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Habits That A Physical Therapist Advices You To Stop For The Sake Of Your Sore Shoulders


Habits That A Physical Therapist Advices You To Stop For The Sake Of Your Sore Shoulders

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Habits That A Physical Therapist Advices You To Stop For The Sake Of Your Sore Shoulders

At any given time, around one in every four adults experiences shoulder pain. It’s not just due to acute or chronic shoulder injuries from sports or weightlifting. Everyday habits can also be to blame.

Lara Heimann, DPT, a physical therapist and the creator of the LYT Method, explains that the shoulders are prone to muscle aches because of the complexity of the surrounding anatomy. “The shoulder joint has a wide range of motion, allowing for various arm movements. This flexibility makes it susceptible to muscle imbalances, strains, and overuse injuries,” says Dr. Heimann. “Muscle imbalances and weakness in the muscles that support the shoulder blades can contribute to pain.”

Dr. Heimann highlights several very common habits that can cause shoulder pain. Here are the most common causes of shoulder pain and some surprising habits that can make your shoulders ache.

What are the most common causes of shoulder pain?

Bad posture is a major culprit that contributes to shoulder discomfort. Rounded shoulders, which often occur from slouching, can put extra stress on the muscles, causing tension and pain, notes Dr. Heimann. Additionally, exercises or activities that overwork your shoulders can strain the shoulder muscles.

Here are the specific everyday habits that can cause or worsen shoulder pain according to Dr. Heimann:

1. Poor posture while sitting

Habit: Prolonged slouching or hunching over a desk can strain the shoulders.

Solution: Sit tall with your head stacked evenly over your neck and your shoulders in a neutral position. Take breaks every 30 minutes to stand, stretch, and reset your posture.

2. Reaching overhead with bad form

Habit: Reaching or lifting overhead with improper technique can stress the shoulder muscles and joints.

Solution: Use a step stool or ladder when reaching for items, and engage your core and lift with your hips and legs when lifting overhead.

3. Carrying heavy bags on one shoulder

Habit: Carrying heavy bags on one shoulder can lead to muscle imbalances and strain.

Solution: Use a backpack or distribute the weight evenly in a shoulder bag and adjust the straps to keep the bag close to your body.

4. Spending way too much time on your phone

Habit: Holding your phone between your shoulder and ear during calls can strain your neck and shoulder muscles. Texting or using your phone with poor posture can stress the neck and shoulders.

Solution: Use a hands-free device or speakerphone when taking calls and hold the phone closer to eye level when texting.

5. Sleeping on your stomach

Habit: Sleeping on your stomach can lead to neck and shoulder misalignment.

Solution: Sleep on your back or side with a supportive pillow and maintain the natural curve of your neck.

Can strength training or stretching help with shoulder pain?

Dr. Heimann recommends strength training and stretching to alleviate shoulder pain caused by poor ergonomics, muscle imbalances, or overuse. By targeting the root causes and incorporating targeted exercises, you can improve stability, support, flexibility, and overall shoulder range of motion.

When strength training, focus on shoulder-specific exercises, include exercises that target the rotator cuff muscles, and be mindful of your form and the weights you use to avoid overloading the shoulders. Bodyweight exercises like planks and push-ups can also help build shoulder and core strength.

For stretching, target the chest, shoulders, and upper back with exercises such as doorway stretches, shoulder rotations, and neck stretches. Hold stretches for 15-30 seconds and perform them regularly.

Dr. Heimann emphasizes the importance of addressing poor ergonomics and posture when addressing shoulder pain. Integrating these interventions into a lifestyle that promotes overall musculoskeletal health is key to effectively preventing and treating shoulder pain. If shoulder pain persists, a consultation with a healthcare provider or a physical therapist is recommended.

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