Throwing Arm Pain
One of the best weapons a catcher has is their arm. Having a strong arm that is in good shape will change the way base runners will think about you. This is a good reason why you should always treat your arm the best you can so it is always in game ready shape and not hurting or aching.
The best solution to pain in the throwing arm – or preventing it – is to ice and heat it after using it. Usually after a good practice or game would be the ideal time. Icing it right after will help with the pain by numbing it and also help with any inflammation you may have. Afterwards, you will want to put heat on it to relax your muscles. This is the way pitchers go about to treat and prevent their arms from pain and injury.
When icing, you can use bags of ice taped on you or you can use a shoulder/upper arm ice pack. I really enjoy the shoulder/upper ice pack as it covers the main spots of your arm and secures tightly around it with its straps. You’ll store this in the freezer and remove it when needed at home. You can also bring a cooler to games and practices with this so you can put it on right after throwing which is ideal.
Icing after workouts
I’m sure every athlete that is reading this knows after a good workout you will feel either: muscle stiffness, swelling, decline in strength, or muscle soreness. Or possibly could have all problems that were stated. This delayed soreness is known as DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness. Doctors believe that due to damage to your muscle fibers from working out will be the cause of DOMS.
What the ice accomplishes is that the cold temperature from the ice constricts blood cells, decreasing metabolic activity, and compresses the muscles through hydrostatic pressure (Source: Dr. Mike Reinold, http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/trainer-qa-do-ice-baths-help-muscle-soreness). Dr. Mike Reinold, who is the head physical therapist for the Boston Red Sox, continues to state that by slowing down cell processes and using compression that it helps remove wasteful products such as lactic acids within the muscle.
**Remember to not apply ice directly to the skin. Use a towel over the ice pack before applying it to the skin **
Use the heat and get that throwing arm pain down!
Heat is used to relax the muscles in our body and stimulate blood flow. Heat also helps make the blood vessel larger which helps flush away chemicals are making your arm hurt. It is a good idea to apply heat to certain areas of your body before a game to help with their elasticity of joints and get into shape and prevent injuries. Some good ways player can get heat on their arm are: a hot shower, Jacuzzi, and heating packs.
One way to strengthen the players arm is to consistently throw. When a player throws on a consistent basis he will then build up the muscles in his arm. By building up the muscles it will help with endurance and have better longevity in the players arm before pain sets in. A good technique to strengthen ones arm is to do long toss. Throwing long toss really makes the player use all of their arm and also stretches out there are to fully maximize the throwing motion. But I suggest doing long toss during the off-season. I say this because consistently doing long toss can put a lot of strain on your arm when doing it for the first time. Players also have a lot of stress on their arm from the consistent games and practices they have during the season.
Remember the acronym RICE. RICE stands for Rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Rest means to stop your activity and give your body break so it can heal from overuse. Remember that arms were not made to be throwing overhand and it causes a lot of stress on the shoulder and arm.
The ice step is pretty straight forward. Use ice to suppress the swelling and numb the pain. Only ice for 20 minutes or so and then give it a rest. If you need more icing done, space the icing out. After icing, use heat to relax your muscles.
Use compression such as an elastic bandage to wrap the area as that will also help decrease swelling. Make sure that the bandage is not too tight that will restrict your blood flow.
The final step, E, stands are elevation. Keeping your arm above your heart will also help with swelling.
You can also try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which can help with pain and swelling. That may sound like a fancy name, but all I am talking about is Ibuprofen (example would be advil).
With this information, I hope that you have learned how important it is to take care of your arm. If you have any questions about anything, please head over to the contact page and send me a message.