Nagging Injuries and Changing Habits

454with Eric Keene, PT, DPT, CSCS

I couldn’t be happier to start working with the Elite Health Services team. My love for movement goes back a long way. Professionally, I started as a Strength and Conditioning Coach training athletes. I became a Physical Therapist for many reasons – one of which being the athletes I was training always seemed to have some kind of old, cranky injury that we always had to train around. I wondered how we could get rid of these nagging injuries. By continuing my education to become a Manual Physical Therapist, I came to discover that managing these achy knees, inflamed shoulders, and pinching hips (to name a few) are far more manageable than I once thought – and it starts with doing a little detective work into your everyday life.

For example, let’s say you never really had a real debilitating shoulder injury, but still have pain when reaching overhead. You may notice it when simply reaching up to a high shelf in the kitchen, pressing something heavy overhead, or even seemingly randomly times. So, why is there pain with reaching or pressing? You never really hurt it before. Likely reasons could be:

  1. Determining if reaching overhead hurts, or HOW you reaching is actually causing you pain
  2. Restricted muscles, fascia, joint, or neurovascular structures.
  3. Inefficient timing of muscles to dynamically stabilize the shoulder when reaching.

One of my favorite things to do is to help patients answer these questions and determine the main driver of their symptoms. It often isn’t just one thing; rather, a combination of all them. But to start, it’s helpful to be mindful of which activities aggravate the injury, and pay attention to how you’re performing them.

Try this next time you go to reach or press overhead – this is basically a “core” exercise for your shoulder:

Scapular setting for postural correction:

  1. Slightly shrug your shoulder blades up towards your ears
  2. Rotate your shoulders outward so that your pinkies face forward
  3. Let your shoulder blades come down towards your back pockets
  4. Let your hands rest at your sides

See today’s HOW TO Video below on Scapular Setting ]

This repositioning and activation of your small shoulder stabilizers can help make overhead motion more efficient. This leads to less stress on irritated tissues, resulting in less pain.

Simple changes prior to reaching and lifting overhead can help manage these symptoms in the short term until that learned posture becomes more automatic. Theses changes while a conscious effort at first will develop into an unconscious change in behavior.

Elite Health Services, located in Old Greenwich, (and now Westport!) CT is a world-class provider of certified functional manual physical therapy, personal fitness, golf & triathlon performance training, massage therapy and wellness related services.  Our team of highly skilled and dedicated professionals take a no-excuses approach to providing exceptional care and delivering exceptional results. To learn more 

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