Shoulder injuries are quite common among people who have very physically active jobs. The shoulder joint has the largest range of motion in the body, which gives it a huge range of functions. But this also means it is very susceptible to injuries, and injuries in the shoulder can take a long time to heal properly.
Often, a shoulder injury occurs because of overuse (repetitive stress injury) – for example, in the case of people who do a lot of heavy lifting at work. Other times, workers’ comp shoulder injuries occur because the worker didn’t lift the item properly. The good news is there are a few ways you can prevent shoulder injuries.
Warming up before working can prevent your shoulder muscles from getting strained. Doing straight arm circles is one of the easiest warmup exercises. Hold your arms out straight from your sides and slowly move them in circles, gradually increasing the width of the circles. A variation of this is to stand with your arms straight above your head instead of out from your sides.
Another warmup exercise you can try is by moving one arm forward while moving the other arm backward. Try to keep your shoulders down while doing this exercise to prevent injuries.
While not at work, you can strengthen your shoulders and rotator cuffs through shoulder exercises a few times a week. Stronger shoulders are less likely to get injured.
While there are many different shoulder exercises to strengthen different groups of muscles around your shoulders, seated rows and lateral pull downs are good places to start. When you are performing these exercises, you should pull your shoulders down and pinch your shoulder blades together to prevent injury.
Another shoulder exercise you can try is doing the scapular stabilizing exercise every day. You do not need any equipment for this. Start by lying on your stomach on the floor. Next, slowly lift your arms as high as you can and hold them for up to 10 seconds before slowly lowering them. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Having a physically active job can build your muscles, but after a shift, they often contract and shorten. This leads to a loss of mobility. Stretching helps lengthen those muscles again. Over the long term, if you do not stretch your muscles, you may permanently lose mobility in your shoulder, leading to injuries.
One exercise you can try is a door stretch. Place your forearms along a doorframe with your elbows about as high as your shoulders. Slowly lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your shoulders and chest. Hold for at least 30 seconds without arching your lower back
You can avoid overusing your shoulders by letting your body rest when you are not at work. Listen to your body. If you notice that your shoulders are starting to hurt after work, consider taking some time off if you can. If the pain does not get better, you should see an experienced shoulder injury doctor because waiting too long can make the injury worse.
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