About 20% of the population experiences shoulder pain or injury in their lifetime. While it’s a common condition and most injuries can be treated non-surgically, it’s still smart to take any steps you can to prevent it from happening when it doesn’t have to. You can’t prevent all injuries, but you can significantly reduce your chance of injury with these simple tips.
You don’t need to be an athlete to do stretches. In fact, some of the most important times to stretch is when you’re not using your shoulder. This is especially true for people in office settings at work. If your shoulders stay motionless for most of the day, they get stiff which makes them more prone to injury. Here are some easy stretches you should be doing once per hour at work, and definitely after any type of exercise.
- One of the most basic and well-known stretches is when you put your arms across your chest and use your other arm to hug the arm closest to your chest as tight to your body as possible.
- Go to a door frame and put your palms on either side of the frame. Keep your feet together and planted and lean forward into the door frame. You will feel the front of your shoulders and pectoral muscles stretching. Especially for people at office jobs, you tend to stay hunched while typing the whole day and you put a lot of pressure on your shoulder blades and condense your front shoulder muscles together too much.
- Put your arms up so they’re parallel with your shoulders (straight out). Bend in your elbows and clench your fist. Then start doing a “rowing” motion (rolling your shoulders while keeping your elbows fairly locked). You should do this frontwards and then backwards the opposite direction. Once again, it’s very much like you’re rowing a boat.
You should do these stretches once every hour for about 20 seconds each. You can also do a variety of other stretches depending on what needs to be worked. You can read about shoulder conditions and their causes to see what you would want to focus on by visiting our shoulder surgery section.
2. Learn the Proper Exercises/Technique
You should never go on a piece of exercising equipment and use it without knowing what you’re doing. You can seriously hurt yourself. Make sure you read the signs next to the machine to learn how to use it, or have someone else teach you.
Additionally, if you’re trying a new sport, you should learn the proper technique. A lot of people play tennis, racquetball, badminton and volleyball recreationally. They’re very easy to just pick up and play with friends without ever playing it before. However, sports like these (that rely on shoulder movement), are very prone to shoulder injury. Make sure you look up some proper technique, take local classes for the sport or have friends should you how to do it.
3. Strengthen External Rotators and Shoulder Muscles
The stronger your muscles are, the more they are capable of. Aside from proper technique, strength of you shoulder is one of the most important factors in preventing shoulder injuries. especially shoulder impingement. A very simple way to do this is to use a band/cable in your warm-up or exercise routine. Once again, really look up proper exercises before using this method. This equipment utilizes high tension, so many things can go wrong. Many gyms have a cable machine, but you can also get a band if you want a simple workout from home. Look up different exercises on YouTube or just online to see what to do.
If you have had chronic shoulder pain for at least 3 months and these methods haven’t helped, please consult Dr. Samuel Koo by calling (425) 823-4000 or scheduling an appointment