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Common Shoulder Injuries & How To Avoid Them
- Updated: January 8, 2016
Anyone who has put their gym time in can attest to shoulder pain. It is unavoidable and comes with the territory so the best that you can do is take some precautionary measures and hope your threshold for pain is high.
First of all, stretching is imperative for delts. Even on days that you’re not actually training them, they are a secondary muscle that will come into play while working your other body parts. Another smart move is to do a few warm-up sets before a working set.
Now here is a word of advice when it comes to the order of movements – hit your rear delts first before doing a more taxing movement like presses. (Thank you for this, Mr. Gregg Valentino!) Performing a lighter and isolated movement like rear delt raises will get you prepared for those difficult presses, a movement that too many people go heavier than they should (which is another issue in itself).
Jumping right into a pressing movement has led to many a rotator cuff tear. If any of you have had a rotator cuff injury, it can be debilitating and keep you out of the gym for an extended period of time. Surgery aside, you can cut down on the weight being used or modify the exercises to keep the pain and discomfort to a minimum, but it will eventually become one of those things that you have to get used to and live with.
But that can also become an even bigger issue, because once there is some type of injury, arthritis will begin to set in and cause even more pain and stiffness, and also cut down your range of motion. So let’s say that you decide to go under the knife and have that tear repaired. The arthritis will still be present and you will have went through all of that and still have problems.
Most athletic people have ‘osteoarthritis,’ which is from normal wear and tear over the years of lifting weights. The articular cartilage begins to wear away and you start to suffer a ‘bone-on-bone’ scenario. The cartilage wearing away some or even entirely decreases the protective space between the shoulder joints.
Some orthopedics suggest cleaning out the shoulder arthroscopically to increase the space, but that may be only a temporary solution.
For non-surgical suggestions, you can eliminate the movements (in the gym and out) that cause more pain, attend physical therapy to improve your ROM, take aspirin or ibuprofen, cortisone injections, moist heat, ice and even taking supplements like glucosamine and/or chondroitin, which may help relieve some pain.