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Do This Now If You Want Healthy Shoulders for the Long Haul

Feb 13, 2024
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You can’t always avoid shoulder problems, since accidents and injuries can happen despite your best intentions. However, there is much you can do to help keep your shoulder joints — and the muscles and tendons that support them — healthy.

Your shoulders play a crucial role in various daily activities, from lifting groceries to opening your front door. However, many of us neglect shoulder health until discomfort or pain interferes with our daily routine.

Our team at Integrity Spine and Orthopedics has significant expertise in diagnosing and treating painful spine and joint issues that reduce your mobility. We’re also interested in helping you prevent problems whenever possible.   

We’re happy to provide a few basic facts about shoulder injuries and tips for maintaining strong, flexible, and healthy shoulders over the long haul.

Shoulder injury basics

The shoulder is a complex joint with a wide range of motion, making it susceptible to various injuries, including:

  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Dislocation
  • Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
  • Labral (cartilage) tears
  • Clavicle (collarbone) fractures

Shoulder injuries can occur during falls, sports injuries, car accidents, or other trauma. Additionally, repetitive use common in certain sports (baseball, tennis) or jobs (painting, overhead work) can lead to overuse injuries.

Tips for healthy shoulders over the long haul

Try these suggestions to keep your shoulder joints strong, flexible, and pain free:

Maintain good posture

Poor posture can lead to shoulder pain and strain. Be mindful of your posture throughout the day. Whether you're sitting at a desk, standing in line at the store, or taking an evening stroll, avoid slouching or hunching your shoulders.

Keep moving

Regular physical activity and exercise plans that target the shoulders, such as swimming or yoga and a shoulder-specific conditioning program, help keep your shoulders healthy. Check with your Integrity Spine and Orthopedics specialist first, especially if you have a previous shoulder injury or are at increased risk.

Otherwise, always warm up before engaging in any physical activity to increase blood flow to the muscles and prepare them for the upcoming workload. Shoulder-specific warm-up exercises include arm circles and shoulder rolls.

Incorporate strengthening exercises in your fitness routine to build muscle and support joint stability. Focus on movements that engage the shoulder muscles, such as lateral raises and shoulder presses.

Additionally, ensure your strength training routine targets all muscle groups, not just the shoulders. A well-rounded approach helps prevent muscle imbalances that can contribute to shoulder issues.

Maintaining shoulder flexibility is crucial for preventing stiffness and improving range of motion. Perform regular stretches for the shoulders, focusing on movements like shoulder rotations, cross-body stretches, and triceps stretches.

Our team at Integrity Spine and Orthopedics can help you build a well-rounded workout that includes the best moves for your shoulders.

Rest and recover

Give your shoulders adequate time to rest and recover after intense workouts. Incorporate rest days into your fitness routine and consider activities like foam rolling or massage to alleviate muscle tension.

Avoid overuse

Be cautious with repetitive overhead movements, as they can lead to overuse injuries. If your work, hobbies, or exercise routines involve frequent overhead activities, take breaks regularly and incorporate shoulder stretches to reduce strain.

Practice proper lifting techniques

Backs get a lot of attention when it comes to lifting. However, whether you're lifting weights at the gym or picking up a heavy box at home, proper lifting techniques also protect your shoulders. Bend your knees, keep your back straight, and lift with your legs rather than relying solely on your upper body.

Listen to your body

Catching shoulder problems early helps prevent further damage that may require more extensive treatment. We recommend you make an appointment with us if you notice persistent discomfort, shoulder or upper arm pain at night when lying on your side, or decreasing range of motion in your shoulders.

Schedule a visit today by calling the Integrity Spine and Orthopedics office in Jacksonville, Florida, or requesting an appointment online.