Whether we are at baseball practice, reaching for the mug on the top shelf, sitting at a desk, or painting a room, our shoulders are at work. Shoulder movements typically go unnoticed in our daily lives, and it is often easy to ignore shoulder soreness—hoping it will just go away. But we should take the time to care for our shoulders and work to prevent shoulder injuries. Resting at work or decreasing weights may seem like a waste of time when you feel well, but by being aware of and observing the following 7 tips, we can prevent future shoulder injuries, which would definitely stall progress on the field or at work. If you start to experience shoulder pain or prolonged soreness, we are here for you at ORTHOKnox to help treat your shoulder pain or injury. We encourage you to work to maintain shoulder health with the following shoulder injury prevention tips.
- Warm up
It is always good practice to build up to an exercise, like gradually increasing from a walk to a run. When returning to sports, it is important to start slowly and not try to jump straight back to the activity levels you were performing at during the end of your last season. Specifically with weight training, consult a trainer or stay within your comfort range before building up to your weight goals.
Stretching is essential for improving your range of motion and increasing shoulder flexibility. Stretching is as crucial for people who work at desks as it is for athletes. As you sit at a desk, your head and shoulders can be pulled forward, increasing the risk of a shoulder impingement. Stretching your pecs by pushing your shoulder blades back (should feel a stretch across your shoulders and chest) is a good option to combat bad posture and reduce your risk of injury. You can use a doorway by placing your forearms against the doorframe at shoulder height and pressing your chest forward until you feel a gentle stretch across your chest and shoulders. Hold for more than 30 seconds.
If you play a sport with overhead motions, such as baseball, or your work requires repetitive overhead movements, such as painting or construction, consider cross-training to help maintain physical fitness and reduce stress on your shoulder. Running or biking are fun ways to exercise that give your shoulder a break.
- Increase strength
Strengthening your rotator cuff muscles and back muscles can help prevent dislocations and other shoulder injuries by increasing stability and reducing pressure on joints. Some recommended exercises include seated rows and lat pull-downs.
- Rest and ice
After exercise or repeated overhead movements, sometimes your shoulder can feel sore. It is key to rest and ice your shoulder when it feels sore after or during sports or work. If you must do overhead activities at work, make sure you take breaks often and stretch when you can.
If you start to feel pain, consult your doctor at ORTHOKnox. Waiting to report possible injuries could worsen your injury or increase rehabilitation time.
- Evaluate your sleep position
It may seem basic, but most of us don’t think about how our sleeping position affects our shoulder. If you are experiencing shoulder soreness and you sleep on your side, then sleep on the opposite side of the sore shoulder or on your back. This will prevent you from increasing your shoulder irritation while you sleep and give your shoulder a chance to rest, too.
- Proper posture
Whether you are lifting heavy objects or sitting at your work desk, proper posture is key to preventing shoulder injuries and pain. When lifting, keep your back straight and lift with your legs. As you reach, do not stretch your shoulders upward to your ears. When sitting, make sure you have good posture and your computer is at an appropriate height and distance so you can easily and comfortably use the keyboard. A standing desk can be a good tool for proper posture and to prevent shoulder, neck, and back pain. See our blog on office set up for more tips!
Consult your doctor if you feel shoulder pain.
If you begin to feel pain in your shoulders, then you should consult your doctor before causing or worsening an injury. We are here for you at ORTHOKnox if you or a loved one feel shoulder pain or have questions about shoulder movements or soreness. For more information about how the board-certified surgeons, orthopaedic team, or physical therapists at ORTHOKnox can treat you, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!