Could some of your everyday habits be contributing to your shoulder pain? Looking at your daily routine, it can be hard to see what you are doing wrong in your everyday movements or tasks because, well, it’s your daily routine.
Your daily routine is so well known to you that it can become second nature to read before bed, look at your tablet or go out for a round of golf or a game of pickleball on the weekend.
What if I told you that all of these could be making your shoulder pain worse? That all these movements cause unnecessary strain on your shoulders, leaving you in pain the next day and beyond?
Here are some tips for easing shoulder pain in your day-to-day routine…
Tip #1 Stretch first thing in the morning
When you wake up don’t forget to stretch. I know this is something we say often at Balance Within Physical Therapy but it’s because stretching can often be underestimated.
Imagine this, someone has been in the same position for roughly 8 hours, without much movement. Would you think that they would need to stretch afterwards?
I bet your answer would be – yes! Exactly.
You may have woken up but your joints haven’t yet. It’s like going for a run without warming up. So with this in mind, stretch before you get up. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, it’s better than doing nothing.
Tip #2 Limit your Phone or Tablet time
Did you know that looking at your phone or tablet is one of the worst culprits for shoulder pain. Yes, looking at your phone or tablet can have an effect on your neck as well, but the pain often starts at the neck and spreads to your shoulders.
I understand that you may need to check emails on your tablet, or are very popular on your phone but with many of us spending hours on our devices, it interrupts our body’s natural state.
Since your head is facing down, using these devices can result in poor posture and slouching. Your head weighs between 5 and 10 pounds. When you are looking down or hunched over, your shoulders are straining to control those pounds which can lead to shoulder pain.
What most people don’t know is that your head is supposed to be in a position where your ears are in line with your shoulders.
As soon as you start looking down, your body is more likely to feel a strain in the neck and shoulders.
My advice on this would be to only use your phone for about 10 minutes at a time to avoid strain. As for other devices, now we have cases for them that can sometimes provide stands for tablets and e-readers! Perfect! Try to set the stand so that your device is at eye level. That way your eyes do the adjusting, not your head!
Tip #3 Adjust your reading or book position
This also goes for reading at night too. I understand that reading at night or anytime during the day may be a habit picked up as a child, which is a great habit to pick up. For your body however, it can sometimes have an effect on your posture.
Shoulder pain from reading can come from your posture or position. Getting comfortable in your favorite chair or in bed is the perfect setting for your next great novel but it can develop into neck and shoulder pain. Your arms and shoulders may be tense from holding the book and looking down while reading. Your neck may also be tense from holding your head in a slight downward position – Remember your head weighs over 5 pounds – that is a lot of weight to support.
Putting a pillow or two underneath your arms as you read will bring the book up with the goal of your eyes moving and not your head.
Now think of how long you read for. How many times do you say, ‘just one more chapter’ before you finally drift off? Reading is a fantastic habit that provides so many benefits and as an avid reader, I really love this habit so I would recommend to continue reading but to only sit in the same position for up to 20 minutes.
Another great way of thinking about your shoulder pain throughout the day is to think about when it occurs. Is it when you tend to carry the shopping, when you sit at work or while you exercise?
If you have an idea when it occurs, then focus on making sure your head is straight and your ears are in line with your shoulders with your shoulders resting back on your rib cage. This is a simple tip that takes a lot to remember, but if you apply it to as much of your daily routine as possible, you will start to see a difference.
Additional Resources to help ease Shoulder Pain
At Balance Within Physical Therapy,, we have helped hundreds of patients just like you who are experiencing daily lower shoulder pain and unable to move freely. We have several great resources for you.
* For more helpful tips and suggestions to help ease shoulder pain, click here to download our FREE tips guide, 8 Ways to Naturally Ease Shoulder Pain, today
* If you want to get some personalized advice, we offer you the opportunity to speak to an expert member of our physical therapy team on a 1-1 basis in our clinic.
In this FREE Shoulder Pain Discovery Consultation, we will discuss your shoulder pain, identify the root cause as well as discuss what natural, drug free solutions are available for you.
* If you prefer to speak with one of our specialists from the comfort of your own home, click here to schedule a private phone consultation today.
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