3 Tips to Reduce and Prevent Shoulder Pain

As we age, the shoulder is a likely candidate for aches and pains because of its high mobility and frequency of use. Here are three tips to help reduce and prevent shoulder pain.

Reduce and Prevent Shoulder Pain

As we age, most of us will experience some aches and pains in our joints. The shoulder is a likely candidate, given its high mobility and how often we use it. Here are three tips that you can do to help reduce and prevent shoulder pain from occurring.

It’s advisable to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program and even more important if you currently suffer from shoulder pain.

Photo credit: Gerald Pope

1. Improve Your Posture - Most of us sit for hours with hunched shoulders and rounded backs. This not only has a negative long term impact on the spine, but it also affects the shoulders and surrounding muscles. Continuously putting your body in poor posture can lead to tightness and shortening of the pectoral muscles, leading to muscular imbalances and the risk of injury.

Do this: Make a conscious effort to improve your posture throughout the day. Sit up tall, pull your shoulders back, and sit in the back of your chair. To develop this habit, set a simple calendar reminder for every two hours during your work day.

Photo credit: Gerald Pope

2. Improve Thoracic Mobility - The thoracic spine is the section of the spine attached to the ribs. Having poor movement in this area will often affect the available range of motion for the shoulder. Try this: slump your shoulders forward to create poor posture and then try to lift your arms overhead. Didn’t work too well? Now try standing up tall with a proud chest and lift your arms overhead. See the difference?

Do this: Improve muscle tissue quality through foam rolling, focusing on the mid-back. Be sure to also target the chest and lat muscles of the back. Then work on improving the range of motion in the thoracic spine through stretching drills. These can serve as a great warm-up before a workout or can be done by themselves throughout the day. 

Photo credit: Gerald Pope

3. Strengthen Shoulder Muscles - In order to counteract poor posture habits and tightness in the front of the shoulder, most people can benefit from strengthening the muscles on the posterior, or backside, of the body rather than the anterior, or front, of the body.   

Do this: Organize your workouts so that for every anterior-focused exercise you perform (e.g. any type of press), you also perform two posterior-focused exercises (e.g. any pulling or rowing motion). Also, spend time developing the smaller, deep muscles of the rotator cuff. Simple exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff require only a band or light weight.  

See a personal trainer to learn more and design a workout program to fit your needs. If you experience chronic shoulder pain or have an injury, visit a physical therapist for a thorough evaluation. 

This article originally appeared in PRO Pulse Magazine©, a publication of PRO Sports Club. Reprinted with permission. 

Dan Stephenson

Dan Stephenson is a personal trainer at Pro Sports Club in Bellevue, Washington. He is an avid believer that anyone can improve their quality of living through exercise. Dan specializes in strength training for performance and is a current state record holder in the sport of powerlifting. With a background in powerlifting, sports specific training, and injury rehabilitation, Dan utilizes strength training methods to help clients achieve their goals. His personal interests aside from weight training are tennis, hiking, and the outdoors.

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