Dianna is a competitive weightlifter and bodybuilder who started noticing pain and had some difficulty moving her left shoulder properly. When she came in to see us at Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City, her therapist performed a complete evaluation to determine what was causing these problems.
After completing the evaluation, Dianna’s therapist noticed that she had limited range of motion when moving her left shoulder overhead. This was partially due to having tightness in certain muscles of the shoulder and chest. The therapist also identified that Dianna had weakness and decreased stability in the rotator cuff muscles of her shoulder when moving it in a 90-degree direction. This is a position that’s necessary for allowing Diana to complete certain weightlifts safely, and these limitations were preventing her from lifting to her full capacity.
Dianna’s therapist used this information to make a diagnosis of shoulder impingement of the left shoulder (which you can read more about here), and then created a treatment program based on her condition and goals. Dianna stated that she wanted to regain her normal shoulder range of motion and be able to return to performing two overhead weightlifting movements—the snatch and the clean and jerk—at her baseline weights of 53 kg and 65 kg, respectively.
Treatment started with an emphasis on releasing the muscles in her shoulder, chest and arms that were tight and restoring the motion of joints in her upper arm bone (humerus) and collarbone (clavicle). This was accomplished by having the therapist manually perform a series of mobilizations in these regions. Next, we worked on strengthening the muscles of Dianna’s shoulder and surrounding area at their weakest and most crucial points. Finally, her therapist used a technique called neuromuscular re-education, which also used weights to retrain her muscles to work in the proper manner when lifting.
After treatment concluded, Dianna was able to re-establish her full shoulder range of motion and could once again lift her baseline weights in the snatch and clean and jerk lifting. Dianna also reported that she had increased confidence when lifting weights greater than 250 lbs. for Master’s competition, and in October of 2015, she took home third place in a Master’s overall meet.
She now continues to compete without issue and has steadily increased her maximum lifting capacity to 71 kg in the clean and jerk as of this past April, a personal best that she’s been chasing for three years. Dianna also competed in the Master’s Nationals in Savannah, GA in April as well, where she placed fourth in her weight class (63 kg) and age group (40-44).
Dianna had this to say about the treatment she received from Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City: “I just wanted to thank you again for helping me with my shoulder,” she said. “Its range of motion is great and I’m now strong enough to hit a new personal best. Before I came to see you, my shoulder never had the range of motion to sustain that type of weight. Thank you!”
We are thrilled to see Dianna not only return to her previous weightlifting levels, but surpass one of her old baseline weights with a new personal record. We wish her all the best in future competitions and hope that she only continues to improve. For any pain or limited range of motion that you may be having, contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy in New York City at 212-317-8303 and schedule an appointment today.