The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint surrounded by two important muscles: the rotator cuff and the deltoid. Your shoulders are the most movable joints in the body, and it’s this combination of bone and muscle that allows you to raise and rotate your arm. Since these joints have such a great range of motion, it’s normal to hear your joints pop or click as the tendons and bones move around each other, as long as it’s not painful. As soon as you start feeling pain with the pops or clicks, you should make an appointment to be evaluated by a specialist.
When it comes to shoulder pain, exercising can both aggravate pain and can help prevent it – it all depends on how you’re exercising. Shoulder pain can often be caused by trying to lift an object while the shoulder is in a weak or compromised position. A good rule of thumb to use is if your head is in a neutral position, looking straight ahead, keep your hands in your field of view while you perform an activity or exercise. It’s when you reach for something behind you in your back seat or pull things down behind your head that your shoulder is more likely to get hurt.
If you are experiencing pain, initial treatment could include taking anti-inflammatories and practicing small muscle exercises that strengthen the shoulder. For example, using light weights or a resistance band, repeat external rotations of the shoulder. Most importantly, listen to your body! If the exercise you’re doing hurts a lot, you probably shouldn’t do it.
Fortunately, within our community, Cone Health Orthopedic Center of Excellence has an exceptional network of orthopedic and sports medicine specialists trained to diagnose and treat all types of shoulder injuries (surgically and non-surgically) and return patients to their normal lives and routines as quickly as possible.
Dr. Joshua Landau is an orthopedic surgeon in Greensboro and is a member of the Cone Health medical staff. Dr. Landau received a Bachelor of Arts in human biodynamics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the San Francisco Orthopaedic Residency Training Program in 2007 and completed the San Diego Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine Fellowship in 2008.