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Shoulder Problems and Injuries

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Prevention

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. Make sure children and teenagers use school bags and backpacks correctly.
  • 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.

Reduce falls

Keep your bones strong

  • Eat healthy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and dark green, leafy vegetables like broccoli. For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.
  • Exercise and stay active. 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.
  • 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. Drinking alcohol increases your chances of having weak bones (osteoporosis). It also increases your chances of falling.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Smoking increases your chances of having osteoporosis. It also causes problems with the blood supply in your arms and slows healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Possible abuse

Shoulder injuries such as bruises, burns, fractures, cuts, or punctures 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. You may be able to prevent further abuse by reporting it and seeking help.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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