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Pilates for shoulder pain

Shoulder Pain Is Very Common

Shoulder pain is a one of the most common complaints for upper limb pain, and at any given time as high as 20% of the general population may experience pain related to the shoulder. To further stress the importance of proper management, the re-occurance rate of shoulder pain is quite high, with 25% of people reporting previous episodes.

One reason why our shoulder joint has so many injuries and tends to re-occur so often is that it has more movement than any other joint in our body. Our shoulders allow us to reach into the back seat of the car, reach into the top cabinet and scratch between our shoulder blades. Think about how much movement all of that requires! Limitations with any of these movements can limit what we need to do throughout the day like hanging laundry or washing our hair. It may stop you from doing the things you love like going to the gym, swimming, tennis, rock climbing or playing other sports that involve throwing or bowling like cricket.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

There are a number of reasons why you can develop shoulder pain, and not all of them mean that your shoulder has significant damage. The main cause for shoulder pain is known as impingement. In short, this means something along the shoulder joint is getting pinched and causing pain. The main cause of this is changes in the way the arm bone (humerus) and shoulder blade (scapula) communicate with one another. Slight changes in biomechanics of the shoulder can contribute overload of particular structures around our shoulder.

The next major cause of shoulder pain comes from the rotator cuff muscles. This could be in the form of a tear or tendinopathy of the rotator cuff. Although you will often feel better if you just rest, this usually won’t fix the problem because the underlying imbalance is still there so your pain will return when you resume your full activity or sport. The cuff muscles need resistance training and a gradual loaded exercise program to improve and repair, and stretching may be required to restore your correct muscle length.

How Can Pilates Help With Shoulder Pain?

Pilates has been shown to be an effective way of improving pain and function in people experiencing shoulder pain. Pilates uses a variety of exercises to improve shoulder blade (scapula) control, rotator cuff strength, and includes weight-bearing exercises to improve the overall function of the shoulder. More so, it gets your shoulders moving in a pain-free and controlled manner. Pilates allows you to strengthen your shoulders while avoiding painful movements. It can be a great way to progress to more resistance training at the gym as well.

Our shoulders move a lot! Resting the shoulder is not the best form of treatment, and usually only provides temporary relief. We need to get our shoulders stronger and more controlled if we want to fix shoulder issues for the long term. Even just 2 minutes a day of correct shoulder strength exercises can improve shoulder pain, so let’s get those shoulders moving!

If you want to know more about shoulder pain, look up our shoulder related blog posts. Otherwise one of our experienced physio’s or Clinical Pilates physio’s can help you get on the right path to recovery – give us a call on +61 2 9280 2322 or contact us for help.