Injury Prevention for Shoulders
Painful shoulder conditions are a relatively common occurrence, the shoulder joint is a “ball and socket” joint that allows multi-directional movement, it comprises of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). It sacrifices stability for mobility and because of this, it is more susceptible to injury. Most of the reported shoulder injuries are strains, implicating a process over time, with chronic overload leading to injury.
Shoulder injuries are frequently caused by athletic activities that involves excessive, repetitive, overhead motion, such as swimming, tennis, and weightlifting. Injuries can also occur during everyday activities such washing and painting of walls, hanging curtains, and gardening.
Causes of Shoulder injuries
The three common causes of shoulder injury includes:
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Rotator cuff tears
Other causes include:
- Poor nutrition
- Poor fitness
Symptoms of shoulder Injuries
- The shoulder joint appears deformed
- The shoulder doesn’t activate or you are unable to move your arm away from your body
- There is redness, sudden swelling or/intense pain
- The area surrounding the joint feels tender and warm
Prevention of shoulder injury
The following measures are recommended to help prevent shoulder injuries:
- Warm up well and stretch before engaging in any activity. Warm down and Stretch after exercise to keep muscles from shortening and cramping.
- Always maintain a good posture—straight and relaxed.
- Wear protective gear during sports or recreational activities.
- Use proper lifting techniques and lifting aids for heavy objects.
- Avoid carrying a heavy shoulder bag; if using a back pack, ensure a proper fit.
- Use a step stool; do not stand on chairs or other unsteady objects.
- Take shorts breaks and alternate hands when performing repetitive activities for long periods
- Always engages in exercise that strengthens your wrist, arm, shoulder, neck and back muscles.
Stretching Exercises for Shoulder injuries
- Support body using opposite hand.
- Gently swing arm in a circle (both directions) allowing gravity pull your arm downward.
- Use a 1-3lb. dumbbell weight to increase the pull.
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart
- Keep your elbows slightly bent
- Maintain good posture
- Grip weights (maximum 5 pounds each) with hands facing forward
- Lift to shoulder level in a “V” formation
- 3 sets of 6-8 repetitions
- Repeat with hands facing backward
- Hold a rolled towel under your arm, gently pull one arm across your body with opposite arm until a mild stretch is felt.
- Hold stretch for 20 seconds, relax and repeat.
- Sit or stand. Use your good arm to lift your affected arm at the elbow, and bring it up and across your body, exerting gentle pressure to stretch the shoulder.
- Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Do this 10 to 20 times per day
- Sit up straight then slowly bring your chin toward your chest until you feel the stretch in the back of your neck.
- Try leaning your head to the left to stretch your right shoulder or leaning your head to the right to stretch your left shoulder.
- Hold the stretches up to one minute in each direction, breathing deeply as you concentrate on relaxing.
- Repeat 3-5 times.