STIFF AND SORE SHOULDER
Updated: Feb 2
Do you have a history of stiff & sore shoulders? Or have the current circumstances meant your office is now your dining room and you’re eating your dinner off your lap in front of the TV trying to destress from everything going on?
On the flip side, do you have a manual job which is in high demand and working more now than ever? Have you played years of contact/repetitive sports and are now paying the price? Or are you training at home while gyms are closed with limited equipment and lots of repetitive movements?
This is something we commonly see in clinic, however, the demographics can vary tremendously! The time in your life where a stiff & sore shoulder can be prominent can vary. Frequently, young people develop a stiff shoulder following an injury from sport/car/lifestyle. And older people can experience a stiff & sore shoulder through past injuries or recent falls.
Nonetheless, this blog aims to provide you with helpful content and tips in the quest to alleviate the symptoms of a stiff & sore shoulder. Now, although the shoulder is a very complex part of our bodies and there can be many differential diagnosis’ there can still be some global signs and symptoms that are seen within stiff shoulders (Iltoi et al. 2016).
Tricks and tips
MOVEMENT IS KEY! Try and keep the shoulder moving, this may initially start being a little restricted and a slight tight sensation, but this will ease the more you can elicit movement.
A really easy exercise for movement around the shoulder is a pendulum.
1) Adopt a three-point contact position (both feet on the floor and the good arm on a table).
2) Create a swinging action around the shoulder joint by using the momentum of your body.
3) Complete 2 minutes of this 3 times a day.
ACTIVATION! ACTIVATION! ACTIVATION! We want to be able to desensitise the sore area through contraction and relaxation. However, jumping into throwing weights around is a little too much to initially start with!
Isometric contractions are a great way to get communication into the desired surround area without causing further damage/pain (Puddu and Giombini 2001).
1) Sitting down, place the elbow of your injured arm into a 90o bend and with your thumb facing upwards.
2) Using your good arm place your hand on the outside of your wrist.
3) You are going to push into your injured arm in the attempt to turn your hand outwards. However, your good arm will be matching the strength output of the sore arm and resist the movement. There should be NO MOVEMENT at the shoulder, simply just a contraction and relaxation phase!
4) Complete each hold for 30s and repeat as much as you can throughout the day!
5) Repeat the above steps but instead of placing the good arm on the outside, place it on the inside and resist the injured arm turning inwards.
Now this blog may have consisted of a few less facts and figures and that’s because the shoulder is very complex, with a lot of surrounding supportive structures that all need to be considered when diagnosing a stiff shoulder. If you are experiencing a stiff and sore shoulder and would like some further advice, or understanding of what is going on then please do get in touch via the below information;
I hope you have enjoyed ready this blog. Please remain safe and well during these times!
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST
MSc Strength and Conditioning
Itoi, E, Arce, G, Bain, G. I, Diercks, R. L, Guttmann, D, Imhoff, A, Mozzocca, A. D, Sugaya, H and Yoo, Y-S, (2016), ‘Shoulder Stiffness: Current Concepts and Concerns’, Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery, 32(7), 1402-1414.
Puddu, G and Giombini, A. (2001), Rehabilitation of Sports Injuries, USA: New York.