Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Home Exercise and Rehab

December 2012

 

Gina John Gina John is a Pilates Practitioner and Registered Osteopath who has spent many years offering help and advice, especially to the over 50 age group.

She is founder of The Osprey Clinic in the St. Johns Wood area of London and now specialises in Home Exercise and Rehabilitation Programmes. For further advice on exercising safely, and a selection of exercise films for general fitness and medical conditions, visit the website: www.home-exercise-rehab.com


 


 

This month: exercises to help alleviate tired and stiff shoulders

 
Q: My shoulders have felt very tired and stiff after carrying shopping bags or after household chores. Will exercise help to resolve this problem? 


Shoulder pain which occurs with increased activity may arise either from the shoulder girdle muscles and joints directly, or from neck problems.

Many people assume that arthritis is causing their shoulder symptoms, but arthritis is more prevalent in the weight-bearing joints and the spine.

Shoulder symptoms commonly arise from the a group of muscles named the Rotator Cuff, or their tendons, which are susceptible to degenerative changes, and lead to shoulder pain and mobility problems.

Tendon degeneration generally occurs from repeated minor injury and damage to the fibres which make up the tendons connecting the rotator cuff muscles to the upper arm (humerus) and the shoulder bone (scapula). Tight muscles and joint imbalance leads to reduced blood flow and altered mechanical forces, increasing the risk of small tears forming in the tendons. However, around 30% of people in their 60s have these tears with no pain or noticeable weakness in their shoulders.

Biceps muscle connects to the front of the shoulder joint and may become inflamed when the shoulder girdle muscles are not working efficiently or may strain with sudden lifting or pulling movements. So, caution is required especially with lifting heavy bags and luggage.

Posture is the most important determinant of the efficient functioning of the muscles and tendons in the shoulder region, as this enables muscles to maintain their correct length and operate the joint efficiently. Rounded shoulders from carrying heavy bags incorrectly or extended computer usage are commonly responsible for the development of shoulder pain and acute shoulder conditions, such as tendinitis and frozen shoulder.

The upper part of the Trapezius muscle inserts into the shoulder blade and collar bone as well as the head and neck, so neck problems may quickly result in muscle imbalance or referred pain in the other shoulder girdle muscles. Degenerative changes in joints of the neck commonly affect how we turn the head and this leads to shoulder hunching. Additionally, inflammation and the mechanical effects of arthritis may irritate of nerves which run from the neck to the shoulder muscles, causing pain and muscle imbalance.

A daily programme of shoulder strengthening and stretching exercises will help to maintain correct posture and balance of the shoulder girdle, so that the muscles are more able to cope with increased activity or carrying.

 

Shoulder Strengthening Exercises

Neck Rolls
Sitting up straight and in a semi-circular action, take your left ear down to the tip of the shoulder, then lower you chin towards your chest. And finally, move your right ear towards the tip of the right shoulder. Then repeat, in reverse. Repeat 5 times.
Dumb Waiter Exercise
Sit or stand with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and keep them tucked into your waist while you open out your forearms, as far as you can without arching your back. By tensing your abdominal muscles it will help to keep your back straight. Keep pressing your shoulders down while you repeatedly open and close your forearms. Repeat up to 20 times, twice daily.
Dumb Waiter Exercise
Press Up at the Wall
Stand facing a wall with your arms straight and palms pressed against it. Slowly bend your elbows, inclining your body towards the wall and stretch your elbows to stand straight again. Keep tensing your abdominal muscles to support your back and press your shoulders down throughout the exercise. Repeat up to 20 times, twice daily.
Press up against the wall
Back of Shoulder Stretch
Take the right arm across your body, supporting it with the left hand. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, and repeat the stretch to the left arm. Repeat 2-3 times daily or whenever muscle tension occurs.
Front of Shoulder Stretch

Front of Shoulder Stretch
Clasp your hands behind the body and pull back your arms until you feel a stretch across the chest, shoulders and arms. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times daily or whenever muscle tension occurs.

Back of Shoulder Stretch

See all Gina's Home Exercise and Rehab features


Please send your questions for future columns, or feedback, by email to Gina John on info@home-exercise-rehab.com



Back to Laterlife Health
Back to Laterlife Today

 


 

    Keep in touch with everything happening in Laterlife Today!

    Subscribe to our free monthly email newsletters for the latest articles, offers and events. You can unsubscribe at any time should you want to.

 


Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

Tell us your hospital experience

Tell us your health experiences

Want to comment on this article or ask other laterlife visitors a question?

Then visit the comment section of the Later Lifestyle Network, click on the 'Discussion Tab' (you can't see this until you are logged in) and create a new topic or add your views to an existing one. 

 

feeling Good

Feeling Good

The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

Looking to the future

Looking to the future

Tell us about what you would like to see here on laterlife.com in the future or any changes you would like to see. Just email views@laterlife.com
 

Latest articles

To view the latest articles click on laterlife interest index. To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature at the top right of the page.
 
Back to Laterlife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site

Bookmark


Advertise on laterlife.com



LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti