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Prevent Golfer’s Shoulder and Elbow Pain

Prevent Golfer’s Shoulder and Elbow Pain

Amid our nation’s pandemic, many recreational activities have had to be put on hold. One that has been deemed to be fairly safe, however, is golf. Given that it allows for physical distancing and that golf courses are taking additional measures to sanitize their club houses, carts and other equipment, golf has proven to be a good way to address both the social and physical constraints put on us as a result of COVID-19.

But that also means that many golfers may be over-doing it, hitting the course several times a week as a way to get outside, get some exercise and reduce stress (which may be relative depending on how good their golf game is).

Golfer’s shoulder and elbow are common complaints among those who hit the links regularly. Pain, stiffness or weakness/numbness in the shoulder and forearm are often caused by a number of factors, including:

How to Treat Golfer’s Shoulder and Elbow

As is the case with all orthopedic sports injuries, the first course of action should be to take some time off. That may not be what dedicated golfers want to hear, but abstaining from repetitive motions enables irritated and inflamed tissues to heal.

In addition to rest, self-help for golfer’s shoulder and elbow should also include:

When the pain has subsided and it’s time to get back on the course, these tips can help avoid further injury:

What to Do When the Pain Won’t Go Away

If shoulder or elbow pain persist even after rest and home therapy, golfers should see a pain medicine specialist. These physicians have extensive training in how to recognize the exact source of a patient’s pain and can offer a non-surgical option to relieve pain and encourage healing of injured tissues.

Using fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, a pain management specialist can deliver a corticosteroid injection directly to the source of inflammation in a golfer with elbow or shoulder pain. These injections can provide many months of relief while allowing the irritated and inflamed tissues to heal.

As is true of all treatments, early intervention is key to positive outcomes, so golfers who have shoulder or elbow pain that does not resolve after a few weeks of rest and home treatment should seek the expertise of a pain management specialist.

Dr. Ioannis Skaribas is fellowship-trained and double board certified in Pain Medicine and Anesthesiology. He has been performing minimally invasive treatments to address chronic pain for more than 25 years and is nationally recognized for his expertise in diagnosing and treating difficult cases of complex chronic pain, including cases of golfer’s elbow and shoulder. 


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