Overuse Series Pt. 3: The Shoulder

The shoulder is the most mobile of your joints, so it’s no wonder that shoulder injuries are fairly common. Individuals who engage in sports such as swimming and baseball are prone to overuse shoulder injuries more frequently than other sports, with the arm being used in a constant overhead motion.

Shoulder bursitis and tendinitis are two types of overuse injuries that can occur. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions to prevent friction. When bursitis occurs, the surrounding muscles move over the bursa, which then causes the shoulder to become inflamed and painful.

When shoulder tendinitis happens, the tendons become inflamed and swollen. This is because whenever the arm is raised, tendons are pinched as the archway becomes smaller. This causes the tissue to become inflamed.

How overuse shoulder injuries can occur

  • Improper swimming or throwing techniques
  • Repetitive overhead motions
  • Strenuous training

Treatment for overuse injuries

  • Avoid the activity that started the problem by resting.
  • Ice the shoulder at least twice a day for 30 to 60 minutes. Apply ice for 15 minutes after any activity using your arm.
  • Physical therapy will likely be the key to your treatment. It’s good to perform exercises that will strengthen your shoulder to prevent a recurrence.
  • Anti-inflammatory foods and medication may be prescribed by your doctor to relieve pain.

Getting back into your sport

Whenever you return to your sport, get back into it slowly and make sure to warm up appropriately. Over time, you can slowly increase the intensity of the game. For swimmers, it’s a good idea to resist going right back into performing back strokes and butterfly strokes, as they put more of a strain on the shoulder. Any hard swimming sprints should be done before you are fatigued.

To learn more about overuse injuries of the shoulder, click here.

If you have any questions about shoulder pain please contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician. For more information about Campbell Clinic, please visit our website.

Do I have a lower back strain?

Low back pain is caused by soft tissues that support the lower spine, which affect the ligaments, muscles and tendons. These soft tissues hold the body upright, as well as support weight from your upper body. This is what the lower spine depends on for support.

Two types of soft tissue injuries can occur in the back. These are muscle strains and lumbar sprains. We’ll break them down for you.

Muscle strains happen when fibers in the muscles tear. This happens as a result of overuse or overstretching.

Lumbar sprains happen like muscle strains, occurring after ligaments are overstretched or torn.

Low Back Muscle Strain Symptoms

  • Intensified pain with movement: pain when getting up from a seated position, or when getting out of bed in the morning.
  • Achy, dull low back pain: your muscles will feel sore or tight, which is what happens when a strain occurs.
  • Low back pain: pain is often felt in the lower back, but also can appear in the hips or buttocks as these muscles support the lower back.

How Lower Back Strains Happen

A strain could develop over time from repetitive motions or overuse, or as a result of an injury. An acute muscle strain occurs once after sudden impacts like lifting heavy boxes or sudden impact. These strains can damage to muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Poor posture or weak abdominal muscles can cause individuals to be prone to injury. Your lower back muscles and spine are strained every time you slouch forward. Good posture will help to reduce back pain. Taking on new activities can also lead to strains, as the new, repetitive motion could add stress on to a muscle.


It’s important to take care of yourself. Stretching the lower back can help to alleviate tension and reduce pain. Learn and practice stretching  your hamstrings, hips and back, as they are all great for lessening the chance of strains.

This article was adapted from Spine-Health. To read more about lower back strains, click here.

If you have any questions about lower back strains or back pain in general, please contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician. For more information about Campbell Clinic, please visit our website.