Injuries aren’t exactly a rare thing – pains and aches all over your body are so common that they become normal. Your muscles may be sore or your joints may be in pain because of overtraining, but since you’re reading this, you’re probably a weightlifter or a bodybuilder and you have a higher tolerance to pain than most people.
The tricky thing is to tell the difference between normally occurring pain and harmful, abnormal pain that might indicate a deeper issue. A lot of people seem to think any pain will just go away and keep training through it, but that’s not the case most of the time, and one of the most critical areas of your body are your shoulders.
Injuries caused by incautious shoulder exercises are common if you do your exercises wrong. One of these injuries is shoulder impingement (subacromial impingement syndrome). This happens when your supraspinatus muscle rubs against the acromion process which results in a lot of pain. This muscle gets pinned down between the top of your humerus bone and the acromion process, which is a protuberance of bone from your scapula out over the top of your shoulder.
There was a scientific study by Kolber et al. researchers that used a pool of 46 recreational lifters and discovered that over 25% of them felt pain in their shoulders within the past three days, and over 75% of them experienced a form of shoulder pain over the past year. Also, 20% of the people in the lifting group of the study tested positive on the ‘Painful Arc’ and ‘Hawkins Kennedy’ shoulder impingement tests, while only 4.8% of the control group received these results.
After comparing and doing a statistical analysis of the results, the researchers discovered that there was a close link between shoulder pain and doing lateral raises and upright rows over 90 degrees. Also they came to the conclusion that there was a strong inverse-association between shoulder pain and strengthening your external rotators. So, when people did exercises that worked on external rotation, the pain went down. These exercises are the ones where a joint moves away from the midline of your body.
To prevent this from happening, you need to know what its causes are and it has been revealed that the main cause is lifting your elbows above your shoulders while doing lateral raises and upright rows. If you’re doing these exercises in this fashion, stop that immediately! That’s the first step towards stopping the destruction of your shoulders and starting their improvement.
The second step is making your external rotator stronger. If your pain persists, get a physical therapist with experience in lifting and ask them for help to determine where the problem comes from. After that, you will need to take some corrective action to stop whatever is going on in your shoulder. Search for a proactive, preventive solution to your shoulder pain problems because they won’t just go away – you have to stop them before they stop you.
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REFERENCE: Characteristics of shoulder impingement in the recreational weight-training population. J Strength Cond Res 28(4): 1081– 1089, 2014