There could be many reasons for upper arm strains, sprains, or shoulder issues, such as unstable shoulder joints, knots, stiffness, stress, arthritis and injuries, e.g. rotator cuff tears (the rotator cuff muscles and tendons gives you the ability to lift your arm and reach overhead).
Shoulder injuries are frequently caused by athletic activities that involve excessive, repetitive, overhead motion, such as swimming, golf and tennis. Injuries can also occur during everyday activities like hanging curtains, and gardening.
Shoulder problems should not be shrugged off, once you have consulted your GP, physiotherapist or osteopath and told that your injury is not serious, you are relatively pain free, and have been given the ok to resume light physical exercise, then correcting misalignment and strengthening the shoulder muscles is key. Here are some exercises that you can do to strengthen your shoulder muscles and prevent injuries.
Purvottanasana – Upward Plank Pose
Purvottanasana stretches the pectoralis major and minor (chest muscles), and anterior deltoids (rounded bit of the shoulder). Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose), hands a few inches behind your hips, with fingers pointing forward. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Exhale, press your feet and hands down into the floor, and lift your hips until you come into a tabletop position. Straighten your legs one by one and lift your hips high without squeezing your buttocks. Press the soles of your feet toward the floor. Lift your chest as high as you comfortably can. Keep the back of your neck long as you slowly drop your head back (keep chin to chest if dropping head back is uncomfortable you).
STRENGTHEN AND STABILISE
Trikonasana – Triangle Pose
To stabilise the joint and reinforce the rotator cuff, you’ll also need to focus on your supraspinatus, the muscle that helps you lift your arms out to the side. Once your arms are shoulder level, your deltoids hold them up, which won’t strengthen the rotator cuffs. Practicing standing poses where you reach the arms out, such as Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), will strengthen the supraspinatus. [Watch demo]
Jathara Parivartanasana – Revolved Abdomen Pose
Lie on your back with your arms in a cactus position (bent elbows). Bend your knees toward your chest until they are directly over your hips and your shins are parallel to the floor. Keep arms and shoulders pressing into the floor, exhale and lower your knees to the right. Don’t worry if your knees don’t come all the way to the floor. Instead, focus on keeping your shoulders grounded. Inhale and bring the legs back to center, and exhale to the opposite side. Repeat five times on each side.
Keeping the back of your shoulders in firm contact with the floor strengthens the back of the rotator cuff, an area that’s commonly weak. This pose is generally safe to do if you’re recovering from injury because your body is well supported by the floor.
DE-STRESS AND RELEASE TENSION
Drop the head to one side, ear toward shoulder (keep shoulders level). Then breathe and relax into the side neck stretch. Gently bring head back to centre and repeat on other side.
Another is to drop the chin toward the chest (keep chest lifting up toward chin), and hold and relax into the back-of-neck stretch, nape of neck stretch and shoulder blades release down.
Garudasana Arms – Eagle arms
A great stretch for your middle, upper back and your neck;
For those of you whom may have limited range of motion in the shoulders, tight upper back, rotator cuff injuries, or carpal tunnel syndrome
Disclaimer: This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance should consult his or her GP.