How to stop shoulder pain | Total Performance Physical Therapy

How to stop shoulder pain

October 29, 2019

Most people who have shoulder pain have no idea how they hurt their shoulder.  It is what we call a nontraumatic pain.  They didn’t fall on their arm, they were not in an accident, they can’t remember anything they did to hurt their shoulder.  This is how most shoulder pain starts so people believe there is nothing wrong since they can’t remember hurting it.

The first thing you want to understand when stopping shoulder pain, is you want to become familiar with the anatomy of the shoulder.

First starting with your arm bone which is the humerus.  Then you have the back of the shoulder, where your shoulder blade is.  This is where your rotator cuff sits, on the back of your shoulder above, below and underneath your shoulder blade.

There is a gap between the bone that sits on top of your shoulder and the humerus.  In between these 2 bones runs a muscle for the rotator cuff.  As you raise and lower your arm this hole gets bigger and smaller, making more and less room for the muscles.  But things that we do throughout the day cause the hole to stay smaller for a long time.

What types of things do we do daily that affects the size of the hole that the muscle must run through?

First is a slumped posture.  Sitting slumped looking at your phone or in front of your laptop causes the hole to become smaller and the muscle to become compressed.  This compressing of the muscle can cause a pinching feeling.  This pinching feeling is called impingement.  This impingement can eventually lead to a rotator cuff tear if it goes on long enough untreated.

As you start to feel the pinching feeling you will start to shrug your shoulder.  You will do this because you will be trying to protect your shoulder from hurting.  Shrugging your shoulder allows you to get more range of motion without having to move your shoulder and feel the pinch.  This shrugging of the shoulder can lead to pain, neck pain and even a rotator cuff tear.

Weakness is another reason that you can experience shoulder pain.  Most people have a weak rotator cuff because they never specifically strengthen the rotator cuff.  You cannot strengthen the rotator cuff without doing specific rotator cuff strengthening exercises.

In order to stop shoulder pain, one of the first things you need to do is correct your posture.  Start by rolling your shoulders up, back and drop them down.  This will position your shoulders so there is a big enough gap in the shoulder to allow for the muscle to go through the hole.  Don’t squeeze your shoulders too hard back, otherwise you will be overcorrecting and wind up hurting yourself in the other direction.

The second thing that you really want to pay attention to how you sleep.  If you go to our You Tube Channel you can see other videos on how you should sleep with shoulder pain.  But sleeping on the unaffected side is best and hugging a pillow with the affected arm.  This allows the most healing for your shoulder.

Finally, you want to do specific rotator cuff exercises.  Ones that work on rotation and specifically working those muscles.  Watch the video below to find out the exercises you should be doing.

If you do have shoulder pain and want a free consultation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy, then call 215-997-9898 today!