Pulled your shoulder or back playing golf in St. Pete? Here’s why you should get that injury checked out

May 19, 2021

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That twinge in your shoulder or back after a few rounds of golf can easily be written off as an inconvenience, and it very well might be. Has it happened before, though? Do you have an especially troublesome corner of your back or part of your hip that always seems to flare up after a day on the course (or the courts)? Though they may not be accompanied by a sharp pain or limited mobility, these small recurring injuries are crucial to pay attention to. They are your body’s way of signaling that a particular area needs some special attention – ideally, by a professional. Making an appointment with a physical therapist now is likely to save you a lot of time, freedom, and mobility in the future. In this post, we’re diving into the practical, real-life reasons why you should get that injury checked out by a licensed physical therapist. Let’s get started.

Much More Than Just Pain Management

If your weekly trip to the golf course or tennis court results in a tweaked muscle or joint that you usually write off as “not that big of a deal,” it’s important to remember that just because the pain isn’t severe doesn’t mean it isn’t worth checking out. Seeing a physical therapist now, while an injury is just a nuisance and not a detriment to your lifestyle, will do wonders for reducing the pain – but there’s a lot more to it. Being proactive about treating a small injury or discomfort is the ultimate way to prevent it from escalating into something more serious. It’s not just about taking away the pain (though that’s definitely a part of it); it’s about helping to maintain a great activity level and quality of life for you now and in the future.

Improve Long-term Mobility and Performance

When you have a sore shoulder, tender back, or any other “minor” sports injury, it is affecting your mobility in more ways than you realize – and it’s more common than you might think. Shoulder pain, for example, is the third most common musculoskeletal complaint presenting to general care providers and physical therapists. When one of your joints or muscles pains you, you automatically begin to compensate by adjusting your movements, both while active and in your everyday life, so as not to activate it. This is important to consider for two reasons: it can affect your form when playing, which could leave you susceptible to further injury. Luckily, physical therapy is an excellent way to attack the root cause of your discomfort by combating the stiffness and soreness in ways that don’t do any further damage. Working with a physical therapist who understands your lifestyle and your goals will help you to reach them in realistic and manageable ways.

Prevent Serious Issues Long-term

It may feel too early to be concerned with issues like arthritis and osteoporosis, but the reality is that untreated injuries can be catalysts for the early onset of these conditions. Preventing serious conditions in the future is one of the ways in which physical therapy is most beneficial – and if you’re experiencing discomfort now, take it as a useful signal from your body that it’s a good time to consider being proactive.

In fact, studies have shown that the earlier you get that painful shoulder or back pain treated, the better: the most favourable prognosis and outcomes are those of acute onset (<6 weeks), low baseline pain level, and early presentation. The major factor that has been shown to be the greatest predictor for poor outcomes is ‘high pain intensity’ at first presentation. This is why it is so important to address these “twinges” or “nags” early on instead of waiting!

Soreness is virtually never a sign that everything is A-OK; recurring soreness is your body’s way of asking for help. Though it may be minor now, a painful body part is susceptible to further injury down the line. Don’t put yourself in the position of having to choose between continuing to be active and avoiding a serious injury. Seeing a physical therapist now makes it considerably more likely that you’ll be able to do both.

Avoid Needing Surgery (It’s More Likely than You Think)

It’s unpleasant to think about, but we promise we’re not being alarmist. When injuries – however small – go untreated, they are far more likely to be further aggravated (even if it’s just by everyday movement). When that happens, the risk of further injury increases – and so does the risk of needing surgery. It’s unpleasant to think about, and though it feels like a stretch, physical therapists see this happen all the time. We strongly recommend listening to the signals that your body is giving off now in order to avoid needing surgery and set yourself up for long-term comfort and mobility.

At the end of the day, here’s why you should get that injury checked out: it’ll do wonders for your quality of life and mobility, especially as time passes. It can be difficult to work physical therapy into your busy schedule, but our professional opinion is that it’s completely worth it. Find out how you can incorporate helpful exercises and activities into your jam-packed daily routine here.