Make Your Shoulders Move Pain Free Again
Do your shoulders nag and ache, or do they hurt when you try to reach overhead or behind you? Different types of shoulder pain, can tell you more of the underlying problem that is causing your pain.
The shoulder is a complex joint, making shoulder injuries one of the most common experienced injuries. The problem is that when you recover from a shoulder injury, you can’t always be guaranteed that the pain will go away.
For many, the most severe shoulder pain doesn’t occur at the time of the injury itself, but instead happens later, as you recover from your injury and find that your movement is limited, your strength is weakened, and you have more tendencies for future injury. Often, just as frustrating as the actual pain of the injury is the knowledge that injury can happen again at almost any turn.
The most common forms of shoulder injury include:
- Strain / Sprain
- Tear or damage to the rotator cuff
- Tissue, ligament or tendon tear (including torn labrum)
Impingement and rotator cuff injuries are the most common forms of shoulder injury, and both are often accompanied by a series of tears or sprains to the tendons and tissues that support the shoulder joint. Once those tendon’s and tissues are damaged they are more likely to experience further injury in the future. Every time being painful. Every time requiring recovery. Every time leaving an increased threat of it happening yet again.
Making the Pain Go Away
However, there are ways to overcome shoulder pain for good and to reduce your risk of future shoulder injury, thereby making it possible to move your shoulders freely and without pain.
First, restore your shoulder range of motion
Your shoulder is designed to move in 180 degrees of motion in many planes. Therefore, movement is key. By helping all the parts of your shoulder move freely, you can restore the normal mechanics of the shoulder, relieving pinching and inflammation.
Stretch your chest muscles
The pectorals or chest muscles, become chronically tight with prolong sitting or slouching. This dramatically affects the normal motion of the shoulders.
In a sitting or standing position, gently retract your shoulders to feel a stretch in the chest muscles. Keep your neck muscles relaxed. Hold this for 20-30 seconds pain-free and repeat 5 times.
Stretch the back of your shoulder
The latissimus dorsi muscles can lock down the mechanics of the shoulder. Gently stretch out the back of your shoulder in sitting or standing tall. Then gently bring your affected arm across you body, holding with the other hand behind your upper arm. Gently pull across to feel a slight stretch. Hold 20 seconds , then repeat 5 times
Strengthen your rotator cuff
Your rotator cuff consists of 4 small muscles, whose main function is to guide the head of the humerus bone in the socket of the shoulder blade. This often becomes weak after injuries or with poor posture.
To strengthen your rotator cuff, lie on your unaffected side. Tuck your affected elbow at your side, then gently lift your hand and forearm towards the ceiling. There should be no pain. Repeat 10 times for 2-3 sets, feeling the muscles in the shoulder work.
Why physical therapy is the right choice to reduce your shoulder pain
- Pin-pointing the exact underlying cause and treating it
- Targeting and strengthening muscles
- Hands-on therapy to restore normal range of motion in the joint
- Introducing appropriate exercises
- Stretching muscles
Using physical therapy to target particular muscle groups in strategic ways can help prevent future injury and reduce pain, allowing you to gain freedom of movement in your shoulder. Working with a physical therapist, you will be guided through a complex series of exercises that are designed to strengthen your shoulder, forming improved muscle mass that reduces the risk of dislocation or impingement.
These exercises will target a series of muscle groups across the upper body, including the deltoids and subscapularis in the shoulders, the trapezius and rhomboid in the upper back, and the biceps and triceps in the upper arms.
Each of these muscle groups is targeted through a series of targeted activities that are designed to put just the right amount of pressure and motion on the shoulder, with each activity modified to be appropriate for your personal needs.
You can only gain this sort of specialized treatment through a PT session with a licensed physical therapist. Doing these sorts of exercises under the guidance of a physical therapist and then taking those exercises home with you and practicing those activities night after night is the only way to strengthen your shoulders and reduce should pain for good.