Shoulder injuries including rotator cuff problems frequently plague athletes in sports that require repetitive overhead motions, including swimming, basketball, tennis, pitching, and weightlifting. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons of the approximately 7.5 million people who visit a doctor for shoulder problems, more than 4.1 million of these visits were for rotator cuff injury or problems.
New research in Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, tested a forearm supported yoga pose as a possible alternative treatment for rotator cuff syndrome. Researchers examined 50 outpatient subjects with partial or full thickness supraspinatus tears. The participants practiced a triangular supported forearm posture, based on a yoga series used by yoga luminary B. K. S. Iyengar.
Researchers found that the forearm supported pose elicited an improvement in shoulder abduction and flexion, and a reduction in pain. Researchers also found that the yoga posture appeared to reduce pain and disability of the rotator cuff syndrome quickly, and permanently for some patients. These positive results were maintained long term, at a two and a half year follow up. This study suggests that alternative therapies could be useful for prevention and treatment of sports related injuries and pain.