Just this morning I was approached by a regular I know from the gym asking how to get rid of shoulder and elbow pain.  He was complaining of numbness running down his arm and just an overall ache. He admitted having the habit of sleeping on his shoulders, and leaning to that same side while watching TV in his favorite chair. And of course still insists on doing heavy bench press with a barbell. 

I helped him understand that it was quite possible that the elbow pain he was experiencing was likely due the the lack of alignment in his shoulder.  And it may be possible that merely stretching and aligning his shoulder could allow his elbow to reset itself.  If not, I had an excellent sports chiropractor I could refer.

Knowing him, I realized I was not likely going to talk him out of doing heavy bench press with a barbell.  At least not yet anyway. 

So I gave him a little taste of what I've been sharing you all this past month. We first went through some specific rotator cuff movements to warm the shoulder capsule.  Then I showed him some general stretches to open up the chest and shoulder area.  Followed by the movements from my previous posts this month, as well as the one below.

Whether it's to get rid of pain or avoid having it in the first place, don't neglect your shoulder -- rotator cuff work. 

Here's this week's shoulder saver.


Apr
15
2011
Share |
I know you're going to think I made this up, but it is 100% true. 

Not more than a week ago, a client of mine expressed that he was having pain in his right shoulder and neck area, and couldn't figure out why. 

So we reviewed the new movements he was doing in his program -- actually had him go through a few of them.  No, those didn't seem to be creating any discomfort. 

We talked about his work -- the amount of hours sitting at his desk have actually gotten less over the past the few months. 

So we explored what has changed at home -- outside of the obvious -- he recently had a child.  --BINGO!--  Originally, he didn't notice it, but recently he's been picking his newborn up more, carrying him, and holding him for extended periods.  So far that has really been the only change that he can think of in his daily and weekly routine.

This is not the first time I've heard this.  Trainers, clients and friends have all commented at one time or another about one shoulder being more sore than the other a few weeks or months after having a child.

And 9 times out of 10, you know what else?

When they are consistent with their shoulder stretches and exercises the shoulder pain goes away -- mysteriously.

I shared this client's experience because I have worked with literally hundreds of people, that start using one shoulder more than the other, each for different reasons, and end up with the same, "I don't know what's going on, but this shoulder has really started bother me", experience. 

Shoulder pain can come from the most common activities that we do everyday and don't think about it for a second.  Whether it's a wonderful new addition to the family, the posture you sit/lay in while watching TV or reading the paper, a laptop, sleeping on your shoulders, or too many pressing movements at the gym.  Shoulder pain is often times just an issue of alignment.

Practice the stretches I've shared with you along with the shoulder movements from this month and you'll be out of shoulder pain fast!

Don't just take my word for it -- Try them.


Well, let's get right to it shall we.

This month I want to focus on helping you get out of shoulder pain.  Far too many people suffer from it and there is honestly no reason to continue to live with it. 

I can't tell you how many times I see someone getting up from doing a bench press and rubbing their shoulder.  Instant hint that there is something going on that's about to get much worse in the shoulder.  But shoulder exercises and rotator cuff exercises are not just for those that do bench pressing movements.  Heck No!




Spend your day hunched over a computer?

Carry your child around the mall or at the park?

Tend to carry your purse or laptop on one shoulder consistently?

Sleep on your shoulders?

If you answered YES to any of the questions above, then this month is especially for you. 

Our shoulders take a beating day in and day out.  In our society we live our life in a forward posture all too often.  This constant forward posture can lead to all sorts of problems, from the obvious shoulder pain or discomfort, to neck pain, and yes, believe it or not, even lower back pain.

Everything is connected!

If you spend your day in poor posture, no matter what the reason, it's only a matter of time before your body starts giving you signals that something is wrong.  Now like most people you'll probably solve the problem by first avoiding the movements or activities that give you pain or discomfort.  But that is only a short term fix.  That's kind of like turning up the volume on the car radio when you hear a rattling noise in your car.  And as we all know, turning up the radio won't fix the rattle.  Likewise avoiding certain movements or activities won't make the problem in your shoulders go away either.

It's an alignment issue most likely. All of that hunching over the computer, sleeping on your shoulders, etc. all lead to creating a misalignment in your shoulders.  And like your car tires, a misalignment is only going to wear your shoulder joint out sooner.  But of course not before it gives you a great deal of pain in the process.

So every Friday this month I will share with you an exercise you can do to help re-align your shoulders.  But of course being me, I want to get as much out of the movement as I can, so I'm going to ask you to perform these movements using a Swiss Ball.  Using the Swiss Ball will force you to activate your core (think tensing your abdominal muscles).  In this way you'll get a bit of core training while getting your shoulder back in alignment.

Always remember, when performing these movements be sure to keep your shoulders and ears as far apart as possible.  The goal is to put your shoulders back in alignment, under your ears.  I also want to encourage you to keep as much space as you can between your shoulders and ears.  So during the movements be sure to reach for your ankles as you proceed backwards in each of the movements.


