3 Postural Stresses That Mess Up Your Shoulder

Nurturing poor postural habits, such as working or hanging out in a slouched position, can make the shoulders become rounded and the head more forward (42 pound headache).  This postural neglect can ultimately make it more difficult to bring the shoulders back into proper alignment.

Too much wear and tear on your shoulder region will inevitably weaken the shoulder muscles, known as the rotator cuff, and make them less flexible and more prone to injury.  The rotator cuff muscles can become overstretched, overloaded and injured when we vigorously lift or pull something, like weeds, or haul a heavy suitcase.  A direct fall on the shoulder, elbow or hand can undoubtedly cause serious harm.

3 Postural Stresses That Mess Up Your Shoulder

1. Raised arm postures

Performing repetitive or prolonged tasks with raised arm positions (above shoulder height), like driving or fixing an overhead light can gradually overstretch, overload or compress the shoulder structure.

Solution A:  Try to adopt positions where your arms or elbows are close to your body- either by your side or just in front of you.

Solution B:  Perform activities for a shorter amount of time.  Every 10 minutes or so, stop the activity and take a 30 second break. This will let the shoulder recover and help build a healthy habit of pacing your activities.

Solution #3:  Take a Stretch Break.  Stand upright, clasp your hands behind your back and try to pull your shoulder blades together. Hold for 3 seconds and repeat 5 times.

2. Sitting in a slouched position for a prolonged period of time

During sitting, the position of your low back has a strong influence on your neck and shoulder posture. If the low back is allowed to slouch, your neck and shoulders will be following suit.  The head slowly juts forward, the shoulders become rounded and the rotator cuff muscles become overstretched and fatigued (weakening them).

Solution:  Put a lumbar roll in the small of your back about waist level to support your low back.  This will create that natural hollow (lordosis), that is present when you’re standing.

3.  Lying down and sleeping

Waking up in the morning with a stiff and painful shoulder that wasn’t bothering you the night before could most likely be caused from poor sleep postures.  Lying in a position that puts unwanted stress on the shoulder, like lying on it or lying in a raised arm posture can gradually overstretch and strain the rotator cuff muscles. If you already have a painful shoulder, then poor sleeping postures can exasperate the pain.

Solution A:  Don’t sleep on the painful shoulder for any length of time. Try a larger or more supportive pillow while maintaining normal alignment of the neck.

Solution B:  Sleep on your back with a pillow underneath your painful shoulder, or sleep on the non painful side.

 

Source: Treat Your Own Shoulder (805) by Robin Mckenzie

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