• A Great Exercise You Should Do if Experiencing Shoulder Pain

    November 28, 2021 | By Tony Yong

    A Great Exercise You Should Do if Experiencing Shoulder Pain

    Do you ever find yourself dealing with shoulder pain? Keeping our shoulders healthy can be a challenge. But, as we get older, we can find ourselves trying to understand better how to keep aches and pains at bay.

    At Innovation Physical Therapy, we find ourselves treating patients with shoulder pain regularly.  In doing so, we realize that there is value in understanding ways to prevent unnecessary shoulder pain. So we’ve put together some information to help better people avoid or recover from shoulder problems.


    How Often Are You Moving Your Arms Overhead?

    When considering this question, many of us may not be doing it that often, outside of putting away some dishes in a top cupboard. This is because so many things we do daily keep our shoulders at our side, such as driving our car, eating, cooking, working on a computer, etc.

    This wouldn’t be a problem in and of itself, but our bodies need to move and be more mobile. We’re not talking about just moving through a small range of motion but through the full range of motion of the joint. Given that the shoulders are the most moveable joint in the body, we need to incorporate more movement.


    Welcome to Overhead Lifting

    Lifting overhead challenges our rotator cuff and engages our shoulder blade muscles, specifically, our serrates anterior (read more about this vital muscle in our blog post here).

    The shoulder press is the most common overhead lifting exercise, and there are many ways to modify the lift if need be. You can use various equipment; anything from dumbbells or barbells to a kettle ball or a medicine ball. When getting started, use something you already have and is easily accessible to do regularly.

    If you haven’t previously lifted overhead, you may find it to be quite a challenge. One way to modify the lift is by taking a couple of small weights and sliding them up the wall (quick tip: make sure to put a sock around each weight so they don’t scratch your wall!).

    If you have a stiff mid-back, you might find it challenging to lift any weight overhead. You can modify this by sitting on an incline and doing an overhead press.  Check out this video as a reference.



    What to Watch For

    Avoid Shoulder Pain

    Avoid shoulder pain when doing the exercise. You’ll likely fatigue rather quickly, which should improve with some practice.


    Avoid Poking Your Chin Forward

    Another common mistake when lifting overhead is poking the chin forward when doing the movement. Instead, focus on keeping your chin tucked in slightly. This will help to keep your neck in a more neutral position.


    Avoid Overarching Your Low Back

    Sometimes when your mid-back is stiff, you’ll find yourself arching your low back more to compensate for a stiff mid-back.

    An efficient and easy way to bring quick relief to a stiff back is foam rolling. You’ll want to check out our article on how to use a foam roller here.


    What’s Next?

    Our goal with this article is to encourage individuals to take care of their shoulders by taking time to lift overhead a little more every day. Plus, with very little equipment, you can begin moving your shoulders through full range without any fancy equipment.

    If you find lifting overhead a challenge or painful, we recommend you contact one of our physiotherapists for a thorough evaluation of your shoulders. We have six clinics located throughout Edmonton & Sherwood Park, including RiverbendMeadowlarkBelvedereNamao, West Henday and Sherwood Park.

    If you have any further questions, contact Innovation Physical Therapy today. We’re here to help you, “Love Getting Better!”


    Do you want to learn more about Shoulder Therapy? Read more about it here: