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leehayes
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Rotator cuff issues, anyone? - 12-20-2007, 09:09 AM

Hey everyone. I have a question regarding anyone with rotator cuff injuries and how it affects their play. I have two torn rotator cuffs, one in each arm of course. My bridge hand is the better of the two but when I play alot my shoulder gets very sore. My other arm does not get affected by the play but the bending over does seem to make my shoulder sore. My stroke is very good, very smooth and recently it seems that I'm having trouble with accuracy. I'm wondering if the rotator cuff would affect this. Also, wondering if anyone else has had this issue and what they've done about it.
A friend of mine was watching me shoot the other night and he said that it made no sense why I was missing because everything in my stroke looked perfect. Any thoughts at all?


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I have a rotator cuff issue.
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I have a rotator cuff issue. - 12-20-2007, 09:18 AM

I was born without a bicep tendon and over time it developed some real problems. My shoulder has been known to dislocate from time to time. It is my bridge arm and it has never really been a problem at playing pool....
  
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12-20-2007, 09:20 AM

When I was deeply obsessed with pool, I often would have shoulder pain towards the end of the day. Playing 8-10 hours a day was tearing my bridge arm shoulder apart. I started using more bend in my bridge arm and I noticed the pain started to fade. I didn't bend the arm to reduce the pain, I thought it would improve my game.


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12-20-2007, 09:39 AM

I had a rotator cuff injury in my left shoulder (bridge hand for me). I do get pain now, but it's not too bad. It's kind of like a sore muscle after working out type of pain, but is always there if I move my arm in the right way. If I'm playing by myself, it's worse than if I play someone else where I'm not shooting all the time. There are ways to make it less painful, but when I experimented with it, I found that it decreased my accuracy. I am most accurate when I have my eyes close to the cue stick. If I take some of the weight off my left shoulder to ease the stress on it, I have to stand more upright.
It may be that once you get to a certain level of proficiency, you can take a more upright stance and still be able to dazzle. I do see older players that have been doing this awhile play pretty darn good standing pretty much straight up. I also see that they miss some of the longer shots that take a more precise aim, though, so I think it might be beneficial for someone such as yourself to differentiate between shots that require precise aiming and those that require less precise aiming and adjust your stance accordingly. Just be aware that this may cause problems with your consistency. Personally, I figure I'll keep putting up with the pain until it gets too annoying, then look for a way to alleviate it. Using the word alleviate reminded me to suggest that a mild pain reliever may help also. I've tried taking a few days off, but that didn't work for me. The pain was still there when I started playing again.
You may also want to experiment with letting your bridge arm go limp. Just flop it onto the table and let it lie there while you shoot. This will probably put more stress on your back and feel uncomfortable, but once you allow those muscles to build up, it might work to ease the shoulder stress. I've also seen some pretty good shooting from people using a sand/bean bag as a bridge.


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Last edited by bsmutz; 12-20-2007 at 09:42 AM.
  
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12-20-2007, 09:43 AM

I have problems with my right shoulder. After I play for 3 or 4 hours it starts getting sore. Couple of advil in the middle usually help out.

Wake up the next morning lots of times though and can't move my arm. Same problem when I spend a day fishing. Sooner or later it will be surgery time I'm sure. Probably next winter if it continues to worsen.


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12-20-2007, 10:06 AM

Have you tried exercise? Use 1 lb weights and extend your arms. Any more weight and the movement will transfer to your back muscles.
  
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12-20-2007, 10:22 AM

When I retired from BOEING in 1998, I thought I had shoulder problems. Then I started playing POOL again & sometimes I could NOT pick up my arm (rotate it up from the shoulder joint). My Ortho-Pedic Doc said I had Rotor-Cuff problems & will probably face surgery.

7 years later, I have not had surgery & the pain has gone away (for the most part). I hope that my problem was slowly exercised away.




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12-20-2007, 10:27 AM

I'm 6 weeks out of surgery and I'm playing better than I ever have. No pain except when I jack up for certain shots. I definitely won't be jumping for another few months.

I'm also 23, so that might have something to do with it.

Also using a heat-pack on your shoulders should help quite a lot before a session.


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12-20-2007, 10:30 AM

Hi guys...thanks for the input so far. I have been dealing with the pain and sometimes it's better than others. My left arm is really bad...I can't lift it over my head without MAJOR pain....but that is the stroke arm and it doesn't really hurt too much when I play. What I was wondering was if the stroke arm having a range of motion issue(even though my elbow going back and forth doesnt' hurt) would affect my accuracy. And, if so, did anyone else have the problem and what did you do about it. Once I"m in my shooting stance my shoulder does not move...only from the elbow down....and I rarely shoot hard.


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12-20-2007, 12:00 PM

Try a google search using rotator cuff and RSB. I've answered this a few times.


