why do my shoulders hurt when i run
Poor posture and tensing your shoulder muscles can lead to aching shoulders and inefficient jogging mechanics or arm swings. Upper body misalignments and shoulder injuries can contribute to shoulder pain and aching as well. Treatment includes rest, ice and anti-inflammatory drugs to control pain and inflammation, and stretches to improve posture. For further guidance, consult your physician. Your arms move opposite of your legs during jogging when your right arm swings forward with your left leg and your left arm swings forward with your right leg. This helps to provide stability and a smooth gait pattern. For example, a 2008 Washington University study found that muscles of your upper back, neck and shoulders stabilized the upper body during jogging and arm swings, preventing excessive side-to-side shoulder rotation. Misalignment of your upper spine or weak and tight muscles can cause poor posture such as slouching forward and can increase the stress placed on your shoulders during arm swings. For example, tight chest muscles can pull your shoulders forward, straining the muscles and tendons behind your shoulder. Overtime this causes inflammation, muscle spasms and achiness. A misalignment of your upper or cervical spine can also impinge nerves, which may lead to shoulder pain and numbness or tingling. Untreated cervical misalignment can develop into cervical arthritis or a herniated disc, impairing shoulder function and further aggravating your shoulders.
Overuse of your shoulders and surrounding muscles may lead to injury and achiness as well. Injuries include tendinitis, bursitis and impingement syndrome, which is when tendons are pinched around your shoulder. Injuries and wear and tear can also lead to shoulder arthritis or degeneration of your shoulderвs cartilage. As you move your arthritic shoulder, the bones rub together causing bone spurs and shoulder pain. Although arthritis may be present in both shoulders, shoulder injuries are more likely to afflict only one shoulder at any given time. In some cases, shoulder pain or achiness is referred pain and indicates a serious problem unrelated to your shoulder. Heart disease or a heart attack, gallbladder disease and other conditions affecting various organs can result in referred pain in your shoulders. With referred pain, movement of your shoulder does not solicit more pain. Instead, the stress placed on your cardiovascular system and the jarring movements of jogging may aggravate these conditions or problems. If referred pain is suspected, seek immediate medical attention. Otherwise, rest, ice, and take anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to alleviate aching. Perform stretches for your chest, shoulders, upper back and neck to improve joint alignment and posture. A physical therapist, massage therapist or chiropractor can also help improve the function, flexibility and alignment of your shoulders. Surgery may be necessary for severe arthritis and injuries.
When you return to running, focus on maintaining proper upright posture with your back straight and keeping shoulders relaxed during arm swings to avoid shoulder pain.
is a sport that uses your legs. That s pretty obvious. So when I was training for my last and started noticing that my shoulders and neck were sometimes sore the day after I went on long runs, I was confused. It made sense for my lower body to feel all the work, but it didn t seem right that logging miles would take a toll on my upper body, too. Turns out, feeling this neck and shoulder discomfort during or after running is a sign that you re letting your posture slip. Every step you take a on a run can be considered a rep, and if a runner finds herself in a compromised upper body position, it comes as no surprise that tension in the neck and shoulders build as the reps add up, , of , tells SELF. Just like we have the tendency to hold , believe it or not, this can also become a problem while we run. Harper says the most common form mistakes that lead to neck and shoulder discomfort are slouching, jutting your head outward, and rounding your shoulders forward and elevated toward the ears. If you ve ever tried to run a little more than you re completely comfortable with, it s likely your form has suffered a bitвwhether it was enough to cause discomfort or not. Sometimes people feel it in their lower backвif the core and hips aren t able to support the sustained running motion, your pelvis may rotate and end up putting pressure on your lower back.
Others, like me, notice it in their neck and shoulders. Harper says there are a few factors that can lead to this poor positioning, but the most likely culprit is lack of flexibility in the upper and middle spine (called the thoracic spine) and internal rotator muscles of the shoulders. Tightness in these areas will pull an individual out of their ideal running posture, she says. The good news is that targeting and improving flexibility can help you assume and maintain proper posture throughout your runs, staving off neck and shoulder aches. Below, she demos some stretches that you can tryвshe recommends doing them after a run, at least three times per weekвto improve flexibility and release tension in your neck and shoulders. And when you go out for your next run, do a quick posture check. Focus on keeping your shoulders back and down and away from your ears, pinch your ribcage down toward your hips, and let your arms swing freely while your fists point forward. Remember, your arms should be used to counterbalance your stride, not to produce force, Harper says. If you start to feel anything in your neck or shoulders, do a quick body check and tweak your positioning. Lie face up with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and mid-back on a foam roller. Begin by crossing your arms over your chest and rolling up and down 2 inches at a time, being sure to hit both the left and right sides of your back.
To increase pressure anywhere you feel needs some extra massaging, bridge your hips toward the ceiling when the roller is in that spot. Repeat with your arms overhead and thumbs pointed down toward the floor. Do this for 2 minutes total. Lie on one side with that arm extended, thumb pointed toward the ceiling. Place the foam roller at the side of your ribcage, approximately 5 to 6 inches below the crease of your armpit. Push into the floor to roll up, down, and side-to-side 2 inches at a time, until you reach the top of the armpit. Do this for one minute, then repeat on the other side. Lie on one side. Rest on your bottom elbow and bring that arm in front of your body. Push your arm down toward the floor while maintaining shoulder positionвdon t let it roll forward. Do for one minute. Repeat on opposite side. Lie face down. Look down at the ground to keep your neck in a neutral position. Start with both hands behind your back, palms facing the ceiling, elbows lifted off of the floor. Straighten your arms, slowly raising them overhead while hovering approximately 4 inches off the floor. Your palms should rotate toward the floor about halfway through the movement. Reverse action to return to start. Do 10 reps. Katie Harper is wearing Under Armour Strappy Sports Bra ($30, ), Asics leggings, and Adidas UltraBoost sneakers ($180, ). You May Also Like: 8 Tricks to Help You Run Faster
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