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Shoulder Pain? Skip the Bench Press

The bench press is a great way to build strength and power. The problem is, even when done correctly a serious injury is possible and some in some cases likely. Read below to find out why.

The shoulder is one of two ball and socket joints in your body (your hip being the other). This means that the joint is capable of going through 360 degrees of motion (think of a golf ball sitting on a golf tee, that’s your shoulder.) If you can picture that analogy, you can see how the shoulder is an inherently unstable joint.

What does all this have to do with the bench press? Theoretically, If you have balanced, symmetrical shoulders you are less likely to have a serious injury. This does not include the majority, however. If you look around the room right now you will likely see many people slumped over their phones, shoulders and head forward. This rounded shoulder posture unfortunately represents many of us to some degree. With the shoulders pulled forward there is insufficient room for the rotator cuff muscles to pass under the acromion, leading to an impingment, or possible tear. Bio-mechanically, the barbell bench press fails from the get go. In a barbell bench press your shoulders are fixed in one plane (due to the bar), this means that your body cannot even compensate to avoid impingement. That pain you feel in your shoulder during the movement, don’t ignore it!

If you love to bench here are a few recommendations that will help you avoid injury, and actually get stronger!

  • Get adjusted! majority of us lack extension in our back, this motion is necessary to avoid shoulder impingement.
    Try starting out with some light, high repetition pectoral fly’s. This will allow for a more dynamic warm-up, stretching and activating the muscles.
    Stretch your pecs regularly
    Strengthen your back using exercises like the seated row.
    Avoid barbell shrugs

If you are experiencing shoulder pain don’t wait, call or schedule online now: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

3 Gym Exercises to Avoid if You Have Shoulder Pain

This weeks blog post is inspired by a question I get frequently. “What exercises should I avoid for my shoulder?”Shoulder injuries are extremely prevalent in an athletic population. I would bet everyone knows someone who deals with chronic shoulder pain. Often times, the exercises we are doing can aggravate that condition making it worse, and more likely to undergo a more serious injury such as a tear.

What makes shoulder injuries so common? First off, the shoulder and the hip joint are two of the most mobile joints in your body, allowing for all ranges of motion. This also means that they can be quite unstable in many people. Much of this instability comes from muscle imbalances from poor, or improper posture. The forward drawn, rounded back posture wreaks havoc on your shoulders. The space needed for the rotator cuff muscles to pass through the subacromial space becomes too small, leading to friction, tendonitis, and eventually a tear. Whats more, the rounded shoulders locks down the joints in your neck and back. Since the scapula sits on the thoracic cage there is a direct correlation. With no extension present in you thoracic spine it is impossible for you to raise your arm above your head impingement free. Certain gym exercises can exacerbate this problem making it more likely for you to be seriously injured.

Avoid these 3 exercises and increase the health and longevity of your shoulders:

1.) Flat Barbell Bench Press: Many people with shoulder injuries find that they have more pain when doing chest press than shoulder press. Barbell bench press is an unatural movement and for those with tight, immobile shoulders can lead to a serious injury.

2.) Smith Machine Shoulder Press: Since the bar is set on a fixed path it leaves no variability for changes in movement which will cause potential compression of the shoulder tendons.

3.) Barbell Shrugs: Many people have developed rounded shoulders due to lifestyle as discussed above. carrying any amount of weight in front of your body is only going to further contribute to compression leading to injury.

We have helped many people recover from shoulder injuries. If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder don’t wait, call or schedule online today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Effective Relief for Golfer’s Elbow

Summer is upon us and that means a lot of Golf for many people. The problem is, many people have done little all winter in terms of exercise. This leads to deconditioning, and often times injury.

Tendinitis is one of the most common musculoskeletal ailments. I am sure many of you have experienced tendinitis at some point, many of you are probably dealing with it as you read this. Medial (Golfer’s Elbow), and lateral (Tennis Elbow) account for many tendinitis injuries. Medial epicondylitis also known as “Golfer’s Elbow” results when the muscles that flex the forearm and wrist (inside of the elbow) become irritate and inflamed due to over-use or repetitive motions such as swinging a golf club. Even simple activities such as typing or yard work can contribute to the condition. In many cases, the condition is caused by lifestyle (exercise, yard work, computer work, etc.) Repetitive motions can cause the muscles to continue to be inflamed and irritated. Without treatment this could lead to a more serious injury such as a tear.

