If you sit at a desk all day, drive a lot, always looking down at your phone. Or if you are a cyclist, swimmer, or an athlete who throws a lot, it’s possible that you have forward head posture and limited shoulder mobility. Because most of us spend a lot of time in a forward shoulder position, our muscles adjust themselves to adapt to this posture.
Anterior deltoid(black) and pectoralis minor(red) are muscles located where your shoulders and chests join. They are responsible for moving your shoulders and scapulas respectively and are supporting a lot of shoulder movements involving internal rotation. With them shortened, it’s hard to place your shoulder in the stable back position.
Give your front deltoid and pec minor a few stretches from time to time, you may find your shoulder issues and neck issues getting significantly better. Relaxing these muscles can improve your shoulder mobility, make it easier to rotate your shoulders back to a firm position, thus maintaining a good posture could also be more comfortable.
Here are some smashing and stretching techniques from our physiotherapists, try these and tell us how they work on you! Make sure you consult a healthcare professional before trying at home, and as always, visit us for the best result.
Anterior compartment smash
This technique reduces stiffness in shoulder and chest. The best thing about it is, the only thing you need is a massage ball, lacrosse ball, or any ball you can find. Find a door frame or a wall, put the ball where your chest and shoulder come together. Place your hand on the side you are working on behind your lower back, grab your wrist with the other hand, and turn body away from the point of contact to fish for the tender spots. When you find one, stay for a few seconds, and apply more pressure by leaning your body against the wall. Once it feels eased off, search a little bit more by going up and down, or rotate in and out. You can also pull your hand a bit further to see if you can get extra pressure on the muscle.
Barbell shoulder stretch
A barbell shoulder smash is a variation of a sleeper stretch. While a typical sleeper stretch is putting your arm at an angle doesn't happen very often in real life. You'll find it way easier to deal with shoulder pain and improve mobilization using a barbell. It’s a bit more aggressive than the ball massage above, so be careful when you start. In a lying position, place a barbell on the front of your shoulder. Use the leg on the same side and the opposite hand to apply downward pressure on the barbell, take this step easy and slow because it could be very sore. Place your arm out 90 degrees from the body, rotate your hand down slowly, try to touch the floor with your palm. At the same time, apply more downward pressure with leg and opposite hand if you need it.
Banded bully shoulder stretch
Use a resistance band attached to a high point above your head. Place the band at your anterior deltoid for some distraction to the shoulder. Lean forward, place your arm you are trying to stretch behind your lower back, and grab your wrist with the opposite hand to lock your shoulder in the back position, rotate your trunk while leaning forward. You can also add some neck stretch and mobilization to get the most of this stretch, tilt your head away from the side you are working on while leaning your body. Try to find the stiff spots by adjusting your hand, or how much you rotate. Hold at the position you can feel a nice stretch for around 20 seconds.
Hope these will help you to put your shoulders in a solid back position. Again, if you have previous injuries or have more than moderate discomfort during the stretches, please visit us or a healthcare professional within your reach. Gook luck!