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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Hvasta, DPT

Injury prevention: Protect your shoulders

We often forget how important our shoulders are to us until they hurt. (Courtesy Photo)

We often forget how important our shoulders are to us until they hurt.

The shoulder is a versatile joint, having the unique ability to move in three dimensions. The shoulder is actually made up of four different joints with the vast majority of movement occurring in the glenohumeral joint. This is the upper arm bone (humerus) area that articulates with a lot protrusion of the shoulder blade (glenoid process of the scapula). This joint is responsible for more than two-thirds of the shoulder’s motion. The remaining motion occurs in the scapulothoracic, acromioclavicular and sternoclavicular joints, with most of this motion occurring in the scapulothoracic joint.

You may have heard of someone who has dislocated or separated his/her shoulder, torn a rotator cuff muscle or had rotator cuff tendonitis—the list can go on and on. Our shoulders are extremely valuable, but there is a myriad of conditions that can shut the shoulder down and limit our ability to work and engage in normal daily activities.

Keeping the shoulder strong and flexible will help to protect it and keep it injury free. Learning to use sound techniques will minimize your exposure risk to shoulder injuries. Here are a few exercises that will help:

Shoulder Blade Squeezes: Sit or stand up straight, gently squeeze your shoulder blades together holding for five seconds and repeating five times.

Chest Stretch: Sit or stand up straight, with your arms out to your sides and your palms up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your arms back. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat three times.

Supraspinatus Strengthening: Lay on your stomach with your forehead on the floor and arms at a 45 degree angle over your head. Lift your arm and hold for two seconds and repeat 10 times.

Postural Exercise: Stand at attention, tuck your chin, pull your shoulders back, stick your chest out and arch your lower back slightly (military posture). Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat five times.

Minimize overhead lifting and activities and always try to face the direction you are reaching. Avoid lifting things behind you. Many people have torn a rotator cuff muscle by reaching into the back seat of their car and lifting a package they thought was “light.” Protect yourself, be wise and use good posture and positioning to minimize the risk of injury.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, please call your local NovaCare Rehabilitation center today.

Call your local NovaCare Rehabilitation center or visit today for more healthy tips and tricks.You can contact Samantha Hvasta, DPT, manager at NovaCare Rehabilitation located at the Blueberry Crossing Plaza at (609) 561-5308 or visit


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