Following an aggressive game of water polo at a nameless all-inclusive resort in Mexico this past winter I have been troubled by a nagging shoulder injury. It has not taken me away from work or play to this point, but has affected my quality of sleep and I have to be careful with certain movements.

Like everyone else with injuries, I have self-diagnosed myself, albeit probably with a little more accuracy than the non-medical trained individual. There are a myriad of different shoulder injuries that can occur including dislocations, separations (sprains), rotator cuff injuries, impingements, and adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder).

As with many people, I have waited it out for a few weeks with my shoulder before getting it specifically looked at. I knew it was sore, but figured it would just get better. Well age, severity of injury or overuse has not allowed that to happen. After paying a little more attention to it I ran myself through a series of orthopaedic tests to narrow down what was happening. I am experiencing what is know as impingement syndrome where the tendon of one of the rotator cuff muscles is being irritated as it passes through an anatomical space. This makes reaching overhead and out to the side painful and has also affected my strength in the arm.

I have been getting it treated with Active Release Technique, massage and also acupuncture from fellow Castanet columnist Ryan Samuels. All of these have been helpful but the one thing that will keep this from becoming a chronic; debilitating injury is to build strength. The easy route is to let someone try and take care of an injury for you, but no matter the injury, you are going to have to strengthen the area to get back to 100%. This is the hard work and often there can be hills and valleys associated.

Here is a link to an article that has 5 simple (not easy) shoulder exercises that can be done for shoulder injuries. These exercises can be done with simply tubing or band. They are not designed to be a cure all by any means and if you are experiencing sharp shoulder pain associated with them, please have yourself assessed properly.