What’s Causing Your Shoulder Pain? 3 Common Reasons Why Your Shoulder Hurts

Shoulder Pain

What’s Causing Your Shoulder Pain? 3 Common Reasons Why Your Shoulder Hurts

The shoulder is an important part of your body for several different sports. It is used to make a free throw, swing a club, serve a tennis ball, or pass a football for the winning touchdown. If your shoulder becomes injured, it could greatly impact your physical performance. Common injuries and conditions (such as frozen shoulder, osteoarthritis, or a rotator cuff tear) can place drastic limits on your life. Fortunately, physiotherapy can help by providing natural and non-invasive pain relief. For more information on how our treatments can help with your shoulder pain, call NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness in Winnipeg, MB today!

Are these conditions causing your shoulder pain?

The shoulder is an incredibly flexible part of the body, due to its complex arrangement of bones, cartilage, soft tissues, and friction-reducing sacs known as “bursae.” When any part of this complex and delicate system becomes damaged, the entire shoulder can experience pain. Some of the most common conditions resulting in shoulder pain include:

  • Frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder can occur if the shoulder has experienced prolonged immobilization, such as being in a sling following an injury or surgical repair. When the shoulder doesn’t move for extended periods of time, the connective tissues within it can become thick and stiff. Anyone can be affected by frozen shoulder, but diabetics have a higher risk of developing it.
  • Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions your joints begins to diminish, due to “wear and tear.” This can happen either as a result of old age or excessive overuse. The extreme demands of athletic training, competitive sports or a previous injury can hasten this process, as well. When the cartilage wears down, the bones begin to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
  • Rotator cuff injuries. The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles that allow your shoulder joint to rotate in all directions. The rotator cuff can become damaged from excessive repetitive motions, such as those in swimming, tennis, baseball, or golf, causing micro-tears in the tissue. The injury can become worse with time if left untreated, causing the damage to accumulate, and the pain and inflammation to worsen. Immediate tears are also possible, which can result in severe pain.

How can I treat these conditions?

Physiotherapy is a safe and effective way to treat shoulder pain. It can provide relief, improve shoulder function, and may even prevent the need for invasive surgery. At your first appointment, your physiotherapist will evaluate your pain patterns, range of motion, medical records, and lifestyle habits in order to determine the best treatment plan for you. Afterward, a personalized combination of passive and active therapies will be created for the needs of your condition. Your treatment plan may include, but is not limited to:

  • Moist heat exercises, to boost circulation and ease inflammation.
  • Doorway stretches, lawnmower pulls, reverse fly exercises with light weights, and side-lying external rotation exercises with light dumbbells. These will restore strength to a damaged rotator cuff.
  • Pendulum stretches, cross-body reaches, armpit stretches, and fingertip walks. These will relieve the stiffness of a frozen shoulder.
  • A combination of shoulder stretches, light aerobics, and shoulder-strengthening exercises. These will enhance blood flow to the shoulder and help manage the pain of osteoarthritis.
  • Passive techniques, such as massage therapy, ultrasound therapy, or other non-invasive methods. These will relieve pain and promote healing.

If your shoulder pain has been limiting you from achieving your physical goals, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness today. We’ll help you get back on track to living the active life you want, free from pain!

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How the Addition of Carbs Can Improve Your Active Lifestyle

Anyone who lives an active lifestyle knows how important physical activity is to maintaining that sense of well-being. However, you also know how much energy it takes to maintain that lifestyle – workout routines, athletic training, competitions, injury rehabilitation exercises, and even the non-stop pace of your everyday life can take a lot out of you. That’s why carbohydrates are so important.

When your body uses energy, it first turns to carbs. If you’re working hard at the gym or in physical therapy treatments, it is important to fuel up on carbohydrates in order to reach your goals. For more information on how a physiotherapist can help guide you in your carb intake, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness in Winnipeg, MB today.

Why are carbs so important?

To understand the importance of carbohydrates, you must first understand what they are. Carbs are identified as organic molecules comprised of equal parts hydrogen, oxygen, and water. They can also be split into two separate categories: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates are also known as simple sugars. Sugar is a fast-burning fuel that your body absorbs quickly. When you are in need of immediate energy in large quantities, your body will burn its simple sugars first. These carbohydrates will increase your body’s natural insulin levels until they are burned off.

Complex carbohydrates contain larger chains of sugars, but unlike simple carbs, they also contain fiber. Complex carbs burn much slower and steadier than simple carbohydrates, allowing insulin levels to increase less dramatically.

Both simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates can post different benefits depending upon the activity in which you are participating. For example, if a sprinter needs to burn a large amount of energy in less than a minute, simple carbs could help significantly. Conversely, endurance athletes who partake in steady, long-term activities will benefit more from the slow-burning complex carbohydrates. Whatever the case may be, carbohydrates can assist you in getting where you need to be for your physical goals.

Why cutting carbs isn’t ideal:

Any unwanted extra weight can undoubtedly hinder your active lifestyle. It not only slows you down and lowers your physical function, but it can also result in long-term effects to your weight-bearing muscles and joints.

