The shoulders, in our current daily lives, spend a lot of time rounding forwards. This sophisticated structure, has a large range of motion, which can lead to complications. The shoulder joint and the surrounding muscles can be prone to problems, muscle weakness, imbalances, which in turn can lead to pain.
Repetitive moments are often the cause of shoulder injury, sitting at a computer, checking our phones; Ipads causes stress in the neck and upper back, which can also be a huge culprit. This constant forward flexion can cause muscle imbalances between the front and back body. Just sitting here now, typing up this post, I can feel my shoulders rounding forward and the muscles between my shoulder blades feeling weak. Note to self, to slide my shoulder blades down my back and lengthen my neck!
As with most pain or injury, rest is rarely going to simply fix the problem. The key point is to continue to exercise in a way that allows you to strengthen the muscles around your shoulders without placing wear and tear on the joint. At The View Studio, all our classes offer modifications to accommodate shoulder injuries.
Always ensure that you stay within a range of movement which is comfortable to you and your body. Be aware of the correct height to lift your arms to, listen to your body,what feels right for you? Try working in a lower plane, for example, in Pilates or Ballet Fit if your instructor asks for arms to go overhead whilst standing, modify this by taking your arms to shoulder height or even lower.
Often shoulder pain is caused by muscular imbalance; the best way to strengthen these weaker muscles is by avoiding weight lifting. Using no weights will allow you to hold good alignment and strengthen the weak muscles in a more balanced way. Once you gain more strength, try using resistant bands to help develop and strengthen the muscles. By continually practicing stabilising the shoulders and reinforcing good posture you will bring your body back into balance and help to alleviate pain.
Often with injury, it is just one shoulder that hurts, which means you should stay balanced and modify the workout for both your shoulders. Not just focus on strengthening the good shoulder! Otherwise you are creating further muscle imbalances in the body, which in turn can lead to even more problems in the future. Always ensure in your workouts you mirror what you do on one side of the body with the other side.
If you are working through an injury or learning to re-align, avoid exercises where you can fatigue quickly such as the plank. Take the modified option like standing at the barre or taking the weight onto your elbows, which takes the pressure off the shoulders. Remember to listen to your body and ensure you take recovery breaks frequently.
Now exhale and feel your shoulders melting away from your ears and your neck lengthening, visualise helium balloons on your ears.