Baseball Rehab and Arm Care
Throwing a baseball puts a unique and demanding stress on the elbow, shoulder, and trunk. This force can often lead to repetitive stress injuries including rotator cuff tendinopathy, little league elbow, UCL strain, thoracic outlet syndrome, ulnar neuritis, and lat strains (to name a few). I have helped numerous high school and college baseball players by combining targeted manual therapy, dry needling, and strengthening with a full analysis of their kinetic chain and force distribution to determine the source of their repetitive stress.
Recently, I was able to assist a prominent pitcher with the Cleveland Guardians return to the mound after a bout of lingering back pain.
When I first met the player, he was in the minor league system and struggling to rotate without severe lower back pain. This is obviously an issue for a pitcher that requires significant trunk torque to throw. After four PT treatment sessions, I was able to help him return to the mound without pain.
So why was I able to help him when his trainers and staff could not?
The patient had developed myofascial trigger points in his trunk muscles associated with rotation, particularly in the deep quadratus lumborum, iliocostalis, and obliques. Previous treatment of his soft tissues was incomplete and not thorough enough to resolve these issues. Through proper palpation and deep trigger point needling, I was able to reduce the muscle tightness and improve his trunk mobility.
The patient lacked hip internal rotation on his front leg. This forced him to create more mobility in his lumbar spine and potentially led to the development of myofascial pain in his trunk.
His strength program was not specific and challenging enough to bridge the gap for him to return to pitching. After treating the patient with dry needling and greatly reducing his pain, it was imperative to implement a proper strength program that would allow rebuilding of his capacity to pitch at a high level.
Treating baseball players and overhead athletes is many times more complicated than just looking at one area. It involves assessing the entire kinetic chain and looking for mobility deficits and weaknesses. If you are struggling to get back on the field or dealing with lingering soft tissue injuries make an appointment and I would be happy to help!