Shoulder Pain? Look Behind You.

Those of you that have had ongoing shoulder pain will know what a lengthy and frustrating process it can be. Managing shoulder injuries in the workplace may result in considerable time off work and/or extended periods of light duties.

There are many contributing factors to shoulder pain and many components to a successful treatment, once injured. However, a vital (and often over-looked) contributor in avoiding and treating shoulder pain, is thoracic mobility. 

Thoracic spine
Your thoracic spine is the area of your spine between your shoulder blades and is often over-looked in management of a healthy shoulder girdle. 

If individuals are doing repetitive reaching forward, or above shoulder height activities, with lack of mobility in the thoracic spine, it will change the positioning of your shoulder, which, over time, may lead to issues like rotator cuff injuries, bursitis and neck pain.

In the last week alone I have had multiple conversations regarding shoulder problems: a  manager that has shoulder pain due to a golf addiction, a friend that hurt her shoulder at the gym and a worker from a boning room at a meat works with a painful shoulder. In all instances I suspected reduced thoracic spine mobility was a significant contributing factor.

Examples of other activities where shoulder injuries are common:

  • Working on a process line
  • Picking orders and stacking pallets
  • Stacking shelves
  • Swimming
  • Driving

So, if you’re putting together an injury prevention or warm-up programme in the workplace, or trying to manage your own personal shoulder issue, don’t forget to address the thoracic spine as well. 

HERE is a video demonstrating one simple exercise you can start with. As always, work within your comfort level. 

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