The shoulder joint is a complex and crucial joint that enables us to perform many of our daily tasks without a second thought. From eating and drinking, to brushing our teeth, and hugging a loved one, most upper body movement involves the shoulders. It’s often only when an issue begins that we realise the important role they play.
Due to the complexity of the shoulder joint it can be prone to injury, resulting in conditions such as rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder, and bursitis. If you have ever struggled with a shoulder injury, we predict you know how frustrating it can be too. So, this week, we want to help you support the health of your shoulder joints to prevent issues starting in the first place. Here are 6 steps you can take to support shoulder health:
1. Strengthen your shoulder muscles
Strong shoulder muscles can help support the joint and prevent injuries. Many stabilising exercises can be done using body weight or a light resistance band, which means you can work on them from the comfort of your home. A simple exercise to start with are wall angels, which assist with posture by targeting your shoulder and back muscles. All you need to do is: - Stand with your back against a wall, with your feet about 6-8 inches away from the wall. - Raise your arms up to shoulder height and place your elbows and wrists against the wall. - Slowly slide your arms up the wall, keeping your elbows and wrists in contact. - When you reach as high as you can without lifting your elbows or wrists off the wall, pause for 1-2 seconds. - Slowly slide your arms back down the wall to the starting position. - Repeat the exercise for 8-12 repetitions if comfortable and repeat 3 times.
2. Stretch regularly Stretching the muscles around your shoulder can help improve the flexibility of the shoulder joint and reduce the risk of injury. A simple stretch that many of us can benefit from is the doorway stretch which focuses on the chest muscles. This is especially beneficial if you spend time sitting at a desk or driving. All you need to do is: - Stand facing an open doorway. - Raise the arm closest to the door to shoulder height, and place your hand on the doorframe, with your palm facing forward and your fingers pointing upwards. - Take a step forward with one foot so your weight is on the front foot, which should encourage a stretch across the chest. - Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, before repeating on the other side.
3. Maintain good posture
Poor posture can place unnecessary stress on the shoulder joint, leading to pain and injury. Being mindful of your posture throughout the day by sitting or standing upright and avoiding slouching or leaning repetitively to one side can help to reduce this stress.
4. Be mindful of repetitive movements
The seemingly harmless activities many of us do daily can often lead to stress being placed on the shoulder joint. For example, repetitive overhead movements, lifting heavy objects, or favouring one shoulder when carrying a bag can create unwanted strain over time. To help reduce this, be sure to take breaks and alternate arms if you are carrying out repetitive tasks.
5. Practice good sleep posture
Sleeping in a position that places pressure on the shoulder can lead to pain and discomfort upon waking. Try to avoid sleeping on your side with your arm extended overhead. Ideally, sleeping on your back is most beneficial for your shoulder and spine, but if you do need to sleep on your side, ensure your pillow fully supports your head so your spine remains in line with your body. The correct support will help to take pressure from your shoulder.
6. Support your health
If you are beginning to feel niggles around your shoulder, or simply want to keep your body working at its best to prevent issues from starting, then it is worth considering working with a healthcare provider to get tailored advice and support. As chiropractors we have a wealth of experience and success with shoulder complaints, from getting to the root cause of the issue, all the way to supporting in the healing process by delivering specific chiropractic adjustments and offering focused guidance.
Following these tips and taking care of your shoulder joint, can help reduce the risk of injury and maintain good shoulder health. Remember to always listen to your body, and please do reach out if you experience persistent pain or discomfort or need tailored guidance. We are here to help.
The content of this blog is for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.