The shoulder provides a 360-degree range of motion while muscles and ligaments stabilize the shoulder. The small contact area of the joint is what allows for such extreme mobility.
The rotator cuff plays a vital role in the overall function of the shoulder. Its tendons are integral to stabilize the shoulder joint to keep it at the best position for the necessary movements. The extreme mobility of the shoulder joint also means it is very prone to injury.
The rotator cuff loses its elasticity and strength as you age. This can lead to what is known as frozen shoulder if the rotator cuff is not strong and kept in full motion. A large number of people will have labral (part of the rotator cuff) damage at the young age of 40.
Exercises for Your Shoulder
First, warm up the shoulder muscles to get the blood and oxygen flowing to make them more pliable. You can do this by taking a brisk walk, flexing your arms, or going for a swim. Or you can simply do a few minutes of stretching. Repeat moving your shoulder joint through its range of motion without holding a position. Also, roll your shoulders backward and forward a few times.
Once you are warmed up, here are a few exercises you can easily do at home to strengthen your shoulders:
Shoulder Stability Exercise (aka Push Ups)
1. Start in the low plank position and push off from the floor into the high plank. Make sure that you engage your core and keep your hips as stable as possible.
2. Return to the low plank position and repeat. Alternate between starting with your left and right arm.
3. Complete 10 to 12 repetitions and then switch to the other side and do a total of 2 sets.
Strengthen Your Rotator Cuff
1. Stretch a resistance band between your forearms. Move your left and right shoulder in circles in both directions along the wall.
2. You can do this exercise at different heights to stimulate your muscles more.
3. Complete 10 to 12 repetitions and then switch to the other side and do a total of 3 sets.
Water Bottle Stabilizer
1. Fill a 1.5-liter bottle with ¾ water or partially empty a 1.5-liter soda bottle. Pick up the bottle with your right hand and stretch your arm straight out in front of you. Your hand should be the height of your shoulder. Now, hold the bottle steady.
2. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides and repeat the exercise. Do 3 sets per side.
Here are some tips for keeping a healthy shoulder:
- Pay attention to your posture
- Keep your head over your shoulders and your shoulders back
- Have a firm, supportive mattress
- Sleep on your back or side
- Lift and carry objects close to your body
- Take breaks from repetitive activities
- Do not carry a purse or backpack over one shoulder
- Avoid using your arms above your shoulders for long periods
- If you have to reach high use a ladder or foot stool
Health Issues That Affect the Shoulder
Due to the wide range of motions our shoulders endure, they are more susceptible to injury, strain, and stiffness pain. Moving your shoulders correctly is the key to keeping them healthy. If not, you will experience a limited range of motion, tender spots, and other ailments.
Pain in the shoulder, whether it is acute or chronic, can be triggered by tendon inflammation (bursitis or tendinitis), instability, arthritis, tendon tears, impingement, or bone fractures.
Sports that require overhead motions are especially risky to the shoulder. Sports like swimming, basketball, and contact sports pose special risks to shoulder joints. Poor posture also contributes to damaged shoulders. If you value doing everyday activities, you must do shoulder strengthening exercises to keep your shoulders strong and active.
Here are some things that can contribute to chronic shoulder pain
- Poor posture
- Intense exercise
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Lack of exercise
- Dislocated shoulder
- Heavy lifting
Treating Shoulder Pain
Common pain complaints typically occur in the shoulder blade (scapular), middle trapezius, and rhomboid muscles. Muscles being overworked can result in deep upper back muscles causing instability and imbalance. Acute pain can happen to the shoulders during heavy lifting. Trying a new exercise or playing a sport for the first time can cause pain resulting from improper muscle use or poor stability.
Some common conditions of the spine that we treat for at AOA Orthopedic Specialists include:
- Traumatic injuries
- Repetitive injuries
- Sports injuries
- Genetic conditions
- Arthritic degeneration
See a complete list of shoulder conditions on the Shoulder Condition page of this website.
Some common procedures of shoulder surgery we perform at AOA Orthopedic Specialists include:
- Total Shoulder Replacement
- Shoulder Resurfacing and Revision
- Rotator Cuff Repair
- Shoulder Joint Separation Repair
- Surgery for Proximal Humerus Fracture
- Clavicle Fracture
See a complete list of shoulder surgery on the Shoulder Condition page of this website.
Q: What are the various kinds of shoulder pains and injuries?
A: Conditions of the shoulder can be caused by traumatic or repetitive injuries, sports injuries, genetic conditions, and arthritic degeneration.
Q: Why is it important to have flexibility in my shoulders?
A: Keeping your shoulder muscles flexible helps prevent injury. The shoulder is the body’s most complicated joint. It is where the ends of the collarbone, upper arm bone, and shoulder blade meet.
Q: Do push-ups help build strong shoulders?
A: Traditional pushups can help build upper body strength. They work the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. If they are done properly, they can also strengthen the lower back and core by pulling in the abdominal muscles.
AOA Orthopedic Specialists has a variety of physicians on staff who have specialized expertise in all areas of orthopedic medicine including general orthopedics, foot and ankle, sports medicine, hand surgery, joint replacement and spine care. Check the menu on this page for a complete list of procedures.
If you need shoulder care or shoulder surgery in Dallas/Fort Worth email or contact us today. Our orthopedics service all of DFW area including Arlington, Irving, Midlothian, Cleburne, Joshua and Mansfield. Our experienced spinal care orthopedics will ensure that your time with us is stress free.
If you have an injury that requires emergency treatment, please call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room.