Your shoulders let you reach out and touch the world. Shoulders allow you to position your hand where you want to do what you want, whether that is to hug someone, throw something, catch something, dance, rock climb, reach for an item, or whatever makes you happy. When your shoulder hurts it puts a kink in your life. Often times shoulder pain can keep you up at night, cause headaches and is certainly annoying. Shoulder pain can be frustrating, confusing, and depressing. To really figure out what is going on you need a thorough assessment by a professional who understands the shoulder, biomechanics, and how it connects to the rest of your body and life. At Kineci we believe in a holistic approach in which we understand and appreciate that your shoulder is not isolated but an integrated part of Your Body-Mind-&-Spirit.
If your shoulder is bothering you here are 3 simple exercises and 3 tips you can do to help yourself start to feel better and move easier.
Posture plays a big role, particularly sitting posture. Slouched or slumped sitting puts the shoulders into tough positions in which many muscles get tight and weak, while other get stretched out and weak. Poor posture creates a lot of weakness because the positions inhibit muscles like your diaphragm, shoulder blade muscles, and chest. Poor posture positions the bones and joints such that tissues get pinched and compressed and contributes significantly to shoulder pain.
Proper sitting posture starts with the pelvis. If the pelvis is positioned right the spine stacks up on itself more efficiently allowing your body to maintain good posture easier and with less effort. Better spinal alignment allows your shoulders to sit better with less pinching, compression, and problems.
Sleeping can be difficult when your shoulder hurts. When lying down gravity is now pulling on your shoulder at a different angle. Often times that hurts. For more severe shoulder issues like recovering from a surgery or fresh injury many people find it easier to sleep sitting up /reclined instead of lying flat. Sleeping in a recliner can be helpful in a temporary scenario to let you get some sleep. However, too much time sleeping in a recliner can also lead to other body parts becoming angry and painful.
Lying on your back or non-painful side while hugging a pillow can help. The goal is to have as much of your arm supported by the pillow from armpit to wrist.
Your shoulder is connected to the rest of your body, it does not operate in isolation. One of your shoulder’s best friends are your hips. Shoulders and hips are connected by the spine. We already discussed how poor sitting posture negatively affects your shoulders. When you are sitting for prolonged periods of time your hips get tight, your chest and shoulders get tight too. One great way to battle the ravages of sitting is to get up and stretch your hips.
Kineci promotes 2 minute Work Breaks. A great Anti-sitting/shoulder stretch is to focus on your hip flexors. After 1 hour of sitting stand and stretch one hip for one minute, then switch legs and stretch the other hip for 1 minute. If you are doing an effective hip stretch you can really help your shoulders by stretching your hips for 2 minutes at a time.
(for muscle relaxation)
Bend your trunk forward with your non-injured hand supporting you on a countertop or table. Allow your injured shoulder and arm to dangle down underneath your torso. Let gravity gently pull on your arm and let your muscles relax. This helps your shoulder joint a bit of breathing room.
Then sway your body back and forth side to side. As your hips sway allow your dangling arm to sway along like a Pendulum. The goal is to NOT use your shoulder muscles but the momentum of your hips and body swaying side to side to create the arm motion.
Do 20-30 reps of arm pendulums work up to 2-3 sets
(for shoulder blade mobility)
Same position as above for Pendulums. One hand supporting you with your trunk bent forward and injured arm dangling down underneath your torso.
Lift your fist up to your armpit allowing your entire shoulder girdle and shoulder blade to move. As you bring your fist up to your armpit allow your elbow to pull up behind your trunk.
Repeat 25-30 times Repeat on the other arm work up to 2-3 sets
(for pain relief and mobility)
Stand with one foot forward, one back. It is helpful to hold onto something sturdy like a doorway or countertop. Move your hips and body in 3 directions:
Switch legs and repeat work up to 2-3 sets
Dr. Steve Politis, PT, DPT, FAFS, FAAOMPT, CKTP, CSCS, MovNat L1 is owner and operator of Kineci Health & Movement Center a holistic movement center. Dr. Steve’s passion is helping people Feel Better and Function Better. He loves learning about and understanding the body so he can help people more effectively. His passion for lifelong learning has led him to achieve two post-graduate Fellowships. He is a Fellow of Applied Functional Science (FAFS) from the Gray Institute which is a deep study in understanding the biomechanics of the body, how it is an interconnected and integrated system with every person being a unique individual. He is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT) which was a two year long study in differential diagnosis, manual therapy techniques, and tissue specific healing. He is one of only a handful of physical therapists in the world with this combination of education and training putting him in the top 1% of educated and skilled physical therapists in the country.
Kineci Health & Movement Center has been the culmination of Dr. Steve’s vision for creating a Center of Excellence for providing natural alternatives to the traditional ‘sick care’ model of our current broken health care system. At Kineci we believe Your Health is YOUR Choice and should not be dictated by others. We believe in YOU! We are here for YOU! Let Kineci help YOU Feel Better and Function Better.
Kineci = Movement Medicine (Kinesis = Movement + Medicine)
More than your typical Physical Therapy in Santa Barbara. Kineci offers specialized care to meet YOUR needs.
Hours by Appointment at:
22 West Mission Street, Ste B,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101