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Shoulder Pain?

September 9, 2011

At some point in your life, you will likely will run into some type of shoulder pain.  The most common diagnoses of shoulder pain in the general population are tendonitis, bursitis, and impingement as a result of overuse.  Physical therapists are trained to assess the patient’s condition and treat the cause of the dysfunction, not just the symptoms.  Shoulder pain can be caused by muscle imbalance, abnormal movement of the scapula (shoulder blade) and shoulder joint, hypermobility of the shoulder joint, hypomobility of part of the shoulder joint, to name just a few.

You might be wondering, what does shoulder pain have to do with core exercises?  Quick anatomy review:  your shoulder blade is connected to your spine and your arm by several muscles.  In order for your arm to move freely and not rub against the undersurface of the acromion (part of your shoulder blade), those muscles need to operate in a specific rhythm.  If the group of muscles that connect the shoulder blade to the spine are weak and stretched out, this can result in a forward shoulder posture which can adversely affect the rhythm and movement of the entire shoulder complex.

I’ve mentioned before, you must have Stability before you have Mobility.  The stability in the shoulder comes from the scapula and all the muscles that attach to it.  There are numerous core exercises that require adequate scapular stability in order to perform correctly.  Some of them would be inappropriate for people with current shoulder pain.  The old adage, “no pain, no gain”, does not apply to shoulder injuries (90% of the time).  If it hurts every time you reach up, or throw, or swing at a ball, I would recommend taking a break, and scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist right away.  There are specific “rehab” exercises that you need to do.

For those of us who are looking to prevent shoulder pain, here are a few core exercises that require scapular stabilization and strength from the rotator cuff.


Plank on SB with Movement I, p. 36

Plank on SB with Marching II, p. 56

Prone Walkout with Pike, p.60

Plank with 1-arm DB Row, p.69

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