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Shoulder Health: Avoiding Strain and Pain

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Look around at any restaurant, in a train car, or even out on the streets and you’ll see people hunched over their phones, anxiously typing on very small keys. Their shoulders and posture are a wreck. Many over time and as they age will develop shoulder problems due to poor posture and the constant strain of the shoulder ligaments and muscles.

According to Mediscape.com,” shoulder pain is the 3rd most common cause of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) after low back pain and cervical pain. The rate of shoulder tears varies from 32-37% after age 40 years. Before age 40 years, tears are rare. In MRI studies, tears have been observed in 34% of asymptomatic individuals of any age.” In other words, 34% of the population have tears of the shoulder, but experience no symptoms or pain. It dramatically increases after that age. This increase in tears weakens the overall rotator cuff and leaves it open to possible injury

How can you erase all of that damage to your shoulders and posture in order to not incur an injury that will leave you in pain and agony?

Here are a few tips on how to maintain shoulder health. It really is a matter of re-training your body and in particular your shoulders to be stronger. There are many muscles that make up the shoulder, which is a complex part of the body to begin with, but these tips will help.

Tip #1: Work on the Rotator Cuff – This one is a must, although not that fun or particular building a part of the body that will be show worthy at the beach.

Tip #2: Improve your Posture – Posture is one of the main culprits for shoulder injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, “When you slouch your neck and shoulders forward, the space where the rotator cuff muscles reside can become smaller. This can allow a muscle or tendon to become pinched under your shoulder bones (including your collarbone), especially during overhead activities, such as throwing.”

Tip #3: Change habits – Avoid sitting positions that leave you slumped over a keyboard or mobile phone. Work on broadening your shoulders and avoiding activities that create the dreaded shoulder hump that can cause weakening of muscles and create avenues for tearing. Find ways to adjust your desk height, chair positions and keyboard in order to prevent slouching.

Tip #4: Adjust Activity – As you get older, realize that you may not be able to do things the way you did in the past. This doesn’t mean stopping certain activities, but it does mean that rethinking the way you grab for heavy items overhead or lift weights. Adjusting for advancing age when lifting or pulling is okay and makes good sense in order to keep you off the MRI table and out of Physical Therapy sessions.

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