Flexible muscles make everyday activities easier on your body and help decrease your risk of certain injuries. Studies have also shown that stretching may have further benefits, including improving your circulation and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Greater flexibility has even been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
A 2009 study in the “American Journal of Physiology” indicated that people age 40 and older who performed well on a sit-and-reach test (a seated forward bend that measures flexibility) had less stiffness in their arterial walls, an indicator of the risk for stroke and heart attack. We recommend helpful shoulder stretches.
Shoulder Pain Causes
The shoulder is the most versatile joint in the body. There is no other joint that can lift up and down, forward and backward, rotate left and right, or move in a throwing motion. But, like any complex machine with a lot of moving parts, there’s a lot that can go wrong.
Many shoulder injuries are caused by activities that involve excessive, repetitive, overhead motion. Repetitive motion injuries may be every day activities such as yard work or housework, or athletic activities (hunching over a computer, golf, swimming, tennis, and weightlifting). These common activities can shorten some muscles.
These shortened muscles, combined with the natural loss of muscle elasticity that occurs with aging, can set you up so any quick or awkward motion could stretch your muscles beyond their limit, resulting in a strain or a tear.
While overuse or other injury can play an impact shoulder flexibility, tight shoulder muscles can also stem from a lack of activity, which causes the muscles in your shoulders to lack proper range of motion and strength. This compensation can cause some discomfort, modified posture, and even pain but this imbalanced relationship could have longer lasting consequences. Modified muscle movement during any activity causes a constant tug-of-war between the muscles which can have a long-term effect on posture and lead to significant muscle, joint, tendon and ligament injuries.
Shoulder Pain Symptoms
The shoulder is made up of four joints and five linked bone groups which are related and work together. It is because of this complexity, that shoulder pain symptoms can manifest in a wide variety of ways. Inactivity can lead to stiffness, while repetitive motion stress can cause tenderness or sensitivity. Depending on the cause of your shoulder pain, you might experience any of these symptoms:
- Audible pops or cracks when you move your shoulder
- A dull ache
- Sharp pain upon a specific motion
- Weakness in the joint
- Swelling, redness, and inflammation
Many causes of shoulder pain are muscular in nature, but you may have also overstressed certain bones or ligaments if you're experiencing pain. Since pain is your body's way of communicating problems, it's vital to pay close attention to these signals and report them to your doctor.
Shoulder Pain Treatment
When you are experiencing pain, you are looking for immediate relief in your shoulder pain treatment, but long term healing will prove to be important in preventing further injury and regaining full strength and range of motion. Always consult your doctor about long term treatment options for injuries, and in the meantime, try one of these tools to provide immediate relief.
Long Term Healing
Stretching & Strengthening
- StretchRite® - This multi-purpose stretching tool is designed for use with multiple joint and muscle exercises and is a great way to get your body moving again while keeping you in control.
- RangeRoller™ Original - The RangeRoller is a deep-tissue massage tool that can provide immediate relief for stiffness in your muscles. Use it whenever you feel pain or stiffness to ease discomfort from your muscles naturally and effectively.
Prevention options include:
- Focus On Flexibility and Strength - If your goal is to prevent injury, stretching should be done daily. Shoulder stretching is fairly simple and can be done anywhere, but learning and following proper technique is the key.
- Warm Up and Cool Down - Going in cold can be uncomfortable under any circumstances, but starting an exercise or athletic activity without stretching, is a risk for injury you just don’t have to take. Be sure to warm up your shoulder muscles properly before and stretch afterwards.