Are you sick and tired of aggravating neck and shoulder pain, and ready to change your habits to help alleviate shoulder tension?
I’ve had the opportunity to help so many clients over the past 20+ years teaching Pilates who have walked thru my door complaining of neck and shoulder tension, stress, chronic pain, or rotator cuff injuries. It’s amazing how quickly things can improve with a better understanding of posture, breathing, body alignment. Then getting the right exercises into your weekly workout program to reinforce healthy new movement habits and alleviate shoulder tension is the ultimate way to keep the pain away.
It’s a 3-Step Process to get your brain and body in sync for better health. We don’t know what we don’t know. It’s impossible to make corrections or improvements with our movement habits to alleviate shoulder tension if we don’t realize we need to change, or have never been shown a better way to stand, sit, breathe, or move.
Step 1: Your brain has to be able to send the right message to your muscles. Cognitively understanding what needs to happen is the first step. If you don’t even realize that there is something you’re doing with a daily habit, task, or exercise that is creating the pain, OR that there is actually something that you can do about it, how on earth can you ever fix it? Your brain is the master controller for the rest of your body. Your body sends a message to the brain that there is pain… The brain is then supposed to help the body fix it! How often do you ignore the pain and just keep doing what you’re doing? (or try medicating & masking the pain with a pill – so you can ignore the problem and hope it will just go away?)
Step 2: Improve Your Body Awareness. Being able to find and feel things working differently in your own body is step 2. It’s important to be able to notice when you’re doing things right or wrong so you have an opportunity to make adjustments for better health. There is a level of trust that needs to be restored between your brain and body, to improve confidence that if there is a problem, you acknowledge it, and will take action to improve the situation.
Step 3: Practice Good Posture and Healthy Movement Habits. By applying better body mechanics to every physical activity you do, you get to put your new-and-improved posture habits into practice to help re-train the right muscles to support healthy pain-free movement; reducing your risk of injury and ensuring that whatever activity you do it’s safe and effective to help you stay healthy. This not only helps alleviate shoulder tension, but helps develop a well-balanced body to keep your whole-body healthy!
Even when we’re sitting still, doing nothing, it can be challenging to alleviate shoulder tension! Just thinking about things that increase our stress level can effect the amount of neck and shoulder tension we’re holding onto. Being cold and shivering will wrap your shoulders up around your ears quickly also, and you might not even realize why it’s happening. Too much time in front of your computer, sitting in a recliner watching TV, or bending your head forward to text message on your phone all are daily life activities that may be contributing to neck and shoulder tension problems.
If you’re tired of complaining about neck and shoulder tension and ready to start paying attention to what you’re doing along with learning how to take better care of your body, there is something you can do about it. Yes, getting a massage might help you enjoy some temporary relief, but for lasting results it’s time to take control of your body and be pro-active to improve how you stand, sit, and MOVE.
Shoulder Pain is a CRY for Help from your body! Are you paying attention to what your body is trying to tell you, or trying to ignore the problem?
Over the years, I‘ve had my fair share of aches and pains in my arms and shoulders, (gymnastics and dance, and weight lifting involve a lot of upper body conditioning!) And have seen lots of clients with a host of different shoulder pain injury issues. Everything from “Frozen Shoulders,” Rotator Cuff injuries, shoulder impingement issues, “Broken-Wing Syndrome,” headaches, chronic upper neck and shoulder pain, and more…
For some clients, these shoulder pain problems have been bugging them for years due to old sports injuries from baseball, softball, or other sports. Other clients have gotten hurt lifting heavy weights in the gym, or over-training for a triathlon. Some tried a little too hard to get a bigger stretch in their Yoga class, other folks for what they believe is no good reason, have developed nagging aches and shoulder pain due to simple everyday activities. (Computer work, carrying babies, driving…) I even had one client whose horse reared up while she was holding the reins! (A complete shoulder shredding, worst her orthopedic doctor had ever seen…She declined surgery and regained her mobility and strength with Pilates.)
It doesn’t matter whether your shoulder pain is due to an injury or accident, or just chronic overuse over time… We need our arms and shoulders to be strong, and flexible to lift, tote, and carry things. Nobody realizes just how much you use your arms, until it hurts to lift one!
