Exercising Through the Pain: An Orthopedic Surgeon’s Perspective

The old advice about resting up after an injury has largely been discarded by now, replaced by a more robust set of guidelines designed to maintain flexibility and bone mass. No longer do athletes spend a few months convalescing after a knee or shoulder injury; in many cases they are back to rehab and exercise within a matter of days.

But every injury has its own origins, and sometimes the worst mistake you can make is to go too fast too soon. Comprehensive advice is needed for active people who want to stay strong without injuring themselves. This article provides a nice start.

Along with some good exercise recommendations for the knee, back and wrist, it includes this sane paragraph on what to do when you are experiencing chronic shoulder pain:

“Concentrate on upper back and scapula exercises,” says Edmond Cleeman, a surgeon at Manhattan Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group who specializes in knees and shoulders. “Most concentrate on just chest and arms. Upper back muscles are critical as they control the scapula—which is part of the shoulder! So: Do machine rows, single arm dumbbell rows, reverse flys, TRX, and avoid pull-ups—they can aggravate the shoulder.”

And if you want an even more complete treatment and recovery plan for shoulder pain in San Diego? Contact my offices here.

Shoulder Pain 101

Shoulder pain is common, but that doesn’t mean that it is welcome or harmless. Many active people experience some pain in the shoulder following hard lifting, vigorous exercise, or injury. Typically this pain will resolve on its own, but some deeper injuries come with persistent pain that never seems to improve.

This article lays out a nice tiered primer on shoulder pain, including when it can be ignored, when it must be treated, and when shoulder surgery is the most viable option. This passage gets to the heart of diagnosing chronic pain:

Pain at night or pain not improving with therapy after 4 weeks are red flags. Pain radiating down the arm or up to the neck or to the back are also worrisome for injuries not just in the shoulder but sometimes of the neck. These injuries need to be worked up with careful physical exams, x-rays and MRIs. A full tear of the rotator cuff often will present with night pain, since when you roll over you push the arm up into the socket through the rotator cuff tear. Pain radiating down the arm or up to the neck can sometimes be from the discs in the neck or the nerves at the front of the shoulder called the brachial plexus [12]. Instability of the shoulder, with the shoulder popping in or out of the joint is another area that is best treated with early repair of the torn ligaments.

As a San Diego orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder pain, I offer a wide suite of surgical options for patients who can no longer tolerate the agony of restricted motion and shoulder discomfort at play and at rest.

If you’d like to schedule your own sports medicine exam today, contact the shoulder pain experts at AOSM.