Shoulder PainWatched a mom pass by the other day at our local outdoor mall and had to resist the urge to rush up to her to advise her to stop what she was doing.

I knew that she would be very sore and bone-tired later in the day if she did not make some adjustments to how she was carrying about her business.

But then people are not very hospitable to total strangers giving them a lecture on shoulder strain prevention.

She had her two year old over her right hip and her right arm holding the child in place, a large diaper back on the left shoulder and a cell phone to her left ear held in place by her left shoulder. Recipe for sore shoulders for sure.

Most of the joints in your body move in a hinge-like fashion. The closest analogy to that in daily life would be the motion of opening or closing a door. Not so for the shoulder joint. Your shoulder can actually turn in all directions.

The ability to maintain this level of flexibility in the shoulder comes at the cost of stability. It is relatively easy to dislocate your shoulder or rip one of the tendons there (the rotator cuff).

After the lower back, the shoulder is probably the next most injured joint in the body. I know of orthopedic surgeons who make a good living doing nothing but shoulder surgeries.

You are not completely useless with a sore shoulder but it greatly limits what you can do. Even grooming your hair becomes a painful ordeal.

Here are 5 things to change in your day-to-day life to get more mileage out of your shoulders:

1. Position yourself in a way that keeps you elbows by your sides when using the keyboard or texting on your phone.

Having the elbows pulled out while typing will cause you shoulder pain over time.

2. Lighten up your purse, will you. You can move heavier items to a carry-on with wheels.

3. Be careful with the amount of weight you carry on those shoulders. Lugging on your adorable 40 pounder takes a toll on your shoulders over time, that’s what strollers are for.

4. When doing weight training exercises, DO NOT hyperextend (fully drawn out) your elbows. Maintain a flexion of at most 120 degrees when weight training with dumb bells or kettle bells.

5. Do not break an impending fall by stretching out your hands as you would be prone to do by instinct. Assume a fetal position by rolling up like a ball and letting the fall happen.

Yes you will experience some embarrassment from the fall but you would have protected your head and saved your shoulder from bearing the brunt of the fall on an outstretched hand.

Maybe you are past the prevention stage and your shoulder is hurting as we speak. Keep the shoulder strain prevention pointers in mind and take a look at the video below.

There are several videos on You Tube on the subject of shoulder strain or rotator cuff exercises. Went through a bunch of them so you don’t have to and found this video to be the best of the bunch.

The shoulder therapy exercises this guy demonstrated (don’t mind the spandex) is precisely what the physical and occupational therapists use when treating your shoulder strain.

The Shoulder Strain/Rotator Cuff Exercise Video is available to Logged In Healthgist members only.

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About the author


Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.


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