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12-20-2007, 09:15 PM

Many doctors mistake rotor/rotator cuff issues with a relatively new problem identified as Thoracic Outflow Syndrome (TOS). Symptoms include a very painful shoulder that feels like rotor cuff pain and quickly turns to numbness from the lower shoulder radiating down one side of the arm and thumb.
The syndrome is aggravated and possibly caused by the upward tilt of the head and neck that occurs for most people when viewing a computer monitor, large screen tv and certainly when playing pool. I've been treated for the past month by one of the finest Orthopedic guys in the country for TOS and the pain has subsided and now we're working to eliminate the numbness issue. At least I can play without the pain. I also switched from a PC to a laptop so it's easier to avoid cocking by head & neck upward during the way too many hours spent on AZB!
Seriously though, if you're experiencing any of these symptoms, you might question your doc about TOS.


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12-20-2007, 09:19 PM

Drew,
I am not sure what exercise you are referring to, more explanation may be required, such as what position you are doing them in, and what body part you are extending. Extending your shoulder in standing would be to move your arm back behind you, which would generally cause more pain with a rotator cuff injury.

Hierovision,
I am assuming you did not have a rotator cuff repair, and had something more simple like an acromioplasty. I would not allow any of my patients to play pool after 6 wks post op RTC repair if it was their bridge arm. An acromioplasty or something similar could be a different story.

Leehayes,
I would think the trouble you are having with your accuracy would be stemming more from your bridge arm than your back arm (not that it could not be your back arm), especially if the back arm does not hurt during your stroke. When you put your arm into the bridge position, it can impinge the rotator cuff between the humeral head (your upper arm bone) and a bone from your shoulder blade called the acromion. The supraspinatus muscle, the most commonly torn RTC muscle runs in between them. This is a fairly common problem in pool players. My first suggestion would be to bend your elbow. This will decrease the angle at your shoulder. You really want it be under 90 degrees of elevation if possible, with under 60 being the best. 60 would be almost impossible to shoot pool with though. The less angle at you shouilder though, the less change for the impingement. The other things that may help are icing the shoulder (or heating) to decrease inflammation, and possibly strengthening the 3 other muscles of the RTC to help them perform their function. You may have to be careful with these though depending on how much you other muscle is torn. In general, getting a decent ex program from a physical therapist will be your best initial treatment, with surgery possibly being your only permanent solution depending on the size of your tears. PM with anymore questions, or if you would like more detailed info. I work with these types of injuries all the time.
  
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12-20-2007, 09:19 PM

Drew,
I am not sure what exercise you are referring to, more explanation may be required, such as what position you are doing them in, and what body part you are extending. Extending your shoulder in standing would be to move your arm back behind you, which would generally cause more pain with a rotator cuff injury.

Hierovision,
I am assuming you did not have a rotator cuff repair, and had something more simple like an acromioplasty. I would not allow any of my patients to play pool after 6 wks post op RTC repair if it was their bridge arm. An acromioplasty or something similar could be a different story.

Leehayes,
I would think the trouble you are having with your accuracy would be stemming more from your bridge arm than your back arm (not that it could not be your back arm), especially if the back arm does not hurt during your stroke. When you put your arm into the bridge position, it can impinge the rotator cuff between the humeral head (your upper arm bone) and a bone from your shoulder blade called the acromion. The supraspinatus muscle, the most commonly torn RTC muscle runs in between them. This is a fairly common problem in pool players. My first suggestion would be to bend your elbow. This will decrease the angle at your shoulder. You really want it be under 90 degrees of elevation if possible, with under 60 being the best. 60 would be almost impossible to shoot pool with though. The less angle at you shouilder though, the less change for the impingement. The other things that may help are icing the shoulder (or heating) to decrease inflammation, and possibly strengthening the 3 other muscles of the RTC to help them perform their function. You may have to be careful with these though depending on how much you other muscle is torn. In general, getting a decent ex program from a physical therapist will be your best initial treatment, with surgery possibly being your only permanent solution depending on the size of your tears. PM with anymore questions, or if you would like more detailed info. I work with these types of injuries all the time.
  
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12-20-2007, 09:43 PM

Not a rotator cuff issue here, but I popped my clavicle on my stroking arm right out with a really bad fall on the ice a couple of yrs ago. Long and short of it is they can't reset it without surgery, and they only typically to the surgery for athletes (apparently pool players don't count). It's still half out but doesn't bother me too much. It did change my game a little bit though. I'd always played with ~19oz cues but I found myself struggling a lot with my stroke after the accident. It was just choppy. I went down to a 17.8oz cue and my stroke is totally back to normal and fluid. The lighter cue also doesn't tire my shoulder nearly as much. Aside from weight though, I've also noticed that I'm a lot more sensitive to balance points now. A balance point over 19.5-20 inches just doesn't feel good on the shoulder at all (like something's rubbing in there), no idea why.
And of course I went to a much lighter case as well....
  
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12-20-2007, 09:43 PM

double post... argggg database issues.
  
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