A study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reportedly supports the use of the Spencer technique to help restore range of motion and prevent shoulder injuries among baseball players.

Researchers evaluated the osteopathic medicine technique—in which a clinician guides the shoulder joint through its full range of motion (ROM)—among pitchers from Seton Hill University’s men’s baseball team. They note in the study that a single administration of the technique helped restore internal rotation of the players’ shoulder back toward baseline.

“We know repeated overhead throwing alters range of motion in the shoulder, which can hinder performance and increase susceptibility to injury,” says Amber Eade, PhD, the study’s lead researcher, in a media release from the American Osteopathic Association. “Physical therapists and trainers have been using the Spencer technique to address this problem; however, there has been no research to support that approach until now.”

In their study, the researchers measured the baseball team players’ ROM to establish a baseline, then measured it again 1 week later. During that time, the researchers saw a 14% reduction of internal rotation in the players’ shoulder joint as a result of training.

After administering the Spencer technique, the researchers re-evaluated the players and found that their internal rotation was restored 85% back toward the first week’s measurements, per the release.

“Considering that study participants were college-level players and the vast majority had been pitching several years, it was surprising to see the effects a week of playing had on their range of motion,” says Stacey England, DO, the osteopathic physician overseeing the study, in the release.

“Osteopathic medicine is focused on prevention, so it was equally encouraging to see the effect of the Spencer technique. This is a great first step in determining the full potential of this technique for baseball players and whether more frequent administration can reduce rates of shoulder injury in follow-up studies,” she adds.

The researchers conclude by encouraging team physicians, trainers, and physical therapists to consider the possible benefits of the Spencer technique for their players.

[Source(s): American Osteopathic Association, Science Daily]