3 Ways to Help Prevent Shoulder Pain

ways to prevent shoulder pain
By Greg Gargiulo

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. With such an extensive range of motion, it allows athletes to perform incredible actions like serving a tennis ball or pitching a baseball at ultra-high speeds and launching a football down the entire length of the field. Unfortunately, this ability also comes at a price, as spending too much time working the shoulder can lead to pain.

Anyone who performs lot of overhead motions repeatedly over a long period of time is at a high risk for experiencing shoulder pain, and up to 10% of the population deals with it at least once. Athletes like swimmers, tennis players, baseball pitchers and quarterbacks as well as people who paint, hang curtains or lift objects as their occupation commonly experience shoulder pain. Your shoulder may be hurting for a variety of reasons. Here are 3 simple tips to prevent shoulder pain:

Strengthen your shoulder daily with the scapular stabilizing exercise

Strengthening the muscles that support the shoulder helps increase the stability of the shoulder joint, which will reduce the chances of pain developing. To perform the scapular stabilizing exercise:

  1. Lie face down with a pillow under your stomach and rest your forehead on the floor
  2. With your elbows bent at 90°, place your forearms on the floor
  3. Keeping your forehead on the floor, slowly raise your arms up and off the floor as high as possible and hold for 5 to 10 seconds; slowly return to the starting position and repeat up to 10 times

Perform the sleeper stretch daily to increase flexibility

Stretching the muscles in your shoulder helps by improving range of motion. Keeping muscles long and flexible helps prevent pain and injury. The sleeper stretch can help you accomplish this:

  1. Lie on a firm surface on your side with your shoulder under you and your arm extended out
  2. Bend the extended arm up into a 90° angle with your fist in the air
  3. Use the other arm to push the bent arm down (forearm towards the floor) and stop pressing down when you feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder
  4. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then relax your arm for 30 seconds
  5. Repeat 4 times, 3 times a day

Limit overhead activities

If your profession doesn’t require you to perform overhead activities repeatedly, try to avoid excessively performing these motions on a regular basis unless they are necessary, and always use good posture if you work a desk job. If overhead activities are necessary for your profession, use proper form with whatever task you’re performing, take regular breaks throughout the day and switch arms whenever possible. Doing this will reduce strain on the shoulder and distribute the loads on it more evenly.

The shoulder truly is an amazing joint with unbelievable potential, but it doesn’t do us much good when it’s in pain. Taking these preventative measures and being cautious about how much you use your shoulder can help keep this pain at bay and allow you to utilize your shoulders to their fullest extent.