3 Exercises for Weak or Painful Shoulders

Acute or chronic shoulder pain is a common reason a person might seek out the services of a therapist. In this blog post, we will cover the starting point of our favorite exercises for weak or painful shoulders. First, we will discuss different types of exercise and how we use each type to promote pain management. Then we will demonstrate shoulder alignment and give instructions for strong, healthy shoulder joints!

Sound like a plan? Here goes...

When we initiate a plan of action for either acute or chronic pain, we structure an exercise sequence in a specific order. The first goal is to calm down the pain response and bring more stability to the joint in order to allow for bigger movement. Once pain is addressed, we look at underlying movement patterns and reinforce patterns to promote optimal joint health! Let's take a look at the difference between different types of strengthening exercise and discuss a starting point for weak or painful shoulder joints.

Different types of...

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Quick Test: What Does Actual Shoulder Mobility Look Like?

 

A key component in maintaining strong, healthy shoulder joints is understanding how to differentiate between using actual shoulder movement v. other movements to compensate for a lack of shoulder mobility.

As the above photos demonstrate, more than one motion can be used to reach arms overhead. Many of us mistakenly believe we're using shoulder mobility to accomplish this motion.

The first photo shows someone reaching arms overhead to touch the wall behind them. At a glance, this might look like fantastic shoulder mobility, but take a closer look at what is happening at the rib cage. It moved away from the wall to help move the arms further overhead. Once the end of actual shoulder mobility is reached, rib cage thrusting can help us achieve further movement without using the shoulders but using the low back instead. 

Is this a problem? Not always. But if you are looking to improve actual shoulder joint mobility, compensating with rib cage thrusting bypasses the...

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Try This Quick Test for Balance

A quick test for balance: how long are you able to stand on one leg without arm support? 

To set up: keep a chair or something you can hold if needed nearby and stand in front of a mirror with your feet hip width apart, shoes and socks off. Place your hands on your hips, shift your weight to one side and pick your opposite foot off the floor. How long can you hold this position?

An adult around age 30 should be able to comfortably hold this position for 30 seconds. In adults over age 65, an inability to hold this for at least 5 seconds indicates a greater risk of falls. Were you surprised by your results? 

We often get asked why we spend so much time practicing single leg standing in therapy. This skill is important because this is the position we spend the most amount of time in while walking! In order to take a step forward, you have to stand on one leg to allow the other leg to swing forward. If you are having difficulty with single leg standing, it is likely your walking...

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Your Mindset About Aging is Impacting How You Age

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about aging?

Do you imagine a life of limiting what you enjoy because of medical conditions? A time of decline? A life full of doctor's appointments?

Or do you imagine a life full of vitality? Feeling amazing so you can continue to do all the things you love well into your golden years?

We hope imagine the latter, but unfortunately most only picture the first scenario.

How We View Aging 

It's an understatement to say that our society holds tightly to a negative view of aging. It's pervasive in the ways we talk about older adults and also very apparent in advertising. It seems we are on a never-ending quest for “anti-aging” everything.

We often make the mistake of associating aging with decline, and these views impact the way in which older adults view their health. We make assumptions we'll decline both mentally and physically as we age.

But are we really declining because of age itself or because our views...

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Your Feet Are Your Foundation for Healthy Aging

Did you know that 25% of your bones and muscles are located below the ankle?

Our feet were designed to be versatile with an infinite number of movements due to the number of joints and intrinsic foot muscles, yet most of us hardly spend time thinking about our feet.

They are the foundation of our body, however, the care and maintenance of our feet is almost unheard of. We tend to cram our feet into whatever shoe we like the looks of, with no regard to how that shoe might be impacting the health of our feet (and by proxy our overall health).

There is evidence showing the activation of the muscles of your pelvic floor is greater when barefoot than in shoes. Shoes, especially with any sort of heel lift, force you to adjust your pelvis. This subtle change alters how you use your core. 

Today’s epidemic of foot damage including bunions, hammertoes, collapsed arches, foot pain, and secondary effects of diabetes including neuropathy, poor circulation, and even...

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The Health Benefits of Floor Sitting

 

One of my favorite questions to ask new clients is, “When is the last time you sat on the floor ON PURPOSE?”

So, be honest, when is the last time you intentionally got yourself on and off the floor?

If you aren't doing this daily basis, you are actually missing out on a huge opportunity to maintain your strength and range of motion as you age. Getting yourself safely onto the floor takes your knees and hips through a greater range of motion than sitting in a chair. 

Beyond the act of getting on and off the floor, sitting on the floor has strengthening benefits as well. Floor sitting forces you to use the muscles of your trunk for support rather than sinking into the back of a chair or couch. And as another side benefit, you're much more likely to keep moving and changing positions while sitting on the floor.

Get stronger and more mobile without even being aware of it?! Yes, with floor sitting this is possible. The options are endless when you're...

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No Time to Exercise? Try This Instead.

Do you understand the health benefits of exercise but have always struggled to maintain a routine?

Or do you not know where to get started in the first place?

If this sounds like you, you are in the right place! 

If you struggle with exercise, it's possible to get more movement in your day with a few simple adjustments to your surroundings. And to illustrate this point, I will start with a story about a broken kitchen appliance.

What Your Kitchen Appliances Have to Do With Your Exercise Habits

About a month ago our food processor broke. Panic ensued. It was a much-loved kitchen appliance, one that we use daily for dishes like pesto and hummus. 

Rather than running out to buy a new one, however, we decided to see what would happen if we didn't replace it. At least not right away. It seems like an unconventional choice when we live in a world where we can replace anything instantly, but stay with me here. 

We used a little creativity to find ways to accomplish the...

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What You Need to Know About Your Low Back Pain

Are you one of the millions of people living with chronic low back pain?

Have you been told by a medical provider your pain is due to arthritis? That you have the spine of an 80 year old? Or there is nothing that can be done about your back pain?

If so, you aren't alone. And unfortunately, what is often left out of this discussion is the fact that aging of the spine is perfectly NORMAL. Yes, it's not even abnormal to start to see signs of arthritis on imaging as young as age 30.Arthritic changes within your joints do not automatically lead to chronic pain and limited quality of life. 

So, what gives and where is your back pain really coming from?

Why You Are Really More Likely to Experience Back Pain With Age

Age causes an increase low back pain for a variety of other reasons. About one in three older adults will experience low back pain. As we stated above, there are normal and expected changes in the spine that come with age include changes in posture,...

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