It’s Motion Monday! This simple, yet effective exercise will strengthen postural muscles and help lessen shoulder and neck pain. Click photo for video.
Shoulder instability is a common injury that occurs during contact and non-contact activities. It is the result of increased laxity (looseness) of the joint capsule and weakness in the shoulder area, specifically the rotator cuff muscles. With a weak rotator cuff, there is an increased risk of developing this “laxity” from overuse. Instability can also develop from a traumatic injury, such as a dislocation. Physical therapy can help to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and those around the shoulder blade to get you back to doing what you want and help prevent reinjury.
Laxity in the capsule creates looseness in the integrity of the joint. Instability is created when the arm is placed in certain positions and gives the individual a sense that the shoulder is “slipping” out of the socket. Swimmers and pitchers are at high risk due to the repetitive overhead movement of the arm creating the most common reason for shoulder instability; overuse.
Of course the symptoms, location and intensity will all vary. Below are some common symptoms to watch out for if you experience shoulder pain:
- Pain with pushing, pulling, or carrying heavy objects
- Pain when performing an overhead activity
- Pain during or after exercise
- A feeling that the shoulder is “shifting” (including in bed at night)
- Fear of putting the shoulder in certain positions
- Numbness and tingling sensations in the affected arm
- Clicking and popping sensations with movement
- Weakness when performing athletic movements, especially overhead and away from the body
- Loss of performance ability in sport activities
- Fatigue with repetitive activity*
A mobility assessment of the shoulder joint in various positions will help a Physical Therapist determine if it’s shoulder laxity leading to instability or another type of injury. They will also include strength tests of the rotator cuff and scapula (shoulder blade). These checks, along with a thorough patient history will aid the PT in making a determination. X-rays or an MRI may be ordered by a physician for a more detailed diagnosis.
Once your Physical Therapist evaluates the extent of muscular imbalances and areas of weakness, they may recommend that you modify or stop movements that exasperate the injury. Alleviating the inflammation and pain should be the first step in treatment. Your PT or physician may also suggest a sling to help with the pain and show you the appropriate way to apply heat and ice to lessen any discomfort.
The program your PT creates will include exercises to build the shoulder’s stability and strength, with a gradual increase to more dynamic and challenging movements specifically geared toward your goals and activity. Manual therapy techniques may be used in conjunction with physical strength training to optimize the results. After your range of motion and strength are restored you will be able to progressively participate in your sport or activity on an interval basis.
How can you prevent shoulder instability? Preventing instability of the shoulder falls into 3 categories:
- Strengthening and stretching the scapular muscles and the muscles of the rotator cuff. Athletes may perform scapular and rotator cuff strengthening exercises 3-4 times per week.
- Some overhead athletes need to stretch the posterior capsule with instability.
- Monitoring the volume of activity performed. This practice is just as important as strengthening exercises. Baseball players will often use pitch counts to avoid overuse injuries, while swimmers attempt to maintain weekly yardage totals.
- Maintaining proper form and technique. Good coaching on proper form and technique by a qualified coaching professional can be a valuable asset in preventing injuries in the young athlete population.*
If you feel you may be suffering from instability of the shoulder, please contact the Excel or Apex Physical Therapy clinic nearest you to schedule a consultation.
*Move Forward – PT’s Guide to Multidirectional Instability
Another great success story, thanks to our amazing PT Hannah Leatherman at our Apex Chalfont clinic. Keep it up, Hannah!
I had been suffering from dizziness and balance problems for over a year when I first came to Apex. I was unable to work and do every day activities, which was very depressing. After working with Hannah for a couple of weeks things began to improve and they continued to improve drastically in the weeks following. Hannah is wonderful to work with, she was very encouraging and an expert with vestibular disorders. I had no idea why I was so dizzy, but she knew exactly what to do to make my symptoms better. I would recommend Hannah to anyone needing vestibular therapy. Apex is a great place, everyone was very kind and nice to work with! I feel like I have my life back again. 🙂
Doing squats is for more than just building strong leg muscles and having a nice backside. Doing them properly and consistently provides many additional health benefits for the whole body. Deep squats are a natural movement for us as children, but as we grow and mature we tend to utilize this position less and less. This in turn creates a reduced amount of strength, mobility and flexibility. Even beyond the lower body, deep squats help with overall core and upper body conditioning, so these areas are affected as well. The deep squat is considered a compound exercise, where it utilizes multiple muscle groups to complete the movement. It is one of the best all-inclusive exercises one can perform to help gain strength, balance, flexibility and prevent injuries. Click the photo below for five of the top reasons to squat deep and how it helps in these areas.
5 Reasons to Full Squat
By James Speck
As children, we never thought twice about balance; playing all sorts of games that challenged and actually improved our balance; it was just fun. Who could hop on one leg the longest or walk the furthest on a curb without falling are a couple that come to mind. Unfortunately, as we age our motor functions decrease, our sense of limb movement and position lessens and we experience changes in our vision and vestibular system that together affect our sense of stability and steadiness. Unless you’re consistently involved in an activity or sport where your balance is stressed, you are more at risk for injuries and falls in your elder years. So, this is a case of use it or lose it!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 18,000 deaths and 450,000 hospitalizations among those over 65 are due to falls. Many are the result of diminishing balance. Fortunately, even as we age, balance can be improved with proper training. Evidence has shown the fall rate may be reduced by 50% when strength and balance activities are part of an exercise program.
With loss of balance, there is an increased fear that a fall will occur and this can lead to greater inactivity. Physical Therapy can help address this by progressively challenging an individual with specific activities to improve balance. Initially, the therapist will conduct an assessment of one’s balance with specific tests. A program is then specifically designed based on the results of these tests and an individual’s precise needs. A strengthening program is always included and the combination will help increase the patient’s confidence and lessen the fear of falling. A Physical Therapist is specifically trained to create and progress someone through a program like this and will monitor and modify the routine as improvements occur.
There are many ways to maintain and even improve your balance without equipment. You can start at home by standing with your feet side-by-side. If this is too easy, stand on one leg. Incorporate this position into exercises, brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, etc. When starting, make sure you have something to grab onto if you become unsteady. Remember; consult with your doctor or physical therapist if you have concerns about your balance.
Running definitely holds many great benefits for the body and mind; such as aiding in weight loss or with weight management and it’s a great source to help alleviate stress. But, just like anything else, too much of a good thing, may not actually be all that good for you. Overtraining or doing too much can lead to injuries that can impact your progression or halt your running all together.
Being a woman adds several risk factors that you need to be more aware of so you can take the proper precautions and reduce your risk for injury. Having wider hips than men opens the door for hip and knee pain or not having the right sports bra may cause issues. Females are also more likely to have asthma or GI issues that can affect a running regimen. Click the photo below for tips on how to prevent problems due to these and other female traits that may slow you down.
The Owner’s Manual For The Female Runner