Hey everybody, I’m Kris Stokes from Custom Fitness Personal Training Studio, where your health comes first. Today, we’re talking about arm or shoulder pain. Seems like every so often we’ll have a group of new clients coming in complaining of this and just not knowing where else to turn. So I kind of wanted to address it today because it’s something probably a little different than what you think it is.
This shoulder pain comes on what feels like suddenly, and all of a sudden you may not be able to raise your arm very high, put your jacket on or pull your seat belt across. You might not even be able to sleep on that arm and it might be aching and throbbing throughout the night. So a lot of times, you get the shoulder pain coming, you feel it in one spot, but you also feel it grab down in another spot. Now, I’m not here to diagnose anything ,but to give an idea of what might be happening. A lot of times, it’s posture related. We talked a lot about posture in recent videos, and posture is huge. It can cause all sorts of body aches and pains. It can cause problems and weaknesses through the body that really can become chronic issues.
So what we want to do is to fix this before it gets too bad. The problem that we’re talking about today, what happens is, the shoulder typically is rolled in here, just from screen time or computers or picking up children, and we tend to stand with this rounded shoulder position. As we do that, the body wasn’t meant to move like this. The shoulder is connected between two bones, your scapula and your collarbone. They hold it all in place, but there’s a lot of musculature in there. There’s also a lot of tendon ligament moving around in there that really needs to be in the right position in order to contract.
Muscles Are Like Rubber Bands
So if you took a stretchy rubber band and you stretched it as far as it could go, and then you expected it to have an elastic property to it, to where it could kind of stretch further, it won’t be able to do that. That’s kind of how your muscles are working here. If you’ve got it rolled in, you’ve got some of these muscles stretched to their capacity. They’re not that able to contract or stretch, they just kind of sit there, and they’re not really being helpful. Therefore, we end up with these pains coming down the arm. What happens if I put my thumb here on my collarbone and my shoulder here and I roll my shoulder in? The space is going to become smaller. What that’s doing is it’s taking all of this musculature through the chest and the shoulder and it’s shortening those muscles.
Over time, that can become a big issue, that they no longer stretch real easy, they’ve just become these shortened little pieces compared to what they used to be. So, a lot of problems going on in here. A lot of times, this problem I’m discussing today, with the pain going through the arm and the shoulder is coming from what’s called your biceps tendon. Basically, that’s coming across from the pectoral muscles through the arm, attaching down in here. What’s happening is that’s getting very short. As that gets short, it messes up how the musculature in your back works and that can hurt all the way through the back then. It can even lead into things like frozen shoulder syndrome and other issues.
Can We Fix It? Yes We Can!
So, how do we fix this? Well, we fix it several ways. First, we have to stretch. One of the best ways is a doorway stretch, where you have a door frame here and you put your arm against that door frame. You then would just step forward and allow that arm to stretch back, opening up through the chest. We do this several times throughout the day to stretch that out. You could do this stretch behind your back and open, the reason that I don’t suggest that for this issue is a lot of times, people will do that still in this rounded shoulder position, which didn’t help the problem. In this position here, that shoulder has to open and pull back, so that’s a great one to stretch through the chest.
We really want to work on better posture, and that’s something to work on daily. You can’t do that in three hours a week in workouts; you have to make it a daily routine that you’re working on it. I suggest breakfast, lunch, and dinner, working for at least a couple of minutes on learning how to stand right through the whole body, and really rolling those shoulders back if this is an issue for you. So it’s not just coming from here and squeezing back, it’s actually rolling it, opening so that your palms turn more to the front, because that shoulder just opened up and you get this nice open place here. So that’s number one, because number two is to strengthen the upper back. But, if I’m doing rows in this curled position here, and rowing here, I’m never going to get the strength that I need in the right position that I need to fix that problem.
So instead, what we have to do is, we again have to roll those shoulders back in a good posture, then we have to pinch the shoulder blades together, so you’re going to feel a squeeze between those shoulder blades. Then you would do those rows, reverse flies, lap pull down, or whatever you may be doing. So strengthening the upper back muscles is super important, but we want to do that in great posture, because if we’re not working in great posture, all we’re doing is exacerbating the problem.
Proper Posture vs. Comfy Posture
We’re really looking at this from the direction of structural necessity versus our comfy position. So we want to make sure that we’re structurally giving the body what it needs, that we’re standing in the right position to give it the most ability to be strong and stable and to protect us. If we’re just thinking about relaxation and comfort, a lot of times we’re sitting in overstuffed chairs or in chairs that we’re not sitting up straight in and we’re just kind of slouching in them. We’re carrying that slouch through our day and a lot of us just aren’t getting the sleep we need to give our bodies enough energy to want to sit up straight. That’s another topic that we’ll be talking about pretty soon, that we want to make sure that we’ve got the sleep that we need in order to give our bodies that energy, so that we have the desire to sit up straight, to work on our posture, and we don’t feel like we’re exhausted all the time and need to just kind of slouch and run through.
So, really just focusing on what we call the posterior chain, that back side, on strengthening all of that, and that’s huge in any posture topic. We definitely need to strengthen that posterior chain because it’s something that we typically don’t do. We really need to be stretching and lengthening through the front of our bodies so that we’re not in this curled position all the time. That would make us think that we were shortening the muscles, but even just sitting like this will start to shorten those muscles. They may not be as toned, but they’ll be short. So we want to start to lengthen the front of our body, really work the back of our body, and that’ll start to help with that issue.
If you’ve got a weird ache or pain going on, feel free to give us a call, (806) 322-3188. We’re happy to help where we can and we want to sit down to see if it’s a good fit. If it’s something that we feel like is beyond what we do, I have several acquaintances in the physical therapy realm that are happy to help as well. Therefore, we’d be happy to get you connected with somebody there. But, for the most part, a lot of these problems can be fixed, like I said, through simple strengthening and better posture.
Hope you have a great day.