Shoulder Pain Prevention – Should You Even Be Lifting Overhead?

This article was originally posted on SportsRehabExpert.com by Andy Barker – head physiotherapist for Leeds Rhinos Rugby team in the U.K. This article is about preventing shoulder pain, but also would fit right in with our series on preventing back pain.  Cheating with the spine to create more shoulder mobility is a great way to get hurt. 

In this article, Andy shows a great way to assess shoulder mobility with the spine locked out of the equation.  Enjoy!

by Andy Barker PT

A great quick and easy test to use to clear overhead lifting in rehab/training. Begin seated on the floor, tuck your thumb into your hand, keeping your elbows straight and lower back and head against the wall take your arms overhead to touch the wall behind you.

From this video you can clearly see the subject is able to touch the wall whilst being able to keep the head and lower back in contact with the wall. As a result this would constitute a pass and as a result the subject would be cleared to lift overhead in the gym.

A fail would include inability to touch the wall overhead and/or any visible compensation (usually lumbar extension) needed to allow increased shoulder flexion to occur.

 

I wrote a similar article on wall posture shoulder mobility exercises here:  http://www.elitepttc.com/blog/?p=362.  These are standing exercises meant to address deficiencies in the test above, but they may be a challenge to start with.  Probably should use a supine version like the one below first.  Once your arms hit the floor with good spinal control, then move to the standing versions.