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Shoulder Pain and Neck Tension in Golf Swing

Your Pain Pattern,
What Aggravates It,

The Underlying Anatomy
How to Get Relief,
and more…

Want to skip ahead?
Here’s a link to my post about
getting relief on your own.

How People Describe This Pain Pattern

Shoulder Pain During Swing

Patients complain about pain in the shoulder occurring at the end of their golf swing. When I ask them to demonstrate, they slowly go through the golf swing, pausing a little extra at the end to produce the pain. Sometimes they will not get the pain unless they make the motion fairly quickly.

Usually, illustrations show this pain as happening in the front. However, most patients say that it feels like it is in the joint or in the back of the shoulder at the end of the golf swing.

Weakened Grip

When acutely aggravated, the pain extends down the arm and can weaken the grip. This weakness may cause the club to fly out of their hand at the end of the swing. These people may also fumble their coffee cup or cocktail at the clubhouse.

Neck Tension

There is usually a complaint of tension in the top of the neck when asked, but then the patient will dismiss this as “normal pain.” Also, they commonly have some stiffness in their back that limits the golf swing and forces them to extend the shoulder around a little more at the end.

Some patients complain of pain in the shoulder when starting their swing, but it isn’t as common. They have typically learned to slow their wind up, especially at the beginning of their game. Many of them have a set of exercises that their therapist gave them to warm up for golf. These exercises offer temporary relief but don’t fix the shoulder.

Don’t Ignore This

By the way, this is a rotator cuff problem, and you should get some bodywork. Don’t just stretch it out before every game or “tough it out.” This problem usually gets more disabling and expensive to handle. An experienced massage therapist or physical therapist can help you.

How You Activate and Intensify This Pain Pattern

Sleep Position

The patient might additionally complain about pain in the shoulder while sleeping. Much of the time, if the person is complaining about the golf swing, then we’ll find that their sleeping position has been adjusted to avoid the shoulder pain created by this trigger point.

Reaching Behind

The situation may also be aggravated by reaching to the back seat to tend to a child or to retrieve a bag from the floorboard. Reaching back to tuck in the shirt or fasten a bra usually hurts as well. We then learn to put on a shirt or jacket without reaching back too far.

The self-care post has more ideas on what you should do to care for this.


The Musculoskeletal Anatomy Behind Your Pain

Start by Understanding the Anatomy.
About the coloring of the illustrations…

This rotator cuff muscle externally rotates the glenohumeral joint. You can read more about that in this post about infraspinatus.

Getting Relief on Your Own

Clinically Proven
Self-Care Strategies

This one of several problems created by trigger points in the infraspinatus. So, this post covers self-care for your golf-swing and a few others.

It has strategies for getting relief on your own. Explore how to change your activities, stretch, and other strategies that relieve the pain associated with this trigger point.

Therapy Notes for Massage and Bodywork

Better Bodywork
Through Shared Expertise

This post has techniques, tips, treatment routines, and anatomy illustrations to improve the bodyworker’s approach.

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Featured Post

Does Your Shoulder Hurt From the Covid-19 Vaccine?

This post offers quick, lasting relief from the pain in your shoulder that came from the vaccine. You will need an ice cube and about 2 minutes.

Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

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*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistencies in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.