The shoulder is one of the most amazing joints in the body. In fact, it is not really a “joint”, but rather a complex of 5 joints, over 30 muscles, and 6 major ligaments. The shoulder can assume 1,600 different positions! There is more movement at the shoulder joint than any other joint in the body. As such, it the body’s most injured joint.
In everyday life, your shoulder gets a real workout. You use it for lifting and reaching up high and down low and it moves almost every time you do. It also is used in most sporting activities including baseball, softball, tennis, golfing, martial arts, and swimming. But all that movement means there are more ways for you to get hurt. The most common problems come from repeating the same movement over and over again, and from too much arm motion above your head, like painting or hanging curtains.
The good news is that shoulder problems often can be fixed without surgery. Still, there are steps you can take to limit your risk of a shoulder injury.
- Listen to your body. If you shoulder gets sore after an activity, don’t ignore it. Discontinue the activity until the soreness subsides. If you are an athlete, back off your workout and ease your way back into exercising the shoulder. If the pain does not get better or gets worse, do not hesitate to see an orthopedic physician for a diagnosis and proper treatment.
- Stay in shape. Keep your body in good physical shape with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Make sure your exercise includes movements for all parts of your body to help keep the muscles strong and limber. Taking care of yourself physically and using common sense, can be the best way to prevent a shoulder injury.
- Exercise the right way. Warm up before you work out. Start slowly if you haven’t done an activity or sport for a while. Gradually increase the time and weight or tension with the exercise to progress with your strength and flexibility. Learn how to lift weights the right way and don’t lift too much. Also remember to rest between your shoulder work outs. Rest is a necessary part of any strength training program.
Be more conscious of all of the ranges of motion your shoulder goes through with your normal daily activities. Remember the tips above to take care of your shoulder to help prevent any injuries.