Are you experiencing shoulder pain?

When stretching isn’t working it’s time to see a PT

Are you experiencing shoulder pain at the gym or in your daily activities? Save yourself the time and copay to see the doctor. It’s likely they will take an xray, (that will probably show nothing wrong) and tell you to rest and stop going to the gym. We know that’s not what you want to hear or do! So what SHOULD you do?

Make an appointment with a Physical Therapist! Studies show the sooner you seek help, the quicker your recovery will typically be. 

A Physical Therapist can identify the cause or reason for your pain.  Often posture, repetitive activity, or technique can contribute to symptoms of pain and dysfunction. 

A good Physical Therapist will work with you AND your goals.  Any practitioner who tells you to stop doing what you love, is one you should fire.  The body needs movement, and most shoulder pain responds well to appropriate loading and exercise.  A Physical Therapist should help create a treatment and exercise plan that both meets your goals and keeps you active. We are experts when it comes to movement and the human body, and will be able to tell you if a trip to the doctor is needed, or if this is something that can be treated conservatively.

In the meantime, here are a couple things you can do to help manage your symptoms.

If you are an athlete, have a coach get eyes on you during any exercise that causes you pain.  Sometimes an adjustment in technique or hand placement can make a big difference. Have a coach check your bar path and your finish position when you go overhead. A loss of midline stabilization, or an improper bar path can put the shoulder in a position that may aggravate pain. 

Have a coach check your overhead position. Is the bar directly overhead in the frontal plane? Is your midline neutral and stacked?

You can also try varying your hand placement on the bar. Playing around with a closer or wider grip on the barbell (or pullup bar) may relieve symptoms of pain.  Dumbells can be a great modification and variation to use, as you are able to control the angle and position of your shoulder.

If pain is present during pull ups or toes to bar, doing these movements STRICT can help build strength while minimizing pain.  A good coach can also work with you on the proper technique for your kip swing. Often an agressive, over arching front part of the swing, puts a lot of stress on the shoulder joint.

Reducing weight and range of motion on painful exercises is a great way to continue doing what you love, while rehabbing that shoulder.  Light tempo press or push press, with a focus on the eccentric (lowering phase) will allow for continued strength training. Vary the type of weights you use, for example dumbells, kettlebells, and barbells will all challenge the shoulder differently.  Floor press instead of a bench press or a landmine press in place of a strict press are a great option to reduce the range of motion and keep movement painfree.

Landmine Press

In addition to modifications, most shoulders respond really well to any horizontal pulling movements like rows (ring rows, cable rows, or bent over rows). Scapular strengthening and stabilizing exercises are also a great place to start.  Bottoms up kettlebell carries, and weighted T’s and Y’s can help build strength in a pain-free range.

T’s and Y’s

Don’t let your shoulder pain go untreated for too long.  Book an appointment here, or call us at 203-512-3749.

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