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"I am a pitcher, and have had shoulder pains in my throwing arm for 4 years. What is it?"

ZocdocAnswersI am a pitcher, and have had shoulder pains in my throwing arm for 4 years. What is it?


It has gotten no better and my velocity has decreased. I have seen doctors about it and they just say to stretch, but it has been no help. It mainly hurts on the back and side of shoulder.


I am sorry to hear that you are having persistent problems with your shoulder! Unfortunately, chronic shoulder problems are very common in pitchers because of the repetitive strain to the joint with the throwing motion. If you have not talked to a doctor about this, I would highly recommend that you start with that. If your team has a sports medicine doctor on staff, that might be a good place to begin. Sports medicine doctors are highly skilled at diagnosing and treating basic joint injuries, usually through a combination of stretching, rest and grade exercise, and physical therapy. They can also help you figure out whether your shoulder issue is more serious and might require a visit with an orthopedic surgeon. The role of the orthopedic surgeon in the treatment of shoulder injuries is to help determine whether there is something going on in the shoulder that requires an invasive intervention. Examples of the kinds of shoulder injuries that can benefit from surgery include a torn tendon in the rotator cuff, or severe damage to the cartilage inside the joint. Both doctors might also recommend additional imaging, such as an MRI of the shoulder, to help define a bit better what exactly is going on inside the joint.

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