Shoulder Pain and Why You Need to Take it Seriously
Shoulder pain can be debilitating and if not managed early, put the brakes on your fitness journey. Working around shoulder pain can be very tricky and costly if approached the wrong way or ignored.
The shoulder is a complex joint that is essential for most of your primary compound movements. Ensuring you maintain healthy shoulders will ensure you can continue with more complex upper body movements and maintain the healthy gains sought through strengthening programs. In addition, shoulder pain can become intrusive as it can begin to restrict your ability to complete even the simplest of daily functions and even impact the quality of your sleep if not managed early.
1. Take your shoulder pain seriously. As active individuals, we will all experiencing shoulder pain at some point in our adult life. It’s usually a sequence of events that transpires before you begin to feel some sort of unease around the shoulder, which could reveal itself during exercise, while sitting at your computer or lying on your side in bed.
Once you do feel any type of pain in your shoulder, stop and assess what could be causing the pain. Is it a result of a single event or has it been a slow accumulation over time? Consider making initial adjustments to your exercise to assess whether it is a particular exercise that could be aggravating your shoulder and observe whether the pain eases or escalates before considering next steps. If you have a Personal Trainer, discuss it with them. We have a number of ways to work around shoulder pain with alternative exercises, stretches to reduce tension or simply suggest resting the shoulders to allow any inflammation to reduce before assessing next steps.
2. Warm up properly. It takes more than a few arm swings to warm up shoulders and increase blood flow, lubricate joints and signal to the body that you’re ready for exercise. Your pre-exercise warm up routine is the key to your shoulder health. The more you focus on warming up correctly, the higher your chances are of avoiding injury. Make sure you perform dynamic warm-ups that stimulate your cardiovascular system, as well as the muscles you intend on working and your joints. Grab some bands, a broom stick and throw in some active stretches, combined with a quick stint on the rower or everyone’s favourite, the Assault Bike for a super effective full body warm up!
3. Strengthen Your Shoulders. Condition, stabilize and strengthen your shoulder muscles. Make sure you do simple exercises such as: internal rotations, external rotations, lateral raises, anterior shoulder raises and rotator cuff exercises. Strengthen your shoulder from all planes of motion. Keep your shoulder joint stable by implementing exercises that target the entire shoulder.
4. Stretch Your Shoulders. Shoulder muscles are the type of muscles that tend to tense up very quickly. It is hard to imagine any exercise that does not include some sort of shoulder stimulation. This is why you should focus on stretching out your shoulders extensively. Stretching your shoulders not only loosens the muscles, but also releases tension in the body. Thus, preventing injury on the long-run. Remember to target both deep and superficial shoulder muscles including your trapezius muscles, infraspinatus, latissimus dorsi as well as the deltoids to loosen the entire area, not just the immediate muscles supporting the rotator cuff.
5. If pain persists, seek professional advice from an allied health professional. We have access to the best Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and Myotherapists in the area, depending on your preference for treatment and we have personally tested each of them out ourselves before recommending them to you.
If natural treatment and/or manipulation does not work, it is important to seek medical advice. This is likely to lead to a referal for an MRI scan. It is possible that you are suffering from micro tears in your shoulder muscles or nerve impingement as a result of spinal disc injury and/or deterioration. Do not play down shoulder pain. If something is really wrong with you and you happen to disregard the pain, this can be your downfall. Take your pain extra seriously, even if that means putting a stop to your physical progress for a short period of time.
A Final Note: Finding consistency in the gym is something that is craved by many. This is why your goal should be to increase your shoulder flexibility and range of motion. Your shoulders are prone to arthritis and tendinitis. Take good care of them and use the power of preventive medicine to protect them.
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