Players of all ages typically experience tennis elbow at least one time in their playing lives. Some have even more serious issues with their shoulders or wrists.
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We blame the racquet, the new strings or the tension. Sometimes pinpoint our stroke production as the culprit. However, we almost never look at our lifestyle and the imbalances that it creates in our bodies.
We spend most of our time sitting. We sit while studying, working at the computer, writing, reading books, watching TV, or playing computer games.
Most of the time, we slouch with our shoulders and head leaning forward and the back rounded. Imagine what it does to your spine if you spend eight or more hours in this posture every day.
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Other activities, such as driving your car, riding a bike, cooking, cleaning or gardening, encourage the forward slouched posture as well.
After many years, our shoulders turn forward permanently, where the chest muscles are shortened and the upper back muscles are weak.
When you play tennis, you hit thousands of forehands, backhands, volleys and serves during your practices. The movement of the arm originates in the shoulder for each stroke. You will experience stress on the shoulder joint every time you hit the ball with forward tilted shoulders that have positional and muscular dysfunctions.
If your shoulders aren't properly aligned or the muscles are unevenly strong, the motion in the shoulder joint doesn't happen correctly and the joint is put under extra stress risking an injury in the future.
Additional forces may be transferred to the elbow or wrist and over time, you may develop wrist or elbow pains.
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Instead of running to the doctor to get a cortisone shot, try to pay attention to your shoulder alignment first. A cortisone shot often treats a symptom. You need to correct the cause of your pains to get rid of your problems permanently.
Taking care of your imbalances now will help you avoid future pains and it will greatly lengthen your tennis career.
Our bodies are optimally functional when the posture is erect, with a slightly arched back, a curvature in the neck and a head positioned directly over the shoulders.