Tips to Improve Swimming Shoulder Inflammation

Dr. GJohn Mullen Blog, Dr. John Mullen, Injuries, Latest&Greatest Leave a Comment

Inflammation is the first stage of any musculoskeletal injury. This process involves infiltration of many inflammatory signaling cells (cytokines). If irritation continues, then inflammation will not subside. Therefore, it is essential to improve inflammation as soon as possible. Once inflammation resolves, assessing muscle length, strength, and timing is essential.

In some cases, inflammation surrounds the joint, in other cases, the bursae are inflamed, as in bursitis. Bursae are closed, round, flattened sacs that are lined with synovium and separate bare areas of bone from overlapping muscles (deep bursae) or skin and tendons (superficial bursae). They are present in areas of high friction and believed to decrease rubbing and absorb some of the pressure associated with the joint.

Deep bursae develop in fetal life, whereas superficial bursae form within months to several years after birth, suggesting that direct pressure and friction stimulates their development. For example, some of these sacs develop in response to the environment, suggesting swimmers would have a higher volume of bursae in the shoulder to handle the high volume of overhead movements in swimming.

Whether you have bursitis or joint inflammation, decreasing inflammation is essential for improvement. Think about it, if you have too much fluid in a confined area, then mechanical pressure increases on nocioceptors (read TENS for shoulder pain) and pain persist. Luckily, everyone has the tools at home to improve inflammation with minimal cost or drug prescription from a physician.

Tips to Improve Shoulder Inflammation

  1. Improve your diet: Improving your Omega-3 profile decreases inflammation. Read more about anti-inflammatory foods.
  2. Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS): Storied physician Dr. Janda suggests taking 600 mg three times a day to improve inflammation (for a 150-pound athlete). This high dose ensures the blood reaches titer level. Make sure to take this dose with food to decrease stomach irritation and if you take other medication, make sure no potential side effects are present. If stomach irritation occurs, decrease intake immediately.
  3. Ice: Ice the joint for twenty minutes three times a day to decrease pain via counter irritation and relax the anti-inflammatory cytokines.
  4. Kinesiotape: Certain taping procedures are believed to help move excess fluid from the joint to the lymph nodes to resolve inflammation.

For more tips on inflammation and improving shoulder pain, buy Swimmer’s Shoulder System today.

Written By:

Dr. GJohn Mullen


Dr. GJohn Mullen, DPT, CSCS is a World renowned expert and speaker in sports training and rehabilitation. He received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at USC, as well as the Josette Antonelli Division Service Scholarship, Order of the Golden Cane, and the Order of Areté. At USC, he also performed research on swimming biomechanics and lung adaptations in swimming training. Dr. GJohn has worked with multiple professional and Olympic athletes, helping them earn Olympic medals.

His dedication to research and individualization spurred him to open COR in 2011. Since 2011, Dr. GJohn has been featured in Gizmodo, Motherboard, Stack Magazine, Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, USA Swimming, USA Triathlon, Swimming Science, and much more.

He has worked with the numerous colleges and teams regarding rehab and performance. Before his Doctoral program, Dr. GJohn swam on an athletic scholarship at Purdue University.

At Purdue, Dr. GJohn was an Academic Honorable Mention All-American and was awarded the Red Mackey Award and R. O. Papenguh Award. He also won the Purdue Undergraduate business plan and elevator pitch competition, as well as 1st prize with the Indiana Soy Bean Alliance.

Dr. GJohn was born in Centerville, Ohio and was a 24-time high school All-American Swimmer. Dr. GJohn is still a swimmer and holds a Masters Swimming World and Pacific Swimming Record.

Originally written on 05/17/2012.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.