Regardless of how your shoulder pain started, ultimately the question becomes “What can you do to reduce or eliminate shoulder pain?” Here are a few insights to get you started…
- It’s always best to seek medical attention quickly. Don’t wait for months and make things worse. Popping a couple of pain pills and continuing your current activities, is only going to make things worse in the long run. And FYI, Dr. Google isn’t the best place to seek medical advice. Make an appointment with your REAL live Doctor – ASAP. If you don’t like the medical advice you’ve been given, seek a second opinion, (or a third…) Surgery may not be your only option to reduce or eliminate your shoulder pain!
- Think a cortisone shot is going to solve your problems? DON’T DO IT! While it might temporarily reduce some inflammation in the joint, it necrotizes tissue. (meaning it kills your tissues!) That’s a part of the reason why they’ll only give you 2-3 shots in any part of your body and that’s it, if it still hurts after that, too bad… All a shot is going to do is mask the pain so you think you’re healed and can do what you want. Once it wears off, you’re going to realize how much worse you’ve made it.
Pain is the only way your muscles and joints can talk to you. If something hurts, there’s a problem and your body is screaming at you to pay attention and do something to fix it. Too often we ignore pain and try to muster on. Start listening, and respecting your body. You might have to make some adjustments in what you’re doing, for a while to work through the process of healing and reprogramming your habits, or better yet, give up the activities that are making it worse. Ask yourself the all-important question, “Do I want to heal my shoulder pain problem, or do I want to continue to hurt?” The choice is yours.
- If it hurts to move your arms and shoulders, there is something not quite right with your posture and body mechanics. As good as you might think your posture and movement habits are, trust me, there are things out of alignment that are prohibiting proper functional movement. Your old habits are what set you up for injury, and without proper re-training, you’re going to continue to have shoulder pain. Sure there are a lot of great arm and shoulder strengthening exercises out there, but done with poor posture, bad form, muscles not firing in the proper sequence, or movement not initiating from the right spot, you’re going to continue to aggravate instead of eliminate your shoulder pain.
I strongly encourage you to commit to working with someone who can help you get the right exercises in your weekly workout routine, done with good form and function. Your investment in having an eagle-eye watching you and helping make corrections until you’re confident that you’re doing things correctly will be worth every penny, and help you eliminate your shoulder pain much faster. Maybe you know the moment you hurt your shoulder, and there’s a really good reason for your pain? But if you don’t know what you did in the first place that created your shoulder pain and it just crept in over time…how do you think on your own you’re going to be able to fix it?
And another thing to consider here when finding a mentor , therapist, or coach to help you is that just doing “shoulder and arm exercises” is probably NOT going to solve your shoulder pain problems. WHY you’re wondering? Because the moving the shoulder and arm involves, the shoulder blade, upper arm bone, and collar bones. And these bones can only articulate properly when the spine and ribcage are in the right place, which means good breathing habits, proper core support, pelvis in alignment, ab and low back muscles working, chest and upper back muscles working and releasing at the right moments, as well as work with the rotator cuff (shoulder muscles) and arms. Developing healthy pain-free shoulders means getting the WHOLE-BODY to work together in harmony! Probably not a quick-fix, but once you really understand what your bad habits are, and can learn better strategies for posture, breathing, AND shoulder and arm mechanics, you’ll be well on your way to not only improving your whole-body health, but reducing and/or eliminating your shoulder pain issues.
My client with the shredded shoulder…that was so badly injured she couldn’t lift her arm for months, but got full range of movement back with Pilates… She called me a few years later and left a message on my phone, (“I’m in Alaska, and just spent the day ice-pick climbing! Thank you so much for helping me with my shoulder, it feels great – zero shoulder pain! I couldn’t have done it without you.”) And recently, she’s taken it a step farther and transitioned into a career as a Pilates teacher. Now she’s helping others because Pilates made such a big difference in her life.
You can reduce or eliminate shoulder pain. But you’ve got to get the right concepts in your brain, and the right re-training exercises in your body. With a little time, patience, and dedicated practice, it’s quite possible to feel better than you have in years!
Interested in scheduling a Private Consultation to discuss how Pilates can help you improve your whole-body health and reduce or eliminate your shoulder pain? Contact Aliesa Today!
Register now for the upcoming Stress-Free Shoulders workshop with Aliesa, on Saturday, May 7th, 2016 from 10am-1pm at Bodhi Body Pilates. Download the Spring Training Series Workshop Flyer, then Contact Aliesa to Reserve Your Spot this Awesome Workshop.