The shoulder is the most unstable joint in the human body. Compared to the knee or ankle joint, it has to allow for a much fuller range of motion then its counterparts. Because of this, things can go wrong with the joint.
People most at risk.
Shoulders take strain with exercises that involve frequent and repetitive movements. The incidence of injury is made worse by sports that require overhead motions such as swimming, tennis and weightlifting.
Important structures to strengthen and stretch.
- Core. Core stability is perhaps the most important element to all injury prevention. A stable core will allow the shoulder joint to do its work more smoothly. A weak core will collapse under the strain of exercise, and your shoulder muscles will have to work in an unstable environment.
- Shoulder flexibility.
I could not find a graphic with the stretches that I wanted to put into this article and so did my own artwork. I am prepared to sell the signed original for the person who puts in the best bid 🙂
- Strength. Most people make the mistake of strengthening the front muscles and forgetting to strengthen the muscles at the back. Front muscles include: pectoralis major, front deltoids, trapezius and rectus abdominis. Most shoulder injuries occur due to muscle imbalances and most of those come from the front muscles getting stronger than the back muscles. This pulls the humerus into an unnatural position and with that the trouble starts. Have a chat with a gym instructor and get some ideas as to how to strengthen the entire shoulder girdle. A balanced shoulder is the goal.Rear muscles include: back deltoid, teres minor and major, infraspinatus, supraspinatus. Make sure that they are strong.
Treatments that work well.
- Getting the area massaged from time to time is a good idea.
- Kinesiology tape works really well.
- Bike setup for cyclists may play a role.
- Correct arm placement and technique for swimmers is essential.
- Use hand paddles that match your arm strength when swimming.
- People augmenting their fitness through weight training or cross fit need to concentrate more on form than actual weight moved. Carelessly swinging heavier and heavier weights is a short cut to some serious injuries.
- Runners that experience pain only on one side of the shoulder might be compensating a core instability. We can normally pick that up in our Runners Leg Assessment.
- You need to get the area checked out medically if you suffer from any form of swelling, pins and needles, tingling or areas of numbness.
- www.webmd.com writes the following about shoulder pain and heart attacks – “In many heart attacks, pain begins in the chest and spreads to the shoulders, arms, elbows, back, neck, jaw, or abdomen. But sometimes there is no chest pain — just pain in other body areas like one or both arms, or between the shoulders. The pain might come and go”. This obviously needs to be treated as a medical emergency.Bottom line: If in doubt, check it out.
Here’s to healthy, supple and strong shoulders!