By Michael Flores, DPT
Many of you reading this may have active jobs where you are up on your feet, lifting,
carrying, or reaching. On the other hand, you may have a desk job or a sedentary job. Either way,
you need to know this following information in order to help prevent shoulder injuries as well
as protect your shoulders if you already have an injury.
Our bodies and joints have two specific functions when you are talking about
movement. They are either built to move or are built for flexibility. Of course, every joint has
components of both, but when you break it down, they have a primary function. For example,
the ball-and-socket joint in your shoulder is built to move. It is one of the most flexible joints in
your body. Its next-door neighbor, the shoulder blade, is built for stability and strength. If you
keep going down the chain, the next joints over, the thoracic spine, are built to move. It goes on
and on this way by alternating between flexibility, then stability throughout the rest of the
body. So, if we look back at the shoulder (which is meant to move), then we need to strengthen
and stabilize the shoulder blade in order to help prevent injuries. The following exercise is great
to practice in order to re-train the shoulder blade stability for preparation of any type of activity
you do on your daily routine.
Imagine holding on to an iron rod at shoulder height and shoulder width. Better yet, get up right now and grab a broomstick handle or iron rod. Try to bend that rod in half upwards (of course you’re not actually going to be able to bend the bar – it’s the muscle activation that we’re after). What ends up happening is that you are activating your shoulder stabilizers and creating a solid base of support from which to move. This particular muscle activation is good to use when lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling heavy objects. Practice this 5-10 times and holding that muscle contraction for 3 seconds. Keep in mind, exercises should never hurt. You can practice this “corkscrew mechanism” during everyday tasks. For instance, the next time you lift groceries, set your shoulders in this position and see how it feels. Let us know how you do. Please call us if you have questions, or especially if this movement hurts you. We would love to give you some pointers.
To learn more tactics like this, RSVP to Adrian’s complimentary workshop in August. Learn more HERE