We see a lot of people come in with shoulder pain and movement issues, in particular when trying to do things overhead. A quick test we use is the behind the head reach. Try reaching behind your head and neck and touch the top of the opposite shoulder blade. If you have trouble doing this evenly on both sides then you may have a shoulder movement issue that is either causing you pain or may cause you problems in down the track.
To help improve this we have put together 4 easy things everyone can do at home.
Upper back self release
The muscles in the upper back play a big part in allowing fluid shoulder movement as well as controlling the shoulder blade. These muscles include the rhomboids, middle trapezius and lower trapezius
To improve the movement through here, use a firm ball (a tennis ball or lacrosse ball work) and place it against the wall and lean your back onto it. Try and position the ball between your shoulder blade and the spine. Walk your feet away from the wall to increase pressure on the ball and move side to side to release tight points. Spend about 30 seconds to a minute on each point and focus on the sore spots.
Shoulder blade setting exercise
Use any simple resistance band (you can get these from any physio) and hold one end in each hand. Keeping your arms by your side and elbows bent at 90 degrees, create some tension on the band by pulling your hands away from each other. Set your shoulder blades inwards and downwards and maintain that hold while pulling the hands away from each other without discomfort and without your elbows coming away from your sides.
Pectoralis major stretch
Place one forearm against the edge of a wall so that the hand is about level with the top of your head. Place the same side leg a step forward and lean forward slowly while keeping the forearm against the wall until you feel comfortable stretch. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side. Do this 3 times each day.
Posterior rotator cuff release
Posterior cuff release. Using the same ball, this time place it behind your shoulder and hold the arm against your chest. Position the ball on the tight points and walk your feet a step away from the wall so your body weight is against the ball. Move side to side to release the sore points for around a minute.
These simple exercises can make a big difference to the health of your shoulder and after just a few days of doing this you might find that moving overhead is easier! If you are having trouble with any of the exercises feel free to drop me a line!
Welcome the the Activ Therapy Blog.