Shoulder injuries are very common, not just in athletics. They can be caused by excessive overhead movement, repetitive activity, and in those who perform a sitting desk job. You should never ignore persistent shoulder pain. There are simple things you can do to help prevent shoulder injuries.
- Warm up your body. Never go into an exercise regimen without gradually warming up your joints, including your shoulders. Gentle stretching and gradual movements can help prepare your body for the activities you want it to perform.
- Improve your posture. Sitting upright with your shoulders back will help properly set the shoulder joint to perform the tasks you need it to do. Be careful not to slump your shoulders forward. Watch yourself in a mirror as you perform exercises to check your form.
- Strengthen your rotator cuff. There are many online resources to demonstrate rotator cuff exercises. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has a great resource on their website to introduce yourself to basic rotator cuff strengthening exercises. Visit https://orthoinfo.org/globalassets/pdfs/2017-rehab_shoulder.pdf for more information.
- Cross train. This is especially important for athletes who participate in throwing or overhead sports. Performing the same movement over and over without rest can cause a joint to break down. Give your shoulders a rest from repetitive motions by changing up your activity.
- Rest. Don’t ignore your pain. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, give your body time to recover. Ice, oral anti-inflammatories, and taking a break from the pain inducing activity are important when injured. If your pain persists, be sure to have it evaluated by an orthopedic specialists to avoid further complications.