Shoulder injuries are very common and affect more of us than we realize. Athletes are not the only ones at risk, for example, if you tend to sleep in the one position for long periods at a time, or if your work involves repetitive movement of your arms, you may be at risk of sustaining a shoulder injury.
At Arise Physical Therapy, we deal with a lot of shoulder injuries and understand how easily they can occur. In everyday activities including such things as lifting a book, throwing or catching a ball, raising arms above head to grab something, and bending down to pick up an object, all these movements will put stress on your shoulders and will, from time to time, lead to an injury. Below, we will consider some further causes of shoulder injuries, followed by some preventative tips to help keep you injury-free and well.
There are several reasons and causes of shoulder injuries:
Natural wear and tear as people get older.
Cartilage wear in the joints, which is referred to as osteoarthritis.
Damage in the rotator cuff where the tendons get inflamed or swollen.
The ligaments in the bone socket become stretched, torn, or detached.
The tissues connecting the shoulder and arms get constricted and thus limit movement. This is also referred to as “frozen shoulder”.
Direct trauma due to an accident, such as a car crash or a fall.
Repetitive movements in sports, like swimming or tennis.
Now, there are a number of ways to prevent shoulder injuries and many of them can come about from a change of habit or lifestyle. Here is a small list:
Rest when fatigued or after heavy exercise as injuries are more likely to occur when fatigued.
Regular exercise will help strengthen muscles, optimize movements around the shoulder joints, and enhance flexibility and stability.
Eating a balanced diet.
Maintaining a good posture while sitting or standing.
Refrain from lifting heavy items above the shoulders.
Observe safety measures when lifting heavy objects i.e. when picking up an item from the ground, bend your knees and keep your back straight.
Avoid sitting idle for long periods at a time. Try to move around wherever possible to promote blood flow in the areas of your body that are at rest.
Avoid straining when reaching for objects. Try using aids such as stools, ladders, etc.
If you have sustained an injury to your shoulder and have already sought the help of your local physical therapist and doctor, then here are a few extra tips to help you avoid doing any further damage in the meantime:
If the injury has just occurred then Immediately apply ice to the affected area to help reduce the swelling.
Rest the area and refrain from any sudden movements.
Consult your doctor for anti-inflammatory or pain medicines, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Take the needed tests as recommended by your doctor, i.e. x-ray, CT scan, or MRI.
If physical therapy is recommended by your doctor or physical therapist, then ensure that you closely follow the recommended schedule and regimen to guarantee a full and safe recovery.
At Arise PT, we are passionate about helping our clients reach a full recovery. We want to see our clients able to return to the things they love most without all the unnecessary pain and discomfort from their injury. If you have been struggling with pain or discomfort and would like to be assessed by our wonderful team, then please get in touch with us today and we will find a time that suits you best!