Shoulder Pain: Exercise Do’s and Don’ts

Your shoulders are the most movable joints in the body, which is why it’s important to learn how to strengthen your shoulder muscles and prevent joint injury, even at an early age. There are several key tips to keep in mind to decrease the risk of joint injury including warming up before participating in sports or exercise, strengthening the smaller muscles surrounding your joints and practicing good form during workout routines.

When it comes to shoulder pain, exercising can both aggravate it and can help prevent pain – it all depends on how you’re exercising.

  • Do: Listen to your body! If the exercise you’re doing hurts a lot, you probably shouldn’t do it.
  • Do: If pressing above your head, help maintain your form by looking straight ahead and keeping your hands in your peripheral vision.
  • Don’t: Use a pull-down machine and pull the bar behind your head because it puts more weight on the small muscles in the shoulder and strains them.
  • Don’t: Bench press straight up. If you angle your press slightly forward, it takes stress off of your shoulder while still building muscle.
  • Don’t: Neglect dedicated rotator cuff exercises that strengthen the muscles.  Every day do 10-30 repetitions of these exercises, using light weights:
    • Using a resistance band, step on one end of the band while you hold the other in your hand. Standing straight up, raise your arm with the band until it is straight out, at a 90-degree angle from your body, then lower it. Repeat while raising your arm out to the side.
    • Tie a resistance band to a doorknob
      or stationary object and stand to the side, holding the band with your elbow bent and at your side. Keep your elbow close to your side and bring your arm across your body. Slowly return to the start position. Repeat, but rotate your arm outward.

With some modifications, everyone should be able to exercise and lift. Before beginning any exercise routine, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. Cone Health has an exceptional team of sports medicine specialists and related rehabilitation professionals dedicated to educating and demonstrating joint-strengthening and injury-preventing techniques individualized to each patient’s capabilities.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Evan Corey is a sports medicine specialist at Cone Health Primary Care at MedCenter Kernersville and a member of Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Corey received his Bachelor of Science in biology from Hampden-Sydney College in 2004 and he completed medical school at The University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 2010. Dr. Corey completed his residency at Cone Health in 2013 and a sports medicine fellowship at the Cone Health Sports Medicine Center in 2014.