Since May of this year, I've been sharing with you various stretches and exercises to help you get out of pain and stay that way.  From the questions and emails I've been receiving it seems as though a reminder of the blogs would be really helpful.  As I promised early on in my blog post, I am committed to providing reliable, useful, practical information that will assist you in getting out of pain and staying that way.

If your having Shouler Pain:

Try these stretches and exercises to get rid of pain and stay that way:

Shoulder Stretches Group 1

Shoulder Stretches Group 2

Shoulder Exercises Group 1

Shoulder Exercises Group 2

Having Wrist Pain, don't forget these tried and true movements:

Painful Wrists Stretches and Exercises

Lower Back Pain, remember these stretches for the hip and lower back:

Back Pain Stretches Group 1

Back Pain Stretches Group 2

Back Pain Stretches Group 3

Knee Pain have you limping around? Try these:

Knee Pain Exercises

So there you go. The bodypart where you're experiencing pain listed just above the stretches and exercises. It doesn't get much easier than that.

With this well outlined group of stretches and exercises you should have no problem getting out of pain and staying that way.  But I feel I have to remind you, you have to do them consistently if you want them to work. Doing these movements once in a while will not get you results. Make the committment, get out of pain and go do what you already enjoy doing . . . . better!

Have a great Labor Day Weekend.
Sometimes I think people believe things have to be very complicated and exotic in order to get results. 

That's not true. 

Things just have to be consistent and effective.  When it comes to your body, all you need are simple movements that are consistently done - namely stretching and strengthening. 

As I shared with you last week, stretching is just part of keeping yourself pain free.  Stretching will relieve the immediate pain and start you on the road to recovery, but equally important are the strengthening exercises you do to create and maintain proper alignment and keep you out of pain!

As this is the last in my series on shoulder pain, I've included a worksheet of 5 very important exercises that you can print and take with you. That way you'll be sure that you're doing the exercises correctly and taking one more step to getting yourself out of pain and staying that way.

At this point, between all of the stretches I've shared with you, in addition to the exercises, you have enough information to get your shoulders pain free and keep them that way.  If you need a little extra help, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Here's your free worksheet. 5 more Shoulder_Rehab_Movements_(blog_208-20-2010).pdf to get and keep you PAIN FREE.

As always, please let me know how they worked for you.
For a bit of time I've been sharing a variety of stretches with you.  Now it's time for some exercises.  Truth be known, stretching is only 1 part of the process.  Stretching will relieve the immediate pain and start you on the road to recovery, but equally important is the strengthening of the area that is weak and out of alignment -- thus causing pain.

Check out the 2 stretches below to get you started on pain free shoulders.  Don't forget the previous blogs on shoulder stretches so you have all the tools you'll need to stay pain free.

This is Part#1. (X)

This exercise is known as X, X, T. Thus you should perform an X movement, another X movment and then a T movement before starting the process again.

From a standing postion, knees slightly bent, hands in front of body at waist height, take a band, anchored at knee height or lower, into an 'X' position as shown. Hold position for 1-2 seconds and return to start position.  Abs should be activated to stabalize core. Repeat 7-10 times.
 

Part #2. (X)


From a standing postion, knees slightly bent, hands in front of body at waist height, take a band, anchored at knee height or lower, into an 'X' position as shown. Hold position for 1-2 seconds and return to start position.  Abs should be activated to stabalize core. Repeat 7-10 times.

Part #3.  (T)

From a standing postion, knees slightly bent, hands in front of body at waist height, take a band, anchored at knee height or lower, into an 'T' position as shown. Hold position for 1-2 seconds and return to start position.  Abs should be activated to stabalize core. Repeat 7-10 times.
Here is another of my favorite shoulder exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff. I call it Pull Rotate. Simple enough. Click the video and learn another movement to get and keep your shoulders pain free. Repeat this movement as the others, 7-10 times.

Shoulder Pain must be the second largest complaint I hear about outside of back pain. Whether it's from doing too many bench press exercises and skipping rotator cuff work, or spending hours in front of the computer, shoulder pain . . . . is a pain!  Much like back pain, it is related to repeated poor posture, either sitting or standing. The purpose of these stretches is to get your body back in alignment and decrease the stress the poor posture has placed on your muscles and joints.

If the pictures and description are still a little confusing, I've included a freebie -- a Shoulder Stretch Sheet; that you can download and take with you to practice.

The first three stretches will be performed in a doorway. The images will demonstrate the proper set up position. In each of the doorway stretches be sure to engage your stomach muscles and tuck your hips underneath you to avoid arching the lower back.
 height=
Stretch #1 
As I stated I would like for you to do these first 3 stretches in a door way. Taking a lunge position halfway through the door, reach up and out to a 45 degree angle. Gently lean forward until you feel a stretch. Make sure that your weight is balanced evenly between your front and back leg. Hold the position for 5-7 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.


