Do you have pain in your shoulder? Is it from lifting weights? Is it from your weekend activity? Maybe from playing slow pitch softball, volleyball, or maybe you strained it during a weekend move. I’m going to give you some advice on how I evaluate my shoulder pain and how I fix the issue.
Step One: Evaluate - What Happens When I Tweak My Shoulder
Often times when I am completing heavy weight training for several weeks I may acquire some tenderness in my shoulder. I have also acquired shoulder pain from years and years of pitching. Most of all my shoulder pain comes from one quick event that seems to leave me sore for several weeks.
The first thing I do is understand what caused the pain and immediately stop that activity. In my experience working through pain only makes it last longer. If you have something that begins to turn into tendinitis or a bit of a nagging pain, that means you must put the brakes on. If you find a pain leaves within one or two days, I would not do anything too crazy. It is a small tweak and will go away. If you find the pain is lingering, then you must take action.
Step Two: Range Of Motion
Of course, I give you these recommendations in hopes that you have evaluated whether you have a serious injury. If you have a serious injury go to the doctor and have a checked out. If you know your body like I know my body, then you know when you have a simple pain and when you have seriously hurt yourself. So the steps to follow are to give you advice on how to get rid of a nagging pain in your shoulder.
Step one is range of motion. Find out what limitations your body is giving you. If your shoulder is killing you above your head that’s the first place to start. If your shoulder only hurts at specific angles, then target those angles and understand what spot is preventing the movement. You should be able to move through full range of motion with your shoulder. Most everyone I work with, me included, finds that range of motion is restricted when there is pain. If you can regain your range of motion, then you will get rid of the pain.
Step Three: Stretching And Deep Tissue Massage
During step two you found that you were restricted in certain angles of the shoulder. Most of the time I feel impingement towards the front of my shoulder. In my case, this is caused from throwing, or lifting heavy objects.
During this step I am going to start stretching into the uncomfortable areas and probing for a big knot in the muscle. If you have a nagging style injury, nine times out of 10, there is a knot somewhere throughout the connective tissue that is limiting your range of motion and causing the pain.
For example, my right shoulder aches because of my trap. I had a shoulder injury on my right shoulder when I was in high school. There are parts of my shoulder that do not function properly. So every now and again, through overuse, I find that I have a huge knot in my trap. This causes pain in the front of my shoulder. For the next several weeks I will begin deep tissue massage on this knot, and full range of motion stretching until the pain subsides. When the pain starts to go away this is when I must target my scapulus. Your scaps, or shoulder blades, are very important to the function of your shoulder. Pretty much every movement the average person does is forward. To ensure that your shoulder operates efficiently, scap loading is a great tool to help your shoulder stay strong and healthy.
Step Four: Strength And Scapula Loading
As soon as the pain goes away, complete 4 to 6 weeks of scapula loading. I’ve never really understood why people don’t do rehab on their own. Why does it require a surgery to go through a rehabilitation protocol to strengthen a weak area? If you have an injury, you should address it and fix it.
Scapula loading can be done by utilizing light weight and loading the scaps. You can do this by laying on an incline bench or stability ball. Move through an array of different exercises. Please review the video where I go into depth of how to complete these.
I hope this helps you understand how I alleviate pain in my shoulder. If you have a serious injury or pain that is out of the norm, I would suggest visiting your doctor. If you feel as though you have nagging pain and want to get rid of if, use these recommendations.