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Why Does the Front of My Shoulder Hurt?
The front of your shoulder (shoulder blade) is like a pair of scissors: it cuts across your body and through bone, muscle, tendons and ligaments. When you have a problem with this area, it’s called rotator cuff dysfunction or RDD. A common cause of RDD is overuse injuries such as overhead pressing exercises.
RDD is a very common problem among athletes. Some studies show that up to 50% of Olympic weightlifters suffer from RDD.
However, most people don’t realize they’re at risk for RDD because there are no good tests to diagnose it. There isn’t even any test yet available for detecting RDD early enough to prevent injury. That’s why I’m writing this article!
What Causes Rotator Cuff Dysfunction?
There are several causes of RDD. These include:
Genetics – Genetics plays a big role in RDD. If you’ve got a family history of RDD, then chances are you’ll develop it yourself.
Other factors include genetics, age, gender and training style. For example, if you train heavy overhead presses often but not other movements, then you’re more likely to get injured than someone who does the opposite.
Age – Age is a factor in RDD, although studies are inconclusive as to why. One theory is that your tendons naturally stiffen with age, causing problems with the shoulder.
The “Mermaid Syndrome” – This is an interesting one. Some people who suffer from RDD find relief from swimming due to the fact that the water supports the arm and takes stress off of it.
This condition is called the “Mermaid Syndrome”.
Preventing Rotator Cuff Dysfunction
The best way to treat and prevent RDD is to make sure that you’re training your entire shoulder girdle evenly. This means that you need to do the same amount of pushing, pulling and overhead pressing (but not necessarily with weights).
You should also stretch before and after your exercise sessions.
Some people believe that avoiding any kind of overhead movements is the best way to prevent RDD.
Bent Over Rows – Works the Lateral Deltoids (side of the shoulder).
Lateral Raises – Works the Lateral Deltoids (side of the shoulder).
Front Raises – Works Anterior Deltoids (front of shoulder).
Military Press – Works the entirety of all four deltoids (front, side and rear delts) and the Trapezius muscles (upper back).
You’ll notice I didn’t include pulling movements for the back. This is because there are plenty of pulling movements that you’re already doing in the form of chin-ups and pull-ups.
If you need extra back work, then add on a few sets of back extensions or glute-ham raises.
As for stretches, I didn’t include specific ones because you should be doing those before and after every workout (I hope you are, at least).
What to Do If You Already Have It
If you have RDD, then you need to focus on stretches and rehabilitation exercises. This could take a long time, but if you’re dedicated, you’ll get there.
A good routine to start with is my Rotator Cuff Healing Routine.
I created this routine after doing tons of research on the fastest way to heal a rotator cuff injury. The best part is that you can easily do it from home!
Once you’ve got the routine down, you’ll be able to do the following:
Shoulder pain will decrease and range of motion should increase.
Strengthen your rotator cuff muscles and prevent other issues from arising.
You’ll be able to return to your favorite activities quicker.
I highly recommend doing this routine 2-3 times per week until you can comfortably do it every day. Once that happens, you can switch to just doing it twice per week.
Just one last thing…
Don’t try to push through the pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.
If rehabilitating your shoulder doesn’t work or the pain comes back, make an appointment with a physical therapist or doctor right away. The last thing you want is to make things worse or cause long-term damage.
Prevention is always better than a cure. If you take the proper steps to care of your body now, then you’ll be able to enjoy all your activities for years to come without pain or worry.
You’re not going to just be some regular guy anymore. You’ll be a jacked badass that women want and men envy.
You ready to get started?
You got this!
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Well I’ve covered everything you need to know about rotator cuff injuries. It’s an extensive topic, but I hope I hit all the main points for you.
I can’t tell you how much it means to me.
Thank you and talk to you soon!
Matt Alfano, Owner of YouGottaLift
Plus, if you haven’t downloaded your copy of the Gymlife Starter Guide, you can do that by clicking on the image below!
Sources & references used in this article:
Shoulder brace traction system by TM Sawa – US Patent App. 11/710,566, 2008 – Google Patents
Protective shoulder pad by ER Biggs Jr, GD Busenburg – US Patent 3,504,377, 1970 – Google Patents
Shoulder harness for vehicle occupants by PW Stumm – US Patent 2,634,802, 1953 – Google Patents
Shoulder pad construction by RM Rasmussen – US Patent 3,166,760, 1965 – Google Patents
Shoulder guard by TJ Hartman – US Patent 1,600,410, 1926 – Google Patents
Neck, chest and shoulder protector by JD Fair – US Patent App. 07/480,200, 1992 – Google Patents