The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in our body, but that also makes it a good option for muscle imbalances and overuse injuries. Chances are youíve experienced an achy shoulder at some point in your life. This post gives you some practical, easy-to-implement, everyday tips for managing your sore shoulder in the early days of your rehab journey.  The Physiohaus team will be meeting with Physiotherapist, Peter Hartley this week to discuss shoulder rehabilitation.

EVERYDAY LIFE

If your shoulder is in pain, you may subconsciously want to hold your arm at your side and not use it. This may increase the stiffness and tension in the surrounding muscles, and add to your discomfort.

Instead, follow these tips:

  • Continue to use your arm in pain-free ways throughout the day - The best way is to use it for easy tasks like turning a page in your book, picking up a glass, or taking items out of a bag.
  • Keep tasks within an easy armís reach - Carry loads close to your body. Avoid reaching far away for items by moving your body closer to what you need.
  • Avoid repetitive overhead motions - The most demanding position for your shoulder muscles is in the overhead position. When your shoulder is acutely injured, you may limit the amount of time your are reaching overhead.

PAIN MANAGEMENT

A sore shoulder will benefit from pain management strategies that reduce acute pain.

  • Avoid compensating movements - The most common one is hiking your shoulder up to reach items overhead. This will create more tension and discomfort in the muscles around your shoulder.
  • Try heat or cold to ease the pain - You may prefer one over the other - this is personal.


POSTURE

Your posture plays a role in where your shoulder is positioned and can help muscles work more efficiently.

  • Donít let your shoulder poke forward  
  • Keep your chest up
  • Keep your shoulder blades back
  • Keep your head over your neck - not in front of it!


SLEEP

It is normal to feel more pain or discomfort at night while trying to fall asleep. When sleeping, you arenít aware of where your arm is in space and are much more likely to put it in a position that can get quite painful.

  • If youíre a back sleeper - Place a rolled up towel under your elbow. This will help keep your shoulder in a more neutral position.
  • If youíre a side sleeper - Sleep on your unaffected side and hug a pillow with your injured arm so that it is comfortably supported.
  • DO NOT TUCK the injured arm under your pillow


EXERCISE

 Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Massage Therapists will suggest exercises as part of your rehabilitation program.  Remember the following when you start into this program:

  • Do your exercises in small, but frequent bouts 
  • Use pain as a general guide - Itís okay to feel mild discomfort while performing your exercises (think below 4/10 on an imaginary pain scale). Itís normal to feel a bit of soreness afterwards for a couple of hours and you can use heat or ice to help if needed.
  • If you are working on range of motion exercises, go slowly and control your movement
  • Look to incorporate movements into your daily life to see your exercises in action!