Lately I’ve seen several patients complaining of shoulder strains. They’re most prevalent among regular exercisers, but for some reason, there’s been an uptick in the past few weeks. Shoulder strains are usually associated with pushing movements such as bench press, push-ups, overhead presses, etc. Since these injuries can be common, I want to talk about managing them.

In Office Treatment

My method of treatment varies based on the nature of the injury, what tissue is irritated, and if there’s inflammation contributing to the pain. Generally speaking, most patients will benefit from solid shoulder rehab/prehab, strengthening, and mobility training.

I typically start with some soft tissue manipulation of the surrounding areas. Based on the amount of work needed, I will refer to our massage therapists for more focused and dedicated work. I then utilize myofascial release, pin and stretch, and vacuum cupping if appropriate. 

Chiropractic manipulation is beneficial for the recovery process. Pain can be modulated by restoring motion and stimulating mechanoreceptors and stretch-reflexes. I start by checking the glenohumeral joint (the shoulder) and scapular (shoulder blade) movement before moving on to the thoracic spine. All three areas need to be functioning and cooperating for optimum shoulder health and mechanics. 

Strengthening the Shoulder

Although the treatments mentioned above can provide relief, it’s important to focus on lifting technique to prevent future injury. Pulling movements are often neglected in most training programs. Although pulling movements may be included in a training program, the ration of push to pull is often skewed. Considering how forward dominant our everyday movement is, we MUST incorporate more pulling movements for muscle balance. 

My history collegiate football, bodybuilding, powerlifting, and strongman allows me to understand lifting technique in a way that other providers may not. If you’re experiencing shoulder strain, book an appointment and we’ll assess your form and technique to get you out of pain as soon as possible.