We ask our shoulders to do a lot, which is why it’s no surprise that millions of Americans struggle with shoulder injuries every single year. With shoulder surgery numbers at astronomical numbers each year, it is crystal clear as to why so many individuals are looking for less invasive methods to alleviate shoulder pain and prevent future shoulder injuries.
Our licensed physical therapists are experts at identifying trouble areas that could be contributing to your shoulder pain and ways to alleviate and prevent future injuries. We’ve identified some key ways shoulder injuries happen, and ways you can prevent future injuries.
There are a few common reasons that many individuals can experience shoulder pain throughout their lives including age, rotator cuff damage, dislocation, osteoarthritis, frozen shoulder, medical conditions, underuse, overuse, and overloading.
The shoulder is responsible for movement in many different directions, which is why we use our shoulders to perform so many functions and sporting activities throughout our lifetime. Because our shoulders are so complex with many different parts, oftentimes identifying the underlying cause of shoulder pain can be difficult and takes time. Our PTs will work with you to address the underlying cause of your shoulder injury and develop an individualized treatment plan and long-term strategy with your unique goals and needs in mind.
While these shoulder injury prevention techniques might not absolutely guarantee that you won’t sustain a shoulder injury, we’ve identified some key ways that you can reduce the likelihood of future shoulder injuries and ensure that you can spend more time doing what you love.
One of the ways that you can prevent shoulder injuries from becoming worse or aggravating a previous injury is by changing your sleeping positions. Have you ever woken up sore and aching in the morning? If so, there’s a good chance that you’re sleeping in an awkward position that not only causes you to lose sleep at night but can also prevent you from recovering properly and aggravate previous injuries.
If you find that you’re waking up with a sore shoulder in the morning, try to sleep in a different position and see if you find any pain relief. If you find that you like to roll or twist and turn during your sleep, try using a pillow to prop your body or arm to keep it in a more comfortable position.
A leading cause for any injury, especially shoulder injuries, is trying to go too fast during your workouts. It’s important to remember that when you’re exercising or performing any kind of workout, you should always focus on using controlled movements at a reasonable pace and with the proper form.
Exercising or working out is a great way to rehabilitate previous injuries, prevent future ones, and stay in shape, but bad habits can cost you when it comes to your body. Take the time to learn each exercise that you’re about to do and make sure that you can get the basics down with the proper form at a comfortable weight or pace before increasing the intensity and load.
Failing to exercise at a reasonable pace and with improper form can cause significant injuries that could take weeks to months to heal. Make it a priority to make sure that you’re slowing down during your workout and avoiding unnecessary stress and tension on those shoulders.
It goes without saying that you’ll significantly reduce the likelihood of future injuries if you’re in good shape. Protecting your shoulders and avoiding shoulder injuries starts with making sure that you’re healthy and you’re not asking too much from your shoulders too quickly.
Make sure that you’re actively working out several times a week to get the recommended amount of exercise in. Try to balance your workouts with a healthy combination of strength training, cardiovascular training, and support all of your efforts with a healthy diet that will help you build muscle and recover properly after those strenuous workouts.
As you’re working out and exercising regularly, you’ll also want to build shoulder strength and work to increase your flexibility. Incorporating a variety of upper arm exercises, such as pushing, pulling, and pressing can help strengthen the muscles and surrounding structures of the shoulder. By increasing your shoulder strength and building flexibility, you’ll be able to have a greater range of motion which will allow you to do more without having to put your shoulder in uncomfortable positions that could develop into future injuries.
Another way to effectively prevent future shoulder injuries is to work to build endurance during your workouts. In the same way that you need to build up to running a marathon by setting attainable milestones and working systematically to reach them, your shoulders need the same approach. As you look to build strength and stability in your shoulders, focus on building endurance by creating a solid foundation and building on top of it over time. For instance, consider switching to an elliptical or rowing machine to actively engage those shoulders and build endurance over time.
Warming up and stretching before and after workouts can help you prevent future shoulder injuries and spur on the recovery process after a strenuous workout. Before you begin your full workout routine, you should add a light warmup with a pre-workout stretch and a post-workout stretch to let your body know that it’s about to begin or end a workout session.
After a workout, your body is still tense as it expects more, but an effective cooldown and stretching session sends the signal that it no longer needs to be on high alert and can begin the repair and recovery process.
The next best method to prevent future shoulder injuries from occurring is to simply listen to your body. Our bodies are magnificent creations and they’ve got all kinds of built in alarm bells that will start ringing when things are going haywire or you need to pay attention to something. These alarm bells often come in the form of feeling fatigued, sore, discomfort, or pain when doing certain things.
A little bit of discomfort is fine when exercising, but if it becomes painful and doesn’t go away with time, then you need to pay attention to your body and seek out advice and guidance from a licensed physical therapist or qualified healthcare professional.
Listening to your body also means that when your body is telling you that it needs time to recover, it’s time to prioritize the rest and recovery portion of the healing process. This means taking a few days off of your regular workouts or modifying your workouts to do less shoulder activity to give your body a little extra time to heal and recover from those workouts when necessary.
We ask our shoulders to do a lot, which is why it’s important to do all that you can to reduce the likelihood of sustaining future shoulder injuries whenever you can. We help patients and clients from all walks of life prevent shoulder injuries and recover effectively with physical therapy and manual therapy techniques. Connect with a physical therapist near you in one of clinics across the country to prevent future shoulder injuries.
Schedule an Appointment Today to recover from or even prevent shoulder injuries!