Shoulder Pain Relief

Photo credit: Jhong DizonSince I spend a lot of time at my desk working on a computer, I end up getting some shoulder discomfort which, over time can lead to considerable pain.

From what I can tell, it’s a series of micro-traumas to certain shoulder muscles as a result of the wholly unnatural activities that come with computer work.

I tried a number of things to resolve this including various chiropractic and massage modalities over the years.

In the end, I found a couple of things lead to more improvements than others. So I’m noting them here on the ole blog.

Of course, these are just my anecdotal experiences and your results may vary.

The improvements came in the form of two main things: an exercise and a couple of nutritional points.

Exercise

Ever since we started popping out kids (we have 5), I realized going to the gym was too time consuming, but I still needed to exercise. So I found myself attracted to routines I could do that were quicker and more effective than the traditional workouts and could be done at home.

So when my shoulder started giving me trouble, I wanted to find something I could do which would fit that model and help my shoulder a bit more.

A friend of mine turned me on to kettle bell exercises.

What’s a kettlebell, you may ask? They look a bit like canon balls with handles.  Here’s a set:

kettlebells

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my opinion, one of the best exercise for shoulder pain relief with kettle bells is called the Turkish Get-up.

It has a “lengthening and strengthening” quality, which I find to be excellent and more useful to me than the typical weight lifting which often lead to more tightening than stretching.

This exercise takes a bit of practice before you want to use actual weights (aka: do them “naked” or weightless), but it’s worth the perseverance.

Plus, you may get some immediate relief even doing them “naked”.

The thing that’s amazing about this exercise is that, while it’s great for the shoulders, you end up doing something that builds up the whole body at the same time. It also counteracts so much of the negative stresses put on the body by desk/computer work–if you do it right.

If you’re like me, you want to get right into the thing and try it.

I’d recommend watching this short Youtube video which breaks it down pretty well and then giving it a go. Take it slow. To get the best result you need to pay attention to technique.

If you think you’d like to become very good at this routine and add it to you workout, I’d highly recommend a video by Grey Cook. It’s pricey but is extremely specific about how to do this exercise in a way that saves you future injury and makes you super strong (since you’ll be able to keep adding weight over time).

Kettlebells from the Ground Up
The Kalos Sthenos
With Gray Cook, RKC and Brett Jones, Master RKC
Manual co-authored with Dr. Mark Cheng, RKC Team Leader

Here’s a short video of Grey Cook and Bret Jones giving some background on their video set.

If you’re serious about restoring function, strength and symmetry to your entire body, I’d highly recommend adding the Turkish Get up to your routine by acquiring their full video set and working through their videos a little each day. Following their advice made a huge difference for me and I know I’ll be doing this routine until my body is old and grey.

Nutrition

This will be a bit quicker to describe.

The goal is basically reducing/eliminating inflammation.

Hands down the most inflammatory foods are actually a class or family of foods called “nightshades”.

The nighshades family includes the following commonly eaten plants:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Tobacco
  • All forms of peppers (but not black pepper)

These plants are known to be culprits in quite a few diseases, such as arhtritis, fibromyalgia.

They can also cause people who are prone to back pain or any other kind of inflammation a lot of trouble, usually unbeknownst to them.

Those foods are in almost everything we eat these days and personally I suspect way more people are sensitive to them than realize it.

This is easy to test, though. Just lay off all these foods completely for a month to 90 days and see if you notice a difference.

Chances are, you’ll be shocked at the difference, if you’re experiencing any sort of chronic inflammation.

The other thing you want to stay away from completely is sugar.

Sugar is a major factor in inflammation. You can ask any functional medicine doc about this and they will validate that statement. It’s very well known.

Sugar is also in way, way more foods than people realize. It’s in many forms now, like high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose,  etc. It’s all sugar and therefore inflammatory to one degree or another.

Here’s a link to Huffington Post’s list of the top inflammatory foods, of which sugar is one.

Definitely “food” for thought when experiencing chronic pain (another word for inflammation, basically).

I’m not a doc and don’t even play one on or off TV. But my own experiences have brought me to the above conclusions when it comes to shoulder pain relief.

My only reason for posting it here is to help others who may be experiencing shoulder pain and might find it helpful in their own process of self-discovery.

Good luck and I hope this helps!

 

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