We may be tempted to blame our shoulder pain on the long winter months, but sometimes, there can be more to it than that. In fact, it may not be the weather that’s to blame at all, but our habits.
I would suggest starting off the day with stretching. Think about it. You have just spent the last 8 hours or so sleeping in the same position. This can cause your joints to get a little tight, just as they would if you had been standing or sitting in the same position for a period of time. That’s why it’s recommended to stretch 7-10 minutes per day, but even just a little bit of stretching when you wake up can make a difference.
Limiting the amount of time you spend on a screen can help as well. Too often when looking at our devices, we hold our heads down at a strange angle that our neck wasn’t designed to be in for extended periods of time. Try, instead, to only use your phone for about 8-10 minutes at a time and hold it directly in front of you. Use portable stands for tablets and e-readers, and place computers on a hard surface. This will allow you to look at the screen straight-on, rather than by tilting your head at an odd angle, and will keep your ears in line with your shoulders, which is the position our head and neck were actually designed to be in.
Reading at night can also cause a lot of shoulder pain. Reading is an excellent activity and a great habit! However, a not-so-great habit is that of bad posture while reading. This bad posture usually originates from struggling to hold the book upright while laying in bed or on your couch. Holding any size book for large amounts of time can tense up certain muscles in the neck, eventually leading to neck and shoulder pain. Try to only stay in the same position for 15 minutes at a time. I’m sure you’ll notice a world of difference!
Finally, begin to pay attention to when the shoulder pain occurs to help pinpoint the problem. Notice if it occurs more often after carrying a heavy purse or backpack, running errands, or sitting at your computer for hours at a time. From there, you can check your posture focusing on making sure you are looking straight ahead and that your ears are in line with your shoulders whenever you are participating in that activity.
Oliver Patalinghug is the trusted health expert and founder of the Metro Detroit's Leading Specialist Private Practice Physical Therapy for people in their 40's, 50's and 60's who want to keep healthy and active.