Shoulder Pain

My Aching Shoulder

shoulder-pain

Now that you have had some work done and your shoulder is feeling much better (less tense, decreased pain and more mobility), what can you do to help it to continue healing? Well one thing for sure, if you continue doing the thing that injured it, it will not get better. You can rest it, you can ice it, you can take pills one after another, but it will not heal if you continue the motions that caused the injury. Pretty basic isn’t it? “It hurts when I do this.” – well don’t do that and don’t do similar movements to what causes the pain. That is easier said than done. You may have to make some adjustment in the way you work and play.

 Postural adjustment in the way we stand, sit and move can play a major role in shoulder pain. Often times, pain is a result of muscles compensating for poor postural alignment. The way you hold your lower body can negatively effect your upper body including your shoulder. What may seem like good posture to you may really be poor posture. It is best to have a professional assess your posture and movement to help you see where you can improve. That said, everyone can immediately improve their posture simply by breathing deeply and moving as if you were being lifted up with a string at the top of your head. Try it. Do you feel the difference?

 Postural changes to improve your shoulder health must also include changes in the way we work and play – even how we sleep. When we are working, what position is our work in in relation to our bodies? Do you have to hold your arms in a particular position for extended periods? Do you work overhead? Where is the keyboard and monitor located? Do you slouch? Do you have to carry a heavy weight? When you play, do you use one hand more than the other? Is there prolonged stress (however mild) placed on my shoulder? Do you sleep on that side? What is the position of your arm? What is the condition of your pillow? These are just a few questions you might ask yourself. The more important question is how can you improve your posture and movements at work, play and sleep? Is there a way to support your arms while working? Does the majority of your overhead work have to be done overhead? Can you lighten your load? Can you sleep on your other side? Can you sleep with your arms at your side? Can you get a more supportive pillow or mattress? Eliminating the cause of the injury is a major step to recovery.

 You will have to take some time to investigate how you can make these postural changes. Also changing postural habits takes a lot of time and commitment. It doesn’t happen overnight. So what can you do while you make these changes?

 Rest – Yes, sleep is good for healing, but resting can also mean using the other arm, taking breaks (even while playing), or changing the intensity or power behind what you are doing. It can mean doing something else for awhile. Rest your arm and shoulder and see it improve.

 Ice – Ice your shoulder to decrease pain. Ice for only about 15 – 20 minutes at a time. Cover the ice bag with a piece of cloth to protect your skin.

 Gentle stretching and movement – Remember to do all movements gently and within your comfort or pain free zone. Pain is no Gain!!!! Start with gentle arm circles. Just let your arm hang relaxed and make small circles. Increase the size of the circles as your shoulder gets better. Try gentle doorway stretches to stretch your chest muscles. Simply stand in a doorway, place your forearm against the door opening and lightly step forward (you will feel a stretch in your chest area). Do this with your arm placed a little higher and then lower. Try reaching the top of the doorway opening and do the same thing, lightly stepping forward. Each position stretches the muscles in different ways. Another stretch is to stand or sit with your arms to your side. Bend your arm at the elbow, then with your upper arm lightly against your body move your hand toward your belly, then move your hand in the opposite direction until it reaches it end range. At this point you may feel a small stretch. As your arm gets better add full circle windmill rotations of your shoulder and some strengthening exercises (hold a water bottle while doing some of the movements).

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Remember to consult your physician before starting any stretching or exercise routines. The above suggestions are not intended to be used as a substitution for sound advise from you physician. Myo Therapies disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on this information. ©2013 Myo Therapies LLC