Every year young athletes deal with tired, sore arms. Even worse, when not treated properly, what started as a simple ailment can quickly turn into a season-ending injury, or worse, major reconstructive surgery.
Whether it's baseball or softball -- or any other sport involving constant use of the arm -- the tips below can provide relief from an arm already in pain.
Tired Arm Remedy No.1: R.I.C.E.
The first thing you should do when you have a sore arm is make an appointment with doctor. In the interim employ the R.I.C.E method -- which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Rest: Don't throw for a few days until arm pain has subsided and you have visited a doctor.
Ice: Alternate with 20 minutes of ice time, 20 minutes with ice off and back to 20 minutes of ice time.
Compression: Wrap the arm with an ACE bandage to minimize inflammation.
Elevation: Keep the injured area elevated above the level of the heart with a pillow.
Tired Arm Remedy No.2: Strengthen the Shoulder Girdle
Most people focus on strengthening the rotator cuff. This is important, but be sure not to overlook the muscles surrounding the scapula or shoulder blade.
The following two movements can both help an injured shoulder and prevent an injury from occurring. Note: Be sure to check with your doctor or physical therapist first before attempting these movements.
Internal External Rotation: With bands looped under feet and upper arm parallel to ground, rotate hands down so they are level with the elbow. Pull back up with constant tension. Perform three sets of 12-15 reps, 2-3 times per week. Light dumbbells can also be used in place of bands.
Cuban Press: As above, hold bands at sides. Pinch shoulders back, then pull weight up with constant tension and upper arm parallel to ground. Perform three sets of 12-15 reps, three times per week. Again, light dumbbells can also be used.
Tired Arm Remedy No.3: Massage
Whether massage increases blood flow to the muscles, a general deep tissue sports massage can work out muscle adhesions and tension in the arm. For athletes that perform the same activity at a high volume, such as a pitcher, schedule time with a massage practitioner at least once per week during the season. This can reduce the risk of repetitive injuries, such as tendonitis, and prime your body for peak performance.
Note: For acute injuries, such as a hamstring pull, immediate massage is not recommended initially. Try inflammation- reducing strategies such as R.I.C.E before you turn to massage.
Tired Arm Remedy No.4: Sleep and Proper Nutrition
Though common sense, these two areas are often overlooked -- and can make or break how your body feels and recovers.
The key is to keep it simple. (The last thing you need to do is stress yourself out.) Get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, preferably more. Eat fresh, whole foods that help with your recovery and performance
These methods seem simple, yet many fail to follow any or all of them. They can make a tremendous difference in your ability to recover from injury and everyday wear and tear -- no matter what sport you're playing.
Jon Doyle, MA, CSCS is an internationally published strength & conditioning specialist. His cutting-edge methods are used by professional athletes from all major sports, as well as youth sports participants from around the globe. For more information check out his new Web site DoyleFitness.com.