As a physical therapist for the US Olympic Team, I see shoulder pain, a lot of shoulder pain. Most of it, in fact all of it is not the result of some accident that happened, it just started hurting. In fact, shoulder pain, whether you are an Olympic athlete or not, comes on and the most common phrase I hear is, “I have no idea what I did.”
However, there are 3 very important things that you should NEVER do with your shoulder when it hurts. Doing these things can lead to chronic pain, injections and surgeries.
1. You should NEVER stop using it.
This one seems kind of counter intuitive but this is a number 1 reason that shoulders do not get better on their own. This goes against what you’re going to want to do if your shoulder hurts. For example, if your shoulder hurts when you lift it overhead, you don’t want to lift your arm overhead so you don’t. Maybe you don’t lift as high overhead or use the other arm to lift overhead, you make some variation not to move that arm into a position that hurts.
When your shoulder hurts you should continue to gently move it to all ranges of motion. To see a video demonstration of this click here.
Your body is going to want to move your shoulder out of the painful position. So you will need to watch yourself in the mirror as you do this. Make sure your arm doesn’t turn out or your shoulder doesn’t shrug. You need to make sure that you are moving your arm in the correct fashion, nice and easy.
2. Have poor posture
Bad posture does not just effect your neck and back. If you have bad posture, your shoulder is not going to heal, and in fact it will get worse.
The problem is, is that most times people have poor posture that effects their shoulders and they don’t even know it. Here’s a quick test to see if your shoulders are in correct posture, try to push your shoulders down. To see a video of this click here. If you can move your shoulders at all in a downward movement then your shoulders are not in the correct posture and you are harming your shoulders.
Having your shoulders elevated are using mechanisms that are going to hurt you.
But you are also using a mechanism that can cause a decrease in blood flow to the shoulder. With decreased blood flow comes decreased ability to fix pain or a problem in the shoulder. If you’re shrugging your shoulders, if you’re leaning forward, you’re not going to be able to have enough blood flow to the shoulders to fix them.
To get your shoulders in a correct position, you’re going to roll them up back and then you’re going to drop them down. Do not roll them up and back and then pin them all the way back holding them in that position as long as you can. This will bring in other problems so you want to make sure you roll them up back and you simply drop them down.
This is not a 1 time exercise, this is not a 10 time exercise, you have to retrain your body on how to sit correctly and how to stand correctly. This can take weeks and months. Set reminders on your phone to help remind you to do this. Click here for other tips and tricks that you could be doing at home to eliminate your shoulder pain.
3. Sleep on the shoulder
If you have a sore/achy/painful shoulder you should never sleep on that shoulder. You want your shoulder in the correct position when you sleep for the maximum amount of healing time.
If you’re laying on it and you’re crushing all the structures in your shoulder. You’re limiting the blood supply, you’re putting all the pressure on things that are already inflamed and sore. If you are a side sleeper, you want to make sure that you lay on your opposite shoulder.
Finding the exact cause of your shoulder pain and performing a few exercises at home, is important for healing your shoulder also. Click here for our FREE shoulder pain solutions book and find out what you can be doing at home to solve your shoulder pain.