Click here to watch my video where I discuss the Top 3 Ways To Prevent Shoulder Pain.
Getting older is something everyone of us is facing. In fact this is actually a good thing, considering the alternative. Along with aging we start to experience more aches and pains. Most of us just chalk this up to the aging process and assume we can’t do anything about it.
I know as I am approaching 50 I don’t recover from my day to day task or workouts like I used to. When I get out of bed my back feels stiff and my right shoulder aches if I have laid on it too much during the night.
It is so frustrating to wake up with these weird little aches and pains. At times they can interfere with normal activities like getting dressed, putting on your seatbelt or carrying groceries in from the car. We frequently see patients who deal with shoulder pain on a daily basis and they talk about the effect it has on their emotional status including their relationships at home and work.
Having dull, achy and nagging pain can be the worst. Mainly because it is constant regardless of what you do. The pain is there in the morning, in the afternoon and evening. Getting a good night’s sleep is next to impossible. Patients frequently report sleepless nights, propping themselves up with multiple pillows or even resorting to trying to sleep in the recliner.
In this post I want to discuss a few tips I have discovered over the many years of seeing patients with shoulder issues along with some personal tips I have used to help my shoulders stay in top shape.
As I said earlier we can’t do anything about getting older but we can make the best of it. Actually I prefer to get older vs the alternative.
One of the best things you can do for all of the tissues in your body including your shoulder muscles is to eat a healthy diet. This includes getting plenty of water, a variety of fruits and vegetables and lean meats. The water will help keep you hydrated (the body is made up of approximately 60% water). All of the cells in your body need the water to function properly and help to regulate your hormones.
The fruit and vegetables provide needed nutrients including vitamins and minerals. By eating minimally processed foods your body “burns cleaner fuel” with less harmful chemicals and byproducts. The fruits and vegetables provide healthy carbohydrates to fuel your daily activity along with your brain which actually consumes the most carbohydrates on a daily basis.
Finally you need some form of protein. This can be in the form of lean meats. If you are a vegetarian then you will need to research viable options to make sure you are getting the correct amino acids in your diet otherwise you could develop a deficiency.
Sleeping should also be a top priority. I have written about this topic in the past and you can read about it here. Basically sleep is where the rebuilding process begins. Most people think they get stronger when they workout but actually the workout is a tearing down process and the repair process occurs during sleep. Most experts recommend between 7-9 hours of sleep. Everyone should test to see what works best for them.
Frequent exercise (at least exercise several times a week). Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise helps to maintain muscle and tendon integrity along with strength. As we age we lose approximately 1% of muscle mass per year. The good news is that studies have shown that the age related decline can be slowed or even reversed with frequent exercise.
Your exercises should be with weights and somewhat challenging. I recommend working up to a moderate weight that will allow you to do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions. The focus should be on rotator cuff specific exercises. This can also include some type of pushing (ie push ups or bench press) and pulling (pull ups, or rowing) exercises.
I recommend starting slowly and give your body time to get used to the exercises especially if you have not been exercising. Spend several weeks just doing the movements without weights just focusing on the motion.
One thing I don’t do enough of but should is stretching. Remember our tissues become stiffer as we age and stretching is the cure. Aims for 2-3 sessions a week. Pick a few gentle stretches to focus on. If something feels extremely tight or painful, start easy and seek the attention of one of our experts at MOSS Rehabilitation Center. We can help you design a plan specifically for you based on your goals and medical history.
Now what can you stop doing?
If you are a smoker then stop. I know it is easier to say than do but when you smoke it robs your body of precious nutrients. Smoking makes your tissues stiffer and more brittle. Setting you up for more injuries and pain.
Smoking also makes it harder to heal. The nicotine from the tobacco competes for the oxygen in your bloodstream. Oxygen is necessary for all tissues in the body to function properly and to heal when faced with damage.
Bonus TIP: The number one mistake most people when it comes to dealing with their shoulder pain is that they ignore it. I know because I have done it as well. I can tell you from personal experience that ignoring a problem whether it is a shoulder issue or financial issues is the worst thing you can do.
Any pain in the body is a sign that something is wrong. What happens over time is that the body becomes accustomed to the pain and it becomes the “new normal”. The body does an amazing job of “working around the pain” which in turn gives you the false impression that it has healed.
It’s not until you are forced to really use your shoulder do you realize how bad the problem really is…don’t let it get that bad.
So, what can you expect from eating healthy foods, getting adequate rest and regular exercise? A set of shoulders that are strong, mobile and pain free. This will allow you to play with your kids or grandkids, get dressed without discomfort and feel confident that you can handle all of the little things life throws at you.
Now what do you do if you’re experiencing some aches and pains?
Follow the 3D’s: Don’t Ignore it, Don’t Mask It, Do Something About It.
Do yourself a favor and get it looked at by one of our experts at MOSS Rehabilitation Center. We offer FREE Discover Visits to help. In a very short period of time we can help you determine what is wrong with your shoulder and what you should do about it.
NEXT ACTION: Start by calling 817-220-6677 today to schedule your FREE Discovery Visit.