Pilates and Shoulder Pain

Most everyone will complain of shoulder pain at some point in their life.  There are many causes of this problem most commonly: rotator cuff tendonitis, and/or rotator cuff tears, labral tears, frozen shoulder (adhesive capsuliltis), shoulder instability, A-C separation (acromio-clavicular separation), and finally arthritis of the shoulder.

Some signs that you should seek expert help from a doctor or Physical Therapist for the treatment of your shoulder include: 

  • Inability to carry objects or use the arm 
  • Injury that causes deformity of the joint
  • Shoulder pain that occurs at night or while resting 
  • Shoulder pain that persists beyond a few days
  • Inability to raise the arm 
  • Swelling or significant bruising around the joint or arm

The treatment of shoulder pain depends on the cause of the problem. Therefore, it is very important to understand the cause of your symptoms before embarking on a treatment program.  There are, however,  some things that most everyone can do to maintain the health of their shoulder and minimize pain.

Exercise!: It may seem counter-intuitive. Your shoulder hurts, so your doctor or physical therapist recommends exercises. Yet, why go through more pain? The truth is that exercising an injured shoulder at the appropriate time and with the appropriate intensity will reduce and cure pain.

Practice Pilates to strengthen your core: Lack of core strength can lead to poor posture, specifically a rounded back and forward head. This creates a significant imbalance in the muscles of the shoulder and neck. Pilates is all about posture!  The more you apply what you are learning in your pilates sessions to your daily life, the less chance of injury, and better chance for healing post injury!  Pilates should help you gain the strength and flexibility you need to properly align your joints and body in order to minimize injury and allow your body to heal.

Two exercises that you can do at home are:

1. Rowing: Using a theraband,  pull your elbows back, retracting your shoulder blades. Repeat between 10 and 30 times as you can tolerate without any discomfort. (Therabands are available for purchase at the studio.) 
2. Wall push up: Face a wall with your hands on the wall and your feet about a foot apart. Slowly push out from the wall. Repeat 5 times, holding for a count of five. Repeat twice daily.

This is not a complete shoulder program, just and example of some shoulder exercises.  We are happy to work with you individually to design a program that is appropriate for you!

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