Can Playing Pool Cause Shoulder Pain?

can playing pool cause shoulder pain

When it comes to sports, pool is associated more with leisure than more grueling examples like football, hockey, or soccer. That said, it is still a sport and one question which we hear often is ‘can playing pool cause shoulder pain?’.

The answer is yes. Playing pool often can cause shoulder pain or make pre-existing shoulder pain worse due to the repetitive motion of using a pool cue to strike the cue ball. Repetitive motions like this can cause rotator cuff or other should health problems in the long-term as with almost any other sport.

Shoulder pain as a result of playing Pool, although not common, can certainly occur. In this article we will explain more about shoulder pain from playing Pool, what you can help to help prevent it, and some simple, but effective, over the counter methods you can do if you’re already experiencing shoulder pain. But, please be informed that you should always consult a physician first before implementing any type of self-treatment.

How Can You Injure Your Shoulder Playing Pool?

Any sport that requires a repetitive motion on your body, be it upper or lower, can result in a bit of wear and tear and pool is indeed a sport. If your work requires heavy use of your upper body it could be that pool is just exacerbating an existing condition but there are other ways that shoulder pain can occur. Here are the most common reasons:

  • Putting too much weight on your non-dominant hand while shooting.  
  • When using a bridge, some people actually push down on it to help them to get back up and this can stress the shoulder
  • Shoulder Bursitis is a condition which may occur when repetitive movements are exercised too often with your shoulders and their ligaments. In this scenario, your subacromial bursa may have become inflamed. As the bursa consists of lubrication-filled sacs that assist in shoulder movements this inflammation can be quite painful.

How to Treat Shoulder Injuries From Playing Pool

If you are already experiencing shoulder pain from playing pool, or other activities, there are some tried and true methods at your disposal which can help. Try one or more of the following treatments to ease your pain so that you can heal up properly:

  • Ice pack – Wrap a frozen icepack in cloth and apply to your shoulder where it hurts, for approximately 10 minutes or 20 at the most. Never apply the icepack without the cloth as this can add frostbite to your troubles.
  • Hot/cold compression – Using a hot/cold compression shoulder support like this one from Amazon is a great way to easily apply hot or cold therapy to an injured shoulder to help speed up recovery.
  • Hot shower – Taking a hot shower afterwards or simply by itself can also help to soothe your shoulder and keep in mind that you want it hot, but more on the ‘warm’ side rather than scolding.
  • OTC medicine – Anti-inflammatory medicines are available over-the-counter, so you won’t need a prescription. Ibuprofen is a good example of this and it’s the favorite of many for reducing inflammation and allowing the healing process to do it’s work.

How to Prevent Shoulder Injuries While Playing Pool

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure, so the best thing that you can do is to be proactive in making sure that this never happens again. Even if you can’t be 100% sure it won’t, these shoulder exercises/stretches will help to minimize your chances at the very least:

  • Stretching and/or exercises – Shoulder and back exercise is always  good idea for strengthening up your back and shoulders to help to make them more resistant in the first place. Aside from this, overarm stretches are a simple way that you can ‘loosen up’ before you play to help avoid any injury.
  • Pendulum exercise (for Shoulder Bursitis) – After placing your hand from the uninjured side on a level surface to balance, bend your knees slightly and rotate your injured arm first in clockwise circles and then counter-clockwise. Do this for 4 or 5 circles each and try to widen the circles a little but don’t push it. This helps and can slowly extend the range of a damaged shoulder.
  • Shoulder rotations – A great exercise for your shoulders, to do a shoulder rotation start by standing straight up and shrug, moving your shoulder blades upward, and then pull your arms back a little to bring the shoulder blades closer together, finally pulling down to complete the rotation. Start with just 5 circles and try to do it daily, adding 5 more rotations each week for the next 4 weeks.

Final Thoughts

Playing pool can indeed cause shoulder pain or irritate any existing injuries your shoulder may be suffering from. Using some form of hot/cold therapy on your shoulder is a great way to ease pain and speed recovery.

You will also want to make shoulder exercises and stretching a regular part of your routine before and after playing pool. Keeping your shoulders strong can help to keep those surprise pains at bay and can also help improve your overall shoulder strength.

If your shoulder is already injured, then it is best to either stop playing pool altogether, or to just play it sparingly so your shoulder can properly heal itself.

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