Rehabilitation in professional baseball is usually a game of attrition: Two steps forward and one step back while planning for an off day, hoping for a rainout, and just trying to get guys through to the offseason. I’ve wanted to acquire a HIVAMAT (Histological Variable Manual Technique) machine for a few years now, but the price just hasn’t agreed with the checkbook.

quadrangular space triangular interval space supraspinatus infraspinatus teres major minor biceps triceps deltoid

Figure: This anatomical diagram depicts treatment areas including the quadrangular space, a favorite target for author Mark Shires when combining HawkGrips with electric current.

So I decided to get a little inventive. I attach a stimulation pad to my patient and one to my HawkGrips instrument and shock away. No, really, I’m a big fan of combining my Marc Pro electrical muscle stimulation device with the conductivity of a HawkGrips instrument to send a current that helps treat swelling/edema. This technique enables me to take advantage of the both the tissue mobilization properties of the instrument and the muscle pump action of the Marc Pro.

Treatment Tips

There are a few important points to keep in mind. First, use a latex glove so you don’t get shocked. Second, although I’ve tried smaller pads to keep them out of the way, it doesn’t work as well that way. Third, traditional oil-based emollient isn’t a good conductor of electricity, so I recommend utilizing ultrasound gel or HawkHydro, the new water-based emollient from HawkGrips.

I treat chronic conditions with a combination of Marc Pro Plus high and low current. The quadrangular space, which one of my pitchers has affectionately named the “Hurt Highway,” is a favorite area (See Figure). I place my low current on the axillary border of the scapula and my high current on the triceps, working on the teres major, latissimus dorsi (which tends to be forgotten in this area), and the posterior capsule. Another target area is the belly of the flexor carpi ulnaris (FCU). I use the HawkGrips HG4 Small Multi-Curve instrument to rake along the interval of the ulna and FCU while introducing a low current to produce a pulsing contraction.

Until next time, keep ‘em healthy.

✶ For an exclusive Practitioner Profile video featuring the author, take a look at the HawkGrips YouTube Channel!

Mark Shires is in his ninth season as athletic Trainer for the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles. This represents his 19th season overall with the Orioles organization, and he has twice been named International League Athletic Trainer of the Year. Shires also serves as an athletic trainer for Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, PA, during the offseason and has utilized HawkGrips since 2011.

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