Functional Shoulder Rehab – Shoulder Pain From Working On A Computer
General Note: This video is designed primarily for people who are currently experiencing shoulder pain or discomfort. The focus is on things you can do right away to start making your shoulder feel better. This information is not a substitute for seeing a doctor or rehab professional, especially if you have significant shoulder pain.
1. Causes of Shoulder Problems – People who sit all day during their job have a high risk of developing back and shoulder problems. The main problem is the lack of movement during these jobs and this causes tension to build up in muscles. The sitting position tightens hips, back (lower and upper), and shoulder muscles, which leads to muscle fatigue, overuse, imbalances, and ultimately decrease of function and pain.
2. The point of pain is rarely the only problem – When it comes to shoulder pain, the problem usually starts in another area of the body and travels to the shoulder after other muscles become overworked. With desk jobs, the mid/upper back is often the place to start with rehab. The arm can be problematic as well, especially if you have a computer job and use a mouse all day. However, even in these situations, the back is still a major problem.
3. Loosen up the back – If your back is tight, other parts of your body will become tight as well. Most people carry tension in their mid/upper back and neck, especially when they sit for long periods of time. Additionally, many people need to improve the muscular control of their back muscles, especially the postural muscles that keep you from slouching.
4. Scapular Retraction – Practice squeezing your shoulder blades together without raising your shoulders or tensing your arms. Start with your arms at your sides and progress to your arms out in front, then add resistance when you can do it well. When your arms are in front of you, you should be able to squeeze your shoulder blades together without bending your elbows. This is also a good way to loosen up tight back/shoulder muscles while sitting during work.
5. Loosen the Neck – A tight shoulder, neck, and back often go hand in hand. Once the back muscles are looser, it’s easier to loosen up the neck muscles. Stretching is the main tool to loosen up tight neck muscles.
6. 3 Neck Stretches – These are incredibly effective stretches, when performed correctly. That said, chances are one or two of the stretches will be more effective than the others, depending on which muscles are tired/overworked. Start off light and gradually increase the stretch. Stretching the neck too intensely can injure neck muscles and cause a significant amount of pain.
7. Make an effort to get up and move around or stretch throughout the day (ideally every 15-30 minutes). Even if you are only up for small amounts of time, it’s much better than staying seated for an extended period of time.
8. Doing exercises and stretches is a major part of the rehab process, but you have to change the behaviors that caused the problem in the first place, if you want to keep the problem from coming back.
9. Basic rehab approach is start to with exercises that increase range of motion, muscular control, and work supporting muscles. As supporting muscles and areas close to the shoulder get stronger, start including exercises that directly target the shoulder. As always, if any exercise hurts or feels uncomfortable, don’t use it.
10. You can use exercises you are already familiar with, just use very light weight. Prioritize control, technique, and endurance over strength, especially during earlier parts of rehab.