Shoulder pain is the second-highest musculoskeletal chronic pain complaint seen in Australia. We see a lot of shoulder injuries and dysfunction in the studio, from frozen shoulder to ongoing dislocations and fractures.
Shoulder pain is an expensive issue in Australian healthcare and contributes to the staggering 3.24 million Australians living with chronic pain*, which is roughly the population of Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Tasmania combined!
The cost of lost workdays and shoulder treatments adds up to the billions. International consulting giant Deloitte found that chronic pain costs Australia $73.2 billion a year, including $48.3 billion in lost productivity*.
Shoulder pain comes second to back pain for the most common chronic pain complaint, but while the cost of back pain is often discussed and methods are taken to mitigate it, shoulder pain is generally neglected. Shoulder pain and dysfunction can be extremely debilitating, mums and grandparents are unable to pick up or play with the kids, swimming and enjoying an active lifestyle become difficult as does general day to day activities such as doing the laundry, cooking, or making a bed.
Unfortunately, shoulder injuries have a notoriously long recovery time, broken shoulders often take up to for full recovery, frozen shoulder can last from 1.5 to 5 years, and those with frequent shoulder dislocations may struggle with their shoulder for decades and require costly and debilitating surgery to fix.
There is no one answer that fits all when it comes to shoulder pain. Causes range from inactivity, injury to overactivity, genetics, and even autoimmune disease.
What we do know is that steady, consistent use and strength building will help negate shoulder pain and injuries but we are not recommending getting into the gym and lifting the heaviest weights that you can find.
The impacts of shoulder injury can range from, but are not limited to; financial burden, reduced motivation, day-to-day difficulties, and the inability to exercise all of which can lead to emotional and mental health concerns as well. To help reduce the individual and societal burden we need to look at prevention before the need for a cure.
If you suffer from shoulder pain, weak shoulders, or are concerned that your shoulders may not be supporting your lifestyle here are some recommendations;
Firstly it is really important to get properly assessed, know your issues and current limits, work with a professional to extend these. This could mean physio, soft tissue treatments, or a personal/movement coach.
Once you know your limitations and what you need to do to improve you need to make changes in the right way, for sustainable results that won’t cause further damage.
Begin lightly without weight - body weight and endurance training. Check out our Exercise Library for instructions on these shoulder strengthening exercises;
Try doing some push-ups again the wall
A prone Y lift
Shoulder flexion - taking your arms up over your head
Don’t force it and don't put pressure through your pecs or under your armpits
Slowly start adding weight, use resistance bands initially
Remember - it takes about 6-8 weeks for the body to build up strength so don’t rush it. A good trainer or physical therapist will map out your progression
If your shoulders feel tight or sore, don’t push through - see a healthcare professional
Regular massages will keep your soft tissues healthy and ready to take on the new load you are adding. If you are not suffering from a specific injury a full body maintenance massage is ideal to keep you moving!
At muscle medicine we can look after you from assessment through any remedial bodywork you may require and general full-body maintenance treatments.
Maintenance massages are ideal to slot between remedial sessions for highly active people or simply to keep your soft tissues in peak health. Find out more about our Maintenance Massage Treatments on our website.