We talked about back pain two weeks ago, now let’s tackle shoulder pain.
Most people who sit at a desk will also experience shoulder pain at some point. It has a lot to do with our posture- head down, rounded shoulders, stress on our neck and shoulders. And, also problematic, when we’re not staring at a big computer screen, most of us have some sort of smart phone or tablet in our hands that causes us to hunch the shoulders and look down. That’s where the pain starts.
This condition is called kyphosis. Not only do you have tight and painful shoulders throughout the day, but it causes really tight pectoral muscles- so when you get to the gym and try to lift weight or do pulls it causes additional pain. You’re putting your body into a compromised position that it isn’t used to.
How to combat shoulder pain? There are plenty of ways to help this condition.
1. First off- watch your posture. We’ve begun offering posture workshops here at CBRC to help people understand how to develop and maintain GOOD posture (more on that next week). Setting your monitor up higher so that you’re not looking down is often a great first step in keeping good posture at your desk. Making sure you have the right chair is also very important. Standing or convertible desks are starting to become widely available- IKEA even has one that people report works very well.
2. Get up and move around. Like we said for back pain, a short walk around your office or office grounds can really help alleviate the pain caused by sitting in one place for too long. Fitbits and other fitness tech devices are great for this- they’ll remind you when you’ve been sitting too long.
3. Meet with a personal trainer to observe your posture. Simple adjustments in your posture can have a big effect on your pain levels. A certified trainer can also help you put together a fitness plan that includes foam rolling (see last week’s post), stretching, and strength training. Foam Rolling and massage target and help the pain right now- strength training will help you overcome the pain and be pain free in the future.
4. If you don’t want to invest in personal training, give Pilates or Yoga a try. Both Pilates and Yoga place special emphasis on posture, Pilates also focuses on core strength. Both practices will help alleviate stress and tight muscles.
5. Workout in front of a mirror. If you do any type of strength training- do it in front of a mirror. Strength training, especially when you’re working through an injury or pain, needs to be done perfectly every time. If your posture is compromised at any time during a rep, then you don’t have the strength to complete that exercise- lower your weight or try a different move until you are strong enough to do the rep perfectly.
6. Remember that most shoulder pain comes from tightness: tight shoulders are caused by stress, overuse/underuse, and bad posture. THIS IS NOT A PAIN YOU HAVE TO LIVE WITH. Reach out to a professional and ask for help. Your quality of life is very important- the notion of “well, it’s just part of getting older, things are going to hurt” is a myth. YOU CAN take steps to reduce pain and live a better, pain-free life. We’re here to help you with that.
We wish you good health,
Columbia Basin Racquet Club
Photo credit: Kim Verhoef via Flickr