You can certainly ease problems associated with shoulder injury through medical attention and physical therapy. However, protecting your shoulders in the first place is always the best strategy. Make sure your posture is the best it can be at all times, whether it’s while you’re relaxing in your favorite chair, standing in line, hitting the gym, or working long hours at your desk.
Think “up and back,” because letting the weight of your head and trunk rest forward puts pressure in all the wrong places, including your shoulders. Positioning yourself before sleep is also crucial; resting on your favorite side when the weight is on your shoulder can definitely create shoulder impingement over time. Avoid any positions where your arm is over your head while sleeping. You’ll additionally reduce wear and tear on your shoulders by being more mindful of how you use them. Does your job or sport absolutely require repetitive lifting, reaching or swinging? If so, it’s helpful to get coaching from a physical therapist -- or even an actual coach -- about how to reduce the strain on your shoulders by shifting your positioning and using correct technique.
Along with placing your body more efficiently to perform tasks, it’s also helpful to strengthen your shoulder muscles for light but frequent daily chores as well as strenuous, repetitive motions. Try to do a combination of some basic exercises a few times a week, in order to strengthen a range of muscles, including those in your rotator cuff region.
Doing wall push-ups -- essentially a standing push-up in which you “lift off” from the wall rather than the floor -- is one classic option. Secondly, consider buying resistance bands, which are inexpensive and portable. Attach them to a doorknob and pull them toward you, holding for a few seconds with each repetition. Do these reps in groups of five, two or three times a day. Lastly, don’t forget that classic “chair push-ups,” in which your arms do the work of lifting off the chair, are great for toning shoulder muscles.
If you have questions about an aching shoulder or wondering if you are setting yourself up for injury, give us a call to speak with one of our physical therapists today. Your shoulders will be happy you did!