What are the symptoms? Characteristically, most patients present with pain on the inside of the elbow and forearm. This pain may be sharp at times, patients often report burning, numbness, or tingling around the area as well. Grip strength weakness, swelling, or elbow stiffness may also be noted.

What is the recommended treatment? At initial onset, if swelling and heat are noted ice may be advised to reduce swelling. I typically recommend making the switch to moist heat after the first 24-48 hours. For chronic cases, heat is recommended. The first goal of treatment is to decrease pain and increase range of motion. Secondly, we want to strengthen and balance the muscles. This is accomplished by a combination of manual therapies including electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and manual therapy. Instrument Assisted Soft-Tissue Manipulation (IASTM) is a highly effective, specialized treatment for tendinitis. This procedure works by stimulating local inflammation triggering a healing response on a cellular level, to produce normal, healthy collagen and promote healing.

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort don’t wait, call or schedule online today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Chiropractic: An Effective Treatment for Tension Headache’s

I would bet that most of us have experienced a headache at one point or another. The location and symptoms however can tell you a lot about the source of the headache and most importantly what you can do to fix it. As a Chiropractic Physician I see a lot of headache complaints. Headaches can vary from cluster type (most severe), which cause severe pain usually behind the eye, to migraines, and tension type headaches.

Tension type headaches rank as the most common among adults. in fact, more than half of all adults will develop tension headache’s at some point in their life. These headaches are characterized by a dull aching pain in the back of the head, neck, or forehead. Some patients will report that it feels like someone is squeezing their head. There is no known familial incidence for tension headaches unlike other types; they are usually a product of lifestyle.

What causes them? Poor posture and stress are two of the many causes. Many note that the headaches will begin during certain activities such as computer work, slowly building as the day progress’s. Due to many of our sedentary lifestyle’s and technology many of us have developed muscle imbalances in our neck, back, and shoulders. These imbalances slowly build overtime leading to conditions such as headaches, tendonitis, and low back pain.

What can you do to fix it? These imbalances are mechanical in nature and require some intervention (earlier the better!). When addressing tension headaches it is important to address both the muscles and the joints. One of the main culprits in the development of tension headaches is that of the suboccipital muscles. These are a tiny group of muscles attaching the skull to the upper cervical spine responsible for movements of the head. When muscle imbalances develop the overactive muscles (such as the suboccipital group) become irritated, and inflamed. This inflammation causes fascial restrictions (think scabs) on the muscles sheath not allowing for adequate movement and position of the muscle. A combination of specific soft-tissue work, and spinal manipulation is the perfect solution for tension headaches. By freeing the fascia, we may then release the joints allowing us to restore normal biomechanics immediately relieving tension!

If you are experiencing headaches don’t wait, give us a call today: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

Fix Your Posture- Part 4

If you have not been following a long I have been discussing the beginning stages of what some may consider as an epidemic; “postural syndrome.” I have now  addressed three very important groups of muscles that are necessary for proper postural alignment.  If you missed these posts simply click on the links to catch up (click here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

Continuing in our quest for great posture, today I will talk about an often over-looked sourced of rounded shoulders; the pectorals. The pectoral muscles are better known as the bench press muscles as they are responsible for adduction of the arms, and humerus. The pectoral group (composed of a major and a minor) also help to move the scapula anteriorly and inferiorly against the thoracic wall allowing for smooth motion. The pectoralis minor is of most concern as it directly attached to the scapula (shoulder) and ribs. This will serve as a perfect lever to pull those shoulder into a rounded position distorting the curves of your spine and placing abnormal stress on the muscles of the back, shoulder, and neck.

The pectoralis minor serves as a secondary breathing muscle that may be recruited in those that are deconditioned. The muscle lies in close proximity to the Thoracic Outlet, which is a small opening in your neck and shoulder where the nerves of your spine exit to innervate your limbs. When shortened this muscle may serve to close down that space creating an impingement on the nerves exiting the spine. This is commonly marked by tingling, numbness, discoloration, or coldness in the hands.  It is in your best interest in other words to be sure that this muscle is of adequate length and not causing any impingements!

Click Here to learn the #1 stretch for short, tight, pectorals!

 

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com