Carbohydrates that go unused end up getting stored away as fat instead, which is why many people decide to cut out carbs when they are trying to stay fit. However, a physiotherapist will tell you that carbohydrates should be a plentiful part of your diet! Carbs are good for heart function, brain activity, and other physical processes. Additionally, cutting out carbohydrates from your diet will force your body to burn protein as a substitute fuel source. This can result in reduced muscle mass and an overall sluggish feeling.

Carbs can enhance PT treatments!

If you’re in a physiotherapy program for restoring injured tissues, boosting your muscle strength, or improving your range of motion, carbohydrates can help! If your physiotherapist prescribed active exercises, such as walking/running on a treadmill, swimming, or cycling, your body will need enough glycogen (blood sugar) to remain energetic and stay on track.

Because of this, your physiotherapist can advise you on how you should prep with meals before your physiotherapy sessions; for example, consuming 1 gram of carbs per kilogram of your body weight for each hour of activity. Your physiotherapist may also suggest adding additional carbs to your post-workout meal (in addition to muscle-building protein) because your body will still be burning fuel after your workout is complete.

Carbs can help you achieve the most out of your high-energy tasks or physiotherapy sessions. To learn more about how participating in proper dietary practices can help you achieve optimum results, contact NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness today and schedule an appointment!

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4 Simple Ways to Feel Better by Strengthening Your Core

Have you been suffering from persistent pain? Are you trying to get your body vacation-ready? Do you want to shake the sluggish feeling that’s been dragging you down? Whatever the case may be, core exercises can help. These simple and classic techniques have been practiced by athletes for years and are a great way to quickly increase your body’s core strength.

If you are recovering from an injury or beginning these core strengthening exercises for the first time, it would be in your best interest to consult with a physiotherapist beforehand. Engaging in strenuous exercise can do wonders for your body, but it can also do harm if your body is not ready for it. A physiotherapist can also advise you on correct techniques, providing you with the appropriate adjustments for safely performing these exercises.

Once you’ve received the go-ahead from your PT, you can begin performing the exercises listed below. For the best results, begin by completing these exercises 5 times each. As your core strength increases, your repetitions will be able to increase, as well. Consult with your physiotherapist before you increase your repetitions to the 15-25 range.

1. Plank

The plank is one of the most efficient core strengthening exercises used by athletes everywhere. It is a great way to warm up by engaging your core muscles: the internal and external obliques, the hip flexors, the rectus abdominis, the transversus abdominis, the erector spinae, and multifidus.

  1. Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows directly below your shoulders. Make sure your forearms are parallel to one another, at about a shoulder-width distance apart.
  2. Lift yourself into a horizontal position by balancing yourself on your forearms and toes, making sure to squeeze your glutes to allow extra support for your body.
  3. Utilize your leg strength in order to keep yourself upright. The position should look similar to a pushup, except you’ll be balancing yourself on your forearms instead of your hands.
  4. Maintain your neck and spine neutrality by looking at a spot approximately one foot beyond your hands.
  5. Stay in this position for as long as possible, without compromising your form. Aim for 15-60 seconds per rep, depending on your level of physical ability. Make sure to take slow breaths the entire time.

2. Abdominal Crunch

This exercise can feel intense if you’ve been on a workout hiatus. However, it is an exceptionally successful exercise for increasing core strength and endurance.

  1. Lie down on your back with your feet placed flat on a wall. Make sure your hips and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles and glutes by squeezing them. Place your arms across your chest, rather than behind your head, in order to avoid neck strain.
  3. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Hold for three deep breaths.
  4. Resume your starting position and repeat.

3. Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your rectus abdominis and obliques. Much like the abdominal crunch, this one may feel sore if you haven’t exercised in a while, so start off slow.

  1. Lie down with your back flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head, with fingers intertwined. Make sure you do not pull on your neck.
  2. Raise your knees to a 45-degree angle in the air. Slowly start making a “pedaling” motion, as if you are riding a bike.
  3. As you “pedal,” bring your elbows to your knees, so that your right elbow meets your left knee and your left elbow meets your right knee.
  4. Repeat without sacrificing your form or losing your breath.

4. Bridge Exercise

Bridge exercises help to strengthen and stretch your abs, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles. It is also a common rehabilitation exercise for core improvement and spinal stabilization.

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Place your arms flat near your sides.
  3. Engage your abs and glutes by squeezing them. Slowly lift your hips to create a straight line between your knees and shoulders.
  4. Hold the position for 15-60 seconds per rep, depending on your level of physical ability. Or, you can hold until you begin to lose control of your body.
  5. To increase intensity, lift your feet so that only your toes are touching the ground. Afterward, you can alternate so that only your heels are on the ground.

It is normal to anticipate a few challenges before beginning new core strengthening exercises. You’ll be working out muscles that have remained stagnant for an extended period of time. It is perfectly fine (and recommended!) to start off slow, as long as you consistently continue your exercises.

For more information and insight on how core strengthening can benefit you, contact NRG Athlete Therapy Fitness today. One of our experienced physiotherapists can provide a full physiotherapy evaluation and exercise plan for your specific needs!

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