As Naples tennis friend and regular reader, Dick McNaughton said Friday, â€œI think I know your body better than I know my own!â€ But having gone through what is really a minor shoulder problem, I think I still did learn some good things about rehab and preventative measures.
- Ice â€“ If you have a tender joint (shoulder, elbow, knee, etc), the experts say you should ice it after every outing. Like baseball pitchers regularly ice their arms after each time they pitch, we should do the same quickly after playing tennis.
- Ice Pack â€“ And a great tip from my nice (female, 34 year-old) Physical Therapist, put one cup of rubbing alcohol in a quart Ziploc bag with three cups of tap water. Seal the bag and put it in the freezer overnight. You will have a great â€œice-slushâ€ bag that you can wrap around any joint. But she cautions not to put the bags directly on the skin: it is very, very cold and can freeze the skin. And to use the pack each day for 15-20 minutes.
- Topical Treatments â€“ Several people have recommended using â€œIcy-Hotâ€ or Aspercreme before playing, in order to warm up the area. My understanding is that these are anti-inflammatory and will go just below the skin level; so if your injury is deep (within the knee) this will not get there.
- Pills â€“ The two popular ones appear to be Ibuprofen (Advil) and Nsaids (Aleve). The orthopedist liked Aleve better because you could take two with breakfast and two with dinner â€“ and get prescription strength relief.
- Exercise â€“ The therapist reviewed the weight training I normally do (two or three times a week) and made some suggestions. Never do any shoulder raises (front, side, or diagonal) that are done with the thumbs down. She said that puts too much stress on the rotator cuff. Instead, do them all with thumbs up position. Add straight bicep curls to my regimen (which the trainer who gave me the routine three years ago intentionally wanted out); in order to strengthen the bicep and the tendon that gave me problems. And add side pulls with an elastic band to strengthen the rotator.