Shoulder pain comes in all shapes and forms. You know that nagging shoulder pain you get when you are trying to reach for something or shoulder pain that keeps you up at night. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. That shoulder pain you feel can be something called shoulder impingement syndrome and it is very common in people of all ages. In fact, shoulder impingement accounts for 50% of all diagnosed shoulder pain. This impairment can cause other physiological issues or even result in a rotator cuff tear which may require surgery. No one wants that! In this article, we’ll tell you what it is and give you 3 specific exercises you can do to help relieve your shoulder pain.
What Is Shoulder Impingement?
The shoulder joint is the most complex joint in your body. The shoulder joint has the greatest amount of range and the least bony stabilizers compared to all other major joints in your body. It’s no wonder so many people have some kind of shoulder pain. Without stability, it relies exclusively on muscles and ligaments that surround the shoulder joint to help keep it in place. The most important group of muscles supporting the shoulder joint are the rotator cuff muscles. It consists of 4 muscles (Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, and Subscapularis). One of its main functions is to depress your shoulder to keep it in place when you move your arm around and use it to carry bags, lift boxes or dishes, and even put on your jacket. The problem occurs when these sets of muscles don’t work properly it can lead to persistent shoulder pain or worse, a rotator cuff tear. We want to give you specific exercises you can to fix your shoulder pain. The majority of the time, you will have consistent shoulder pain when lifting objects over your head or reaching behind you to pick things up. If you have pain in the front of your shoulder or shoulder pain that radiates down your arm you may want to give it some attention. Virtualptdoc.com offers a free virtual 15-min consultation with a board-certified physical therapist that will be able to help that shoulder pain taken care of so you can get back to doing what you love.
Here are the top 3 exercises that will fix your shoulder pain
1) The Sleeper Stretch
Proper Form: Lie on your side with the affected shoulder under you and your elbow at shoulder level. Lower your hand toward your feet until you feel a stretch at the back of your shoulder. Hold the stretch and relax.
Why is this important: In our current lifestyles, more than ever, we tend to spend most of our time sitting at a desk with our shoulders in a rounded shoulder position, most of the time leaning over a key board or desk typing our life away. This can cause tightness and improper function of the rotator cuff muscles we talked about earlier. This stretch is designed to help relieve shoulder pain by improving your range of motion and flexibility in your shoulder joint. This is exercise works best 3 times per day, once in the morning, mid-day, and one more time before supper time. You should hold this stretch for about 30 secs if tolerated and repeat this 3 times.
2) Sidelying Shoulder External Rotation
Proper Form: Lie on your side with both knees bent. Pull the tip of your shoulder back and with your elbow tucked in by your side and your forearm against your belly, bring your hand away from your body as high as you can. Slowly lower your hand and repeat. Keep your elbow in contact with your body at all times. To progress, repeat with a weight.
Why is this important: This exercise is designed to fix your shoulder pain with two purposes in mind. The first purpose is to restore the normal functioning of your rotator cuff. At times, the rotator cuff is involved in impingement, in causing shoulder pain and the neuromuscular sequencing to be thrown off. Think of it in terms of muscle memory. The rotator cuff has its main purpose of helping to keep the shoulder joint stable, but when injured, the muscles forget how to do this. This movement helps to restore its memory by activating the rotator cuff muscles. The second purpose is to increase the strength of your muscles. Stronger muscles can help with stabilizing your shoulder during arm motion. This exercise should be done twice a day, with 3 sets of 10 repetitions. If this is easy and pain-free, you can progress this by adding 1-2 lbs, or by grabbing a soup can out of your kitchen.
3) Scapular Wall Slide
Proper Form: Stand with your back against the wall and try to keep your hips/shoulders/head/elbows on the wall as you slide up and down slowly. Keep the lower back slightly arched or flat.
Why is this important: As mentioned before, our lifestyles consist of constant sitting, the rounded shoulder posture can cause improper positioning of your shoulder blade and as a result, poor function of your rotator cuff muscles. This exercise will help fix your shoulder pain by improving your posture and alignment within the shoulder. It will also activate your shoulder and upper back muscles improving your muscle memory and restore its normal functioning and relieve your shoulder pain. This exercise can be done up to three times a day with 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each set. This exercise should not increase your shoulder pain and if so you should stop the exercise immediately.
Thank you for reading this post. Shoulder pain is very common and can be fixed with the right education and proper exercises. We are always striving to help people with shoulder pain or dysfunction back to their normal selves. Don ́t let your shoulder pain keep you from doing the things you love. Talk with a board-certified physical therapist today at virtualptdoc.com.