterwards can also help. If you are particularly brave, ice baths have recently been shown to have mild benefits in pain reduction.

Shoulder Dislocations

The shoulder is an amazing joint with incredible flexibility. It doesn’t attach directly to the spine, like the hip joint; instead, it is held to the body through a

complicated system of musculature and indirectly by the collarbone (clavicle) to the front of the rib cage. Many other joints in the body are extremely stable, thanks to the structure of the bones and ligaments surrounding them. However, the shoulder has so much movement that some stability is sacrificed. It is for this reason that shoulder dislocations are a relatively common occurrence.

What is a dislocation and how does it happen?

As the name suggests, a dislocated shoulder is where the head of the upper arm is moved out of its normal anatomical position to sit outside of the shoulder socket joint.
Some people have more flexible joints than others and will unfortunately have joints that slip out of position more easily and without much cause. Other people might never have a dislocated shoulder except for a traumatic injury that suddenly forces it out of position. The shoulder can dislocate in many different directions, the most common being anterior. This occurs when the arm is raised and forced backwards in a ‘stop sign’ position, which can occur in many situations.

What to do if this happens

The first time a shoulder dislocates is usually the most serious. If the shoulder doesn’t just go back in by itself (spontaneous relocation), then a professional will need to to put it back in. This needs to be done by a professional as they must be able to assess what type of dislocation has occurred, and often an X-ray needs to be taken before the relocation happens.

A small fracture can actually occur as the shoulder is being put into place, which is why it is so important to have a professional perform the procedure.

How can physiotherapy help?

Following dislocation, your physiotherapist can advise on how to allow the best healing for the shoulder. It is important to keep the shoulder protected for a period to allow any damaged structures to heal as completely as they possibly can.
After this, a muscle-strengthening and stabilization program can begin. This is aimed at strengthening the muscles around the shoulder to provide further stability and prevent future dislocations.

The information in this newsletter is not a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a professional for assessment of your individual condition.

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