How Can Sitting On Your Rear Hurt Your Elbow? Corrective Exercise and Manual Therapy Can Help!

Hi There

Does this look and feel familiar? Even for those of us who move our body for a portion of the work day must get stuck with the inevitable paper and or computer work. My student athletes are subjected to these postures for 6 plus hours a day at school, never mind meals, transportation to and from school, doing homework and “down time” playing video games or watching TV.

Imagine what happens to the length of their muscles, strength of their muscles, joint movement and coordination? Not good! We know that the human body is an amazingly adaptive organism and it will adapt to whatever stimulus we provide to it repeatedly. The S.A.I.D. Principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) tidily explains this. Couple this with repetitive movements and pattern overload and our athletes are on a sure path for an injury or at least sub-optimal performance.

This picture demonstrates a very important force couple that produces upward rotation of the scapulae and eccentrically decelerates downward rotation of the scapulae. These muscles are often weak and the downward rotators of the scapulae; levator scapulae, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi/teres major are often overactive and lack extensibility. The rounded shoulder/chair borne posture above can lead to this imbalance which puts the shoulder (and other aspects of the kinetic chain) under greater than stress. Remember, an “injury” occurs when tissue experiences greater force(s) than it can accommodate. It won’t take long for this imbalance to lead to rotator cuff tendinitis, headaches, low back pain or elbow pain. If the scapulae is misaligned then the glenohumeral joint will not articulate properly. With throwing athletes, over-head athletes and tennis players the internal rotation of the humerus on their follow through is critical for shoulder health. If the can not rotate internally (ideally 70 degrees from a 90 degree horizontally abducted position) then there will be significant forces placed on the ulna collateral ligament. Hello tennis elbow if this happens too often! That’s how too much sitting can lead to elbow pain:)

Corrective Exercise and Manual Therapy can go a long way to restore optimal human movement and eliminate the symptoms of these imbalances.

As I mentioned yesterday, I filmed the first half of my video last Sunday (tentatively titled Secrets and Staples of Training the Tennis Shoulder) and look to finish next Sunday. I noticed that the camera man was getting into the presentation. He started to move his shoulder around, palpate muscles and mimic assessments as I talked about them. I could almost hear him say “hhmmmm..” and “oh yeah…” as he was noticing some imbalances and limited ranges of motion. He appeared to have some issues that may have not been cleaned up completely and were still effecting his quality of movement. I hope that he applies some of the things I talked about!

Here is a link to a blog post that I made in January. It has a short video that goes over some self care techniques to help keep the shoulder joint moving correctly.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Eric Beard
Athletic Performance Enhancement Specialist
Corrective Exercise Specialist

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