Shoulder pain is a common complaint we encounter in osteopathic practice, affecting a wide range of patients, from athletes to office workers. While osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) offers a powerful approach to alleviate these conditions, lifestyle changes can supplement osteopathic care for a more effective, long-term solution.
So, in line with osteopathic philosophy, which emphasises the interrelationship between the body’s nerves, muscles, bones, and organs, we present five lifestyle changes that can enhance shoulder pain management.
1. Exercise Regularly, But Wisely
The Importance of Choosing the Right Exercise
Exercise is a cornerstone of osteopathic medicine, fostering overall body balance and a strong musculoskeletal system. Coupled with osteopathic treatments like manipulative therapies, the right exercise can enhance treatment outcomes, making your healing process quicker and more effective.
The Safe Choices
Low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, or yoga are generally safe choices that can help strengthen your shoulder and surrounding muscles. Additionally, specialised shoulder exercises designed to improve flexibility and strength can provide targeted relief and improve function. Always consult your osteopathic physician for a tailored exercise regimen, particularly if your shoulder pain is a chronic issue.
2. Adopt Proper Ergonomics
Your Workspace Matters
Your environment plays a surprisingly significant role in your shoulder health. Sitting for long hours at a desk with poor posture can worsen your shoulder pain. Ensure your chair, desk, and computer monitor adhere to ergonomic standards: your computer screen should be at eye level, feet flat on the floor, and arms comfortably resting on armrests.
Beyond the Desk
Ergonomics extend beyond your office setup. Consider your driving posture, how you hold your phone, or even how you read a book. Incorrect posture in these activities can gradually contribute to shoulder pain and should not be overlooked.
3. Manage Stress
The Mind-Body Connection
Stress has a remarkable ability to manifest as physical discomfort. When stressed, your muscles, including those in your shoulder, tend to tense up, aggravating existing conditions or even creating new areas of discomfort. Stress management is, therefore, a critical aspect of pain management.
Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and even simple mindfulness practices can be effective stress reducers. Try to take short breaks during your day to stretch, walk, and breathe deeply to manage stress better. If stress management remains challenging, professional help from psychologists or counsellors can provide further guidance.
4. Maintain A Healthy Weight
The Extra Load
Carrying excess weight doesn’t just affect your cardiovascular health; it burdens your musculoskeletal system. This added weight increases the force exerted on your shoulder joints and muscles, which can worsen existing conditions or even create new problems.
A Balanced Approach
In addition to osteopathic treatments for shoulder pain, diet plays a critical role. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains provides essential nutrients that can help you manage your weight and potentially alleviate inflammation, a common symptom associated with shoulder pain.
5. Make Sleep A Priority
Why Sleep Matters
Sleep is when the body undertakes most of its repair processes. Missing out on quality sleep can disrupt these processes, thereby increasing pain perception and potentially slowing down the effectiveness of any treatments, including osteopathic ones, you may be receiving for your shoulder pain.
Furthermore, poor sleep can actually exacerbate pain, creating a vicious cycle. The more your shoulder hurts, the worse you sleep, and the less sleep you get, the more sensitive you become to pain.
A mattress and pillows that provide proper spinal alignment can make a significant difference. When your spine is aligned, there is less chance of experiencing shoulder strain during sleep.
Experiment with different sleep positions to find one that alleviates your shoulder pain. Specialised pillows that provide extra support for specific sleeping positions can be a helpful investment. Consult your osteopathic physician for personalised recommendations that align with your treatment plan.
Managing Shoulder Pain The Right Way
Managing shoulder pain is a multifaceted approach that benefits from a combination of medical treatment, lifestyle adjustments, and holistic care. While osteopathic shoulder muscle pain treatment can provide immediate relief and long-term healing, implementing fundamental lifestyle changes can enhance your treatment’s effectiveness and contribute to your overall well-being.
Incorporating regular, low-impact exercise, focusing on ergonomics, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, and optimising your sleep environment are vital strategies for effective shoulder pain management. As with any medical condition, always consult healthcare professionals for a diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan to help you live a more comfortable, pain-free life.
Get Shoulder Pain Treatment At Healing Hands Osteopathy Today
Don’t let shoulder pain hold you back any longer. For personalised, holistic treatment plans that address the root cause of your pain, choose Healing Hands Osteopathy. Our team of experienced osteopathic physicians is dedicated to helping you live a more comfortable, active, and fulfilling life. Get in touch to book an appointment with us today.