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  • Writer's pictureJesse Lewis

How to Deal With Shoulder Pain

If you are dealing with shoulder pain, we know how much of a drag it can be on your day to day or your exercise routine.


We’ve helped hundreds of people with shoulder pain so we know it can be pretty frustrating and affect a lot of different parts of your day. Whether it’s affecting your sleep, your workouts, driving, just reaching for things, or another part of your day, it can be tough to deal with it.


On top of that, most medical advice is super negative and will tell you that you have arthritis, a tear, bad posture, or that you just have to live with it. We’ve heard this over and over again from people we’ve helped. The good news is that you don’t have to live with shoulder pain!


Everyone’s shoulder pain is completely different and needs a very individual approach. But, there are some general tips and answers to questions that we’ve found to be helpful to a lot of people dealing with shoulder pain. Some of these might be very different from what you’ve heard before, but it’s all backed by research and also by all the stories of people with shoulder issues who have recovered. 


Imaging doesn’t mean pain!


This is the number one thing that we want people with shoulder pain to know. Way too often people with shoulder pain get an X Ray or MRI and it shows something and they think that means they will always have pain. Did you know the majority of us walking around have something that will be found on an MRI but we’ll never have shoulder pain? Even better, even if we find something on an MRI, it can still get better! I still remember a few years ago I had someone come in with shoulder pain that had a total of 6 tears in his shoulder (all 4 rotator cuff and 2 labrum tears). He was scheduled for surgery, but within a couple of months he was able to get back to his workouts with his personal trainer and golf and had 0 pain. He was able to avoid a pretty massive surgery and still works out to this day. So, if he can recover with that MRI, so can you!


Make sure you check your neck


I can’t even count the number of people with shoulder pain that we’ve helped who weren’t able to be helped elsewhere because we took a deeper look into their neck. Even if you don’t have neck pain, your shoulder pain can often be at least partially coming from issues at your neck. Especially if you’ve had pain for quite a long time, I would almost be willing to bet you a coffee that we would find something in your neck that we could work on that would help your shoulder. So, if you’ve been frustrated for a while, I would make sure whoever you see for your shoulder takes a really close look at your neck.


You don’t have to stop exercising!


This one is near and dear to our heart because it’s our company mission and vision. We are obsessed with helping people stay active. So it crushes our soul when people with shoulder pain are told to stop going to the gym or stop lifting. There are hundreds of modifications you can do in the gym, in yoga, in pilates, or almost anything else you do. So, instead of completely stopping the exercise you like, we can just modify a few things and give you more options instead of taking options away from you. And, sometimes continuing to workout is actually one of the best things you can do for your shoulder. 


There is so much more that can be done about shoulder pain, but since your shoulder is different from every single other person’s shoulder, it needs a different approach and there is no one size fits all answer. These are some of the most common tips that we give, though. While all three probably don’t apply to you, I’m hoping that at least one is helpful.


If you learn nothing else, I hope you learn that your shoulder can get better and that you don’t have to live with it, let it stop you from doing what you want to do, or think that it will be a lifelong thing. It can get better!


If we can help in any other way, please feel free to reach out anytime. Our company mission is to keep people in the DC area active and exercising and to take the fear out of pain so if there’s a way we can help you do that, we’d love to!



If you're looking for help with shoulder pain, we're here for you! Feel free to email us at info@districtperformancephysio.com, contact us here, or text/call us at 202-922-7331.

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