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Shoulder Pain Prevention

Shoulder injuries can be caused by performing manual labor, playing sports or by repetitive movements. While some injuries are unavoidable, certain exercises can help avoid them. The same is true for repetitive movement; while you cannot avoid sitting at your desk for work, certain habits can be adopted in order to keep your shoulders healthy and pain-free.

How can you prevent shoulder injuries?

The muscles surrounding the shoulder are incredibly important for stabilizing the joint. Strengthening these the rotator cuff is key, especially if you are an athlete.  Some exercises that can help strengthen the infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor muscles are:

  • Internal Rotation Dumbbell Curls. Lying down on the floor, hold a dumbbell in the hand closest to the floor. Bring your hand in towards your stomach. Bring your hand back down to the floor.
  • External Rotation Dumbbell Curls. Stand straight with your feet apart at shoulder width. Hold one dumbbell in each hand with your arms forming a squared “U” (elbows at a 90 degree angle with hands upwards). Lower your hands towards the front keeping them in the same “U” position. Keep your back straight at all times.
  • Abduction Shoulder Dumbbell curls. Stand straight with your feet apart at shoulder width. Hold one dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight on the side of your body. Bring your arms up laterally until they are at 180 degree angle.
  • Forward Flexion Shoulder Raises/Forward Raises. Stand straight with your feet apart at shoulder width. Hold one dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight on the side of your body. Bring your arms up forward keeping them straight until they are at 180 degree angle.
  • Pendulum Exercises. Bend forward at the waist at 90 degrees. Place one arm on a chair or table for support and let your other arm hang down. Make small circles with the hand on one direction and then reverse the direction. Switch hands.

Chronic shoulder pain may be caused by prolonged or repetitive movement, thus referred to as repetitive strain injury (RSI). Using a computer mouse, swiping items at a supermarket checkout counter, lifting heavy items or using industrial machinery can all contribute towards RSI.

How can you prevent shoulder pain from RSI ?

  • Keep a better posture
  • Optimize your working station to make sure you sit correctly. When sitting at your desk make sure that:
    • Your feet are planted flat on the floor
    • Your thighs are parallel to the ground
    • Your lower back is supported
    • Your elbow are supported and close to your body
    • Your wrists and hands are in line with your forearms
    • Your shoulders are relaxed
  • Ease the workload of you usual mouse hand by switching the mouse to the other side of your desk every so often
  • Take work breaks often and walk around
  • If you spend long periods of time on the phone, consider using a headset
  • Reduce the stress of your daily routine