Managing Shoulder Pain With These Simple Steps
Shoulders are among one of the more common body regions which are treated by Physiotherapists on a daily basis. They can range from traumatic injuries which occur following an acute event such as falling onto the joint or lifting weights to progressive injuries which develop overtime due to poor biomechanics and shoulder function. In this blog, we’ll focus on the latter and discuss 3 exercises/stretches that you should be doing to ensure optimal shoulder biomechanics and to prevent injury.
Shoulder External Rotations
This exercise primarily works to strengthen both the infraspinatus and teres minor muscles which both act as external rotators. If completed consistently, this exercise will assist in ensuring the arm and shoulder blade move together in synchrony and therefore prevent wear and tear on surrounding structures. This exercise can be completed in a number of different ways, one of which is performed lying on your stomach on a bed with your arm hanging off the side as seen below. It can also be completed using an elastic band or a cable set-up as found in many commercial gyms.
Upper and Lower Trapezius Strengthening
The Trapezius muscle is one that is made up of 2 primary components when discussing shoulder rehabilitation. The well known upper portion which acts to upwardly rotate and elevate the shoulder blade and the lower portion which also assists with upward rotation as well as depressing the shoulder blade. It is important for overall shoulder health that both regions of the Trapezius are trained and strengthened equally. A great exercise for upper trapezius strengthening is the one-armed dumbbell shrug which can be performed in standing while holding a weight and lifting the shoulder upwards towards your ear. A great exercise for the lower portion of the Trapezius muscle is a Y-raise which can be completed while lying on your stomach on a bench and lifting both arms arm in a “Y-formation” while squeezing your shoulder blades backwards and down.
The Sleeper Stretch
The Sleeper Stretch is a stretch that can easily be performed anywhere and anytime with no equipment required. The aim of this stretch is to ensure good flexibility and mobility in the shoulder joint. Very often, people will develop excessive tightness in the shoulder especially if they have been performing repetitive overhead activities such as bowling in cricket or working as a tradesman. This stretch is performed by lying on your side with the bottom arm bent and gently pressing down with the other hand until you feel a stretch.