Shoulder stiffness is one of the more common problems for certain athletes and manual laborers, and considering how frequently we use our shoulders and arms, an issue in this area can be cause for concern. We can provide you with a physical-therapist guided routine for helping your shoulder recover from injury, but we’d rather keep it healthy in the first place. It’s with that in mind that we share a few tips for preventing shoulder stiffness.
How To Prevent Shoulder Stiffness
Here’s a look at a few things you can do to keep shoulder stiffness and discomfort at bay.
- Stretch – The most obvious way to prevent joint or muscle stiffness is by stretching. Don’t just stretch before physical activity or sports, but get in the habit of taking a couple minutes to stretch your arms and shoulders throughout the day. This will help keep the joint lubricated and muscles ready for activity. Simple exercises like shoulder shrugs or arm circles will help keep these areas loose.
- Movement – Similarly, movement is also key for preventing stiffness. If you sit at a desk and type all day or you have a long commute to work, your arms and shoulders are often held in one position for long periods. Even if this positioning isn’t exactly painful, it’s still channeling stress throughout the arms and shoulders, and they’ll feel the cumulative effects. Inactivity can be just as problematic as poor movement techniques, so make it a point to move around and shift stress away from certain areas of the body throughout the day.
- Sleep Smart – A lot of people like to sleep on their side, but an extended period of time with stress on your shoulder can certainly lead to stiffness and discomfort. If you’re having problems in one specific shoulder, avoid sleeping on that side. If both shoulders are giving you problems, try sleeping on your back or front in order to avoid stressing these areas. Find a position that is comfortable to you that avoids direct pressure on the shoulder joint.
- Shoulder Strengthening – As we mentioned in a previous blog, physical therapists can help you even if you’re not injured, and that is very true when it comes to shoulder issues. If you’re not currently experiencing shoulder pain, but you’re partaking in an activity or profession where it’s common (pitcher, tennis, assembly line, etc.), consider reaching out to a PT to learn about some prevention exercises. We know what’s going on in the shoulder when frozen shoulder sets in, so we know exactly how to prevent it. We can help design a workout routine to not only prevent shoulder issues, but strengthen your joint to reduce injury likelihood and boost on-field or on-the-job performance.
If you follow these four tips, we’re confident that you’ll be putting your shoulder joint and muscles in the best position to avoid injury. And if the unexpected happens and pain develops, we’d be more than happy to work alongside you to help get you back to a pre-injury level of fitness. For more information, contact the professionals at OrthoRehab PT today.