Shoulder Problems and Injuries (cont.)
The following tips may prevent shoulder problems or injuries.
General prevention tips
- Stay in good overall physical shape. Strengthen your wrist, arm, shoulder, neck, and back muscles to help protect and decrease stress on your shoulder. Do stretching and range-of-motion (ROM) exercises for your arms and shoulders.
- Maintain good posture. Stand straight and relaxed, without slumping.
- Warm up well and stretch before any activity. Stretch after exercise to keep hot muscles from shortening and cramping.
- Wear protective gear during sports or recreational activities, such as roller-skating or soccer.
- Wear your seat belt when in a motor vehicle.
- Do not use alcohol or other drugs before participating in sports or when operating a motor vehicle or other equipment.
- Don't carry objects that are too heavy.
- Avoid catching falling objects.
- Use a step stool. Do not stand on chairs or other unsteady objects.
- Use the correct body movements or positions during activities, such as lifting, so that you do not strain your shoulder. Do not lift objects that are too heavy for you.
- Avoid overusing your arm doing repeated movements that can injure your bursa or tendons. In daily routines or hobbies, think about the activities in which you make repeated arm movements. Try alternating hands during activities such as gardening, cooking, or playing musical instruments. Use rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) for home treatment.
- Avoid keeping your arms out to the side or raised overhead for long periods of time, such as when painting a ceiling. If you must do these things, take frequent breaks, and use RICE for home treatment.
- Consider consulting a sports-training specialist if you are a competitive or serious recreational athlete. The specialist can recommend training and conditioning programs to prevent shoulder problems or injuries.
- Make sure your child's backpack is the right size with good support. Carrying heavy backpacks may increase the risk of shoulder problems or injury.
- If you feel that activities at your workplace are causing pain or soreness from overuse, call your human resources department for information on alternative ways of doing your job or to discuss equipment modifications or other job assignments.
- To prevent falls in your home, remove raised doorway thresholds, throw rugs, and clutter. For more information, see Preventing Falls.
- To prevent falls in babies and toddlers, use stair gates to block stairways. Use gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, and use the gates properly. For more information, see tips to prevent falls in babies and toddlers.
Keep bones strong
- Eat a nutritious diet with enough calcium and vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium is found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt; dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli; and other foods. For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.
- Exercise and stay active. It is best to do weight-bearing exercise for at least 2½ hours a week. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. In addition to weight-bearing exercise, experts recommend that you do resistance exercises at least 2 days a week. Exercises that are not weight-bearing, such as swimming, are good for your general health. But they do not work your muscles and bones against gravity and so they do not stimulate new bone growth. Starting these exercises at any age will help prevent bone loss. But if you stop exercising, your bones will begin to thin. Talk to your doctor about an exercise program that is right for you. Begin slowly, especially if you have been inactive. For more information, see the topic Fitness.
- Activity Ideas
- Don't drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day if you are a man, or 1 alcoholic drink a day if you are a woman. People who drink more than this have a higher risk for weakening bones (osteoporosis). Alcohol use also increases your risk of falling and breaking a bone.
- Stop or do not start smoking. Smoking puts you at a much higher risk for developing osteoporosis. It also interferes with blood supply and healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Shoulder injuries such as bruises, fractures, or dislocations may be caused by abuse. Suspect possible abuse when an injury cannot be explained or does not match the explanation, repeated injuries occur, or the explanations for the cause of the injury change. Seek help if:
- You suspect abuse. Call your local child or adult protective agency, police, or a doctor, nurse, or counselor.
- You or someone you know is a victim of violence.
- You have trouble controlling your anger with a child or other person in your care. Resources are available for help.
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