Shoulder injuries can be debilitating, and they can impact your ability to perform exercises that you once enjoyed. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, it’s important to understand the causes of shoulder injuries and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Common Shoulder Injuries
There are several different types of shoulder injuries, including:
- Rotator Cuff Tears: This occurs when the tendons in the rotator cuff are torn, which can cause weakness and pain in the shoulder.
- Frozen Shoulder: This is a condition that causes the shoulder to become stiff and painful, making it difficult to move.
- Shoulder Impingement: This happens when the tendons and bursae in the shoulder become compressed, causing pain and inflammation.
- Shoulder Dislocation: This is when the upper arm bone comes out of the shoulder socket, causing pain and instability.
Causes of Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Overuse: Repeated use of the shoulder can cause wear and tear on the tendons, which can lead to injury.
- Poor Posture: Slouching or hunching over can put extra stress on the shoulder, leading to injury.
- Trauma: A fall or direct blow to the shoulder can cause a shoulder injury.
- Aging: As we age, the tendons in our shoulder become weaker and more prone to injury.
Preventing Shoulder Injuries
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent shoulder injuries from happening:
- Warm Up: Always warm up before exercising to help prepare your muscles and tendons for physical activity.
- Strengthen Your Shoulders: Strengthening exercises, such as shoulder presses and rows, can help improve the strength and stability of your shoulders.
- Practice Good Posture: Maintaining good posture can help reduce stress on the shoulder.
- Use Proper Technique: Whether you’re lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises, it’s important to use proper technique to prevent injury.
- Rest and Recover: Giving your body time to rest and recover after exercise can help prevent overuse injuries.
Exercises for Shoulder Injuries
If you’ve already experienced a shoulder injury, there are still exercises you can do to help improve your shoulder strength and mobility. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise program.
Some exercises that may be helpful for shoulder injuries include:
- Pendulum Exercise: This exercise involves gently swinging your arm back and forth, which can help improve shoulder mobility.
- Shoulder Blade Squeezes: This exercise involves squeezing your shoulder blades together, which can help improve posture and reduce stress on the shoulder.
- Wall Angels: This exercise involves standing with your back against a wall and slowly raising and lowering your arms, which can help improve shoulder mobility and strengthen the muscles in your upper back.
- Rotator Cuff Exercises: These exercises, which may include external and internal rotations, can help strengthen the muscles in the rotator cuff.
Shoulder injuries can be frustrating and painful, but they don’t have to sideline you from exercise forever. By taking steps to prevent injury, such as warming up and using proper technique, and by working with a doctor or physical therapist to develop a safe exercise program, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of physical activity while protecting your shoulders from injury.
- Shoulder injuries and disorders. (2020). National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/shoulder-injuries-and-disorders