Stretch #2
I've turned just a bit to the side so that you can notice the lunge position and the position of the hands (forming a 90 degree bend at shoulder and elbow). As in the first stretch, gently lean forward until a stretch is felt. Make sure that your weight is evenly balanced between the front and back leg. Hold this position for 5-7 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.


Stretch #3
Again, using this inverted V, place your hands lower on the door frame and gently lean forward until a stretch is felt. Make sure that your weight is evenly balanced between the front and back leg. Hold this position for 5-7 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.


Stretch #4
From a seated position place your hands behind you, approximately shoulder width, with your fingers pointing away from your body. Slowly slide your body forward, away from your hands, until a stretch is felt. Be sure to keep your chest up and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift your chest. Hold this position for 7-10 seconds.  Repeat 2-3 times.

Try the stretches above to get rid of that shoulder pain. It's summer and most of us are more active than usual. Don't be sidelined by unnecessary pain.  I've had great results with my clientele in relieving shoulder pain, and I think you will, too.

As always, let me know how these stretches worked.  And here is the freebie!  Bonus_Shoulder_Stretches_Sheet.pdf

HELP!

 

I’ve been blog posting largely based on the experiences I have had or presently have with clients.  So far I’ve shared information on using self-massage techniques to help get you out of pain, information on carbs and generally how to create meals that will keep you on track, how to get rid of painful wrists and shoulders, and how stress may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, and finally I shared with you how to assess the magic bullets that the media is constantly trying to sell you.

 

What I realized however is that while I may think the information is valuable and important, that doesn’t mean you do. So I thought the best way to improve the quality of the post that I put up is to ask you, “Is anyone experiencing pain issues I have not addressed, or has a nutrition question that might assist you with?"

 

I believe this whole social media thing is a great opportunity to share valuable information and network at levels never seen before.  Though I realize that this is often the case, I would like to use this social vehicle to inform and empower as many of you out there as possible, to assist you in getting out of pain, get into your best shape, and improve your overall quality of life.  Yeah, I know it’s sounds kind of corny, but hey, it’s the gift I have and I want to share it.

 

Let me know if there is anything I can help you with.

You know that old saying “sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees”?  This morning I was reminded of just “how deep in the trees” I am. 

 

One of the guys I see at the gym quite often approached me this morning and asked me about some nagging knee pain he’s been experiencing.  He said it’s been going on for 4 weeks now and getting progressively worse. I asked him the usual questions and he told me that there hadn't been any impact to the knee itself, he hasn’t felt any decrease in stability, mostly that it’s just been a growing problem over the past several weeks.  It’s gotten to the point now where he is unable to enjoy his usual cycling and running.  In addition, after sitting for long periods of time, standing up is quite painful, though the pain decreases after moving around for a bit.

 

I asked, “Do you do any self-myofascial release”?  He said, “What’s that”?  I said, “Let me show you."  I then proceeded to demonstrate how to do it using my Energy F/X Tube so that he would feel a decrease in the knee pain he was having.

 

While I was demonstrating the techniques it hit me...

 

I take for granted that many people don’t know about the benefits of self-myofascial release.  In a nutshell, self-myofascial release is a type of self-massage using a hard roller, tube or ball.  It helps break up scar tissue and increases blood flow to the affected area.  Not to mention it can increase your range of motion and improve performance.

A lot weekend warriors and sedentary people end up feeling stiff and hurting, and mistakenly believe there is something wrong with their joints that might require surgery.  In fact, most of the time all they need to do is regular self-myofascial release.

 

Before you give up hope and think the only alternative to being in pain is surgery, check out the videos I've posted on my website that demonstrate how to use self-myofascial release techniques to get out of pain.  It's simple to do, and literally doesn't take more than a few minutes a day.  

 

As always, let me know how these techniques worked for you.  And if you need to buy the Energy F/X tube, go to http://energyfxfitness.com/_product_78512/Energy_FX_Tube to order it.  

Just this week I had the opportunity to work with a client that was suffering from painful wrists. Her wrists were so painful in fact that holding a fork to eat a full meal was a difficult task at best.

As usual, I went through my assessment, asking about her daily activities, type of work, how long the problem had existed, as well as the usual gait analysis, posture analysis, etc. What I found was that she worked in an office where she sat at her desk for most of the day. She spent a good deal of the day in her chair at her desk, even eating lunch at her desk on many occasions.

Her posture showed the damage that hours at a desk can do. Her shoulders and head were slumped forward, and her hip flexors were tight causing her glutes (butt) not to activate properly when walking (or running, her choice of exercise).

So I went to work to first open her chest muscles and get the shoulders pulled back into position.  I shared with her the "shoulder stretches" I posted for you all in a previous post on shoulder pain.

I then went to work on her wrists, after all, though that may not be source of the pain, I had to get some movement back in her stiff wrists while at the same time working on her tight shoulders.  Below I've included the sheet I provided for her.

Try the stretches out if you're having wrist pain or if your wrists are just sore and stiff. 

As always, let me know how they work for you.

WristandFingerStretchSheet.pdf