“How to beat aches and pains if you love to bowl”
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
One of the most popular recreational activities is bowling.
It truly is fun for the whole family. The wonderful thing about bowling is that it can be played and enjoyed at all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or on the PBA tour… or in between, you can find bowling to give you a good time. But bowling can also give you PAIN!
Bowling is a set up for neck pain. The weight of the ball as well as the motion needed to launch your ball can lead to neck strain. This causes muscle aches in the neck and shoulders. You can also get headaches. So what do you do? Well, first, recognize that this is going to happen if you don’t take frequent breaks. It’s a good idea to stretch before and after you play.
Your shoulders can also hurt. The bowling motion can cause strain as well as a condition called impingement. This is when your rotator cuff tendons get pinched. It’s a common problem. Specific stretching exercises for the shoulder before and after you do any type of activity that requires arm movement should help. Also, make sure you take frequent breaks. Ice packs after you work sometimes help with the pain as do over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines.
Elbow pain is a common problem after any type of repetitive arm motion. Doing any type of repetitive activity as in retrieving and lifting your ball can lead to painful condition called lateral epicondylitis. This is a type of tendonitis that affects the outside part of the elbow. Stretching before you play can help as can stretching and ice after you play. Anti-inflammatory medicines, an elbow band, and physical therapy also can help. You may need a cortisone injection.This lartter treatment is falling into disfavor because it causes relief at the excpense of degeneration of tendon tissue. A much more physiologic treatment is ultrasound guided injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) which builds new tendon tissue.
Hand and wrist pain is another common problem. Wrist strain involving the tendons is common. And carpal tunnel syndrome can also occur. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where the median nerve into the hand gets pinched. This causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand. Treatment consists of physical therapy, a splint, and sometime injecting with steroid. In some instances, surgery is required. Different forms of tendonitis can also develop after bowling. You can get trigger finger where the finger seems to stick. A painful tendonitis of the thumb can also be a result of bowling.
Low back pain can come on from standing too long in one place or by lifting and carrying heavy articles... such as a bowling ball. Make sure you lift with your legs. You may need to go down on one knee before you lift. Keep your back straight and your head up. Test the item you’re going to lift before you lift it. Don’t twist. Stretch before you play and also afterward. Use ice packs if you strain your back. Over the counter medication can sometimes help also. See your doctor if the pain is severe or doesn’t go away within a day or two.
Knee pain can result if you’re not careful when you squat. Be careful not to go down too long or with too much weight. Sitting around at the bowling alley can lead to a stiff low back, hips, or knees... or all three!
Make sure you stretch. Moist heat can help loosen things up. Acute injuries though should be treated with ice!
Wear comfortable shoes to protect your ankles and feet.
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