Key Points About Shoulder Tendonitis
- Shoulder tendonitis is an inflammation of your rotator cuff or biceps tendon. It often results from your tendon being pinched by nearby structures.
- You can get shoulder tendonitis from playing certain sports that require the arm to move over the head repeatedly.
- Symptoms can include not being able to hold your arm in certain positions, and pain or soreness in your shoulder.
- Diagnosis can be made from a health history, physical exam, and tests such as X-ray and MRI.
- Treatment may include rest, medicines, strengthening exercises, ultrasound therapy, and corticosteroid shots.
- Surgery is used for severe injuries or tears.
What Yogis Should Do When Recovering From A Shoulder Injury
Shoulder injuries are common among yoga practitioners. Thus, understanding how your body functions and being mindful of how your muscles and joints work together can help you prevent a variety of injuries.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your shoulder, here are four things to remember before and during your yoga practice:
- Make sure you warm up accordingly
- Make sure your shoulders are properly aligned before getting into any posture that puts pressure on your shoulders
- During your practice, only do restorative and gentle yoga asanas to ensure you are working with your shoulder on healing it while also protecting the joints rather then putting more pressure, causing more pain and long-term injury
- Make sure you are keeping your torso strong during the poses by widening your shoulders
If you are looking to select the right asanas to help with the injury recovery, here are the ones we recommend:
- Warrier II
- Chest opening poses
- Mountain pose
Avoid any postures that force your shoulders to go beyond what they can do at the moment, work with them not against them. If the pain is serious, provide your body with enough rest to be able to recover and follow the advice of your doctor.
Finally, we advise you to watch this seven minutes video to learn more about the anatomy of the shoulder:
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What Is Shoulder Impingement
Shoulder impingement originates in the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons that surround your shoulder joint and assist with movement and stabilization, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Also known as subacromial impingement, shoulder impingement occurs when the rotator cuffs or bursa are compressed by your upper shoulder joint, explains Cameron Yuen, physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York City.
“The physical impingement is a normal part of raising your arm overhead,” Yuen says. “It is only when this movement is performed repetitively with poor range of motion and increased load that this impingement becomes painful.” He adds that it’s usually described as a painful pinch you feel when lifting your arms overhead or behind your back.
Generally, shoulder impingement will also lead to inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons and bursa, which can be pretty painful, Yuen says. If the condition goes untreated, it can cause the tendons to tear.
While it’s best to consult a medical professional when you feel a pinch in your shoulder, there are a few exercises you can try to test whether you’re dealing with impingement.
If you feel pain in any of these tests, Yuen suggests consulting a doctor or physical therapist to properly diagnose your shoulder injury or pain. In the meantime, avoid the following three exercises.
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Yoga Therapy And Shoulder Tendonitis
The treatment of this condition occurs in two phases: acute and subacute. Yoga therapy usually comes into play on the subacute stage. Let us take the example of Jenna. Jenna came into Pillars of Wellness in Burlington, complaining of unbearable pain in her shoulder every time she shrugged. A dancer in her free time, the 37-year-old was rather worried. She was diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis. However, it was in the early stages and with proper care, she would recover in no time.
Jenna did not want to take any medication because she preferred alternative methods of healing. She was then introduced to yoga therapy. In the acute stage, she was given resting time for 4-6 days. After that, she was given a demonstration on yoga poses and postures that would aid her recovery. Every personâs case is unique. With that in mind, a typical initial assessment goes something like this.
- The Yoga therapist assesses your history and cause of injury.
- The Yoga therapist addresses any emotional or physical trauma caused by the injury.
- They then offer the patient a demonstration on the yoga postures and poses that are suited to their injury and comfort level.
- The patient goes through breathing and relaxation exercises.
- They provide a chart on the timings for the yoga exercises and their durations.
- Additionally, a yoga therapist will also provide you with a chart for diet. A balanced diet can work wonders for your immune system.
Causes Of Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain has many different causes, but not all of them would benefit from the immediate practice of yoga. Always talk to your doctor before attempting an exercise program. For example, yoga may only hurt shoulder pain due to fractures, dislocation, and some tendon and ligament damage. Instead, these may benefit from a brief period of rest during the acute injury phase.
In rare cases where shoulder pain is a sign of heart attack, the issue may resolve itself when the underlying causes of heart attack are addressed.
That being said, yoga poses for shoulder pain can be very effective for the following causes of shoulder pain:
Of course, before beginning any healing yoga for neck or shoulder pain, it is important to see your doctor to determine the cause of your pain. If pain is sharp or stabbing, completely immobilizing, or accompanied by heart attack symptoms, an urgent or emergency visit to the doctor is important.
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Neck Side Bend And Rotation
To begin this yoga exercise, you can decide to stand or sit on the mat. Then proceed by tilting your neck to the left. This is a way to stretch your neck to rid it of any pain.
After holding this position for few seconds, roll your head in a counterclockwise position towards your right shoulder and pause for some seconds.
Then bend it again to where you started from to complete the rotation. You can repeat this yoga exercise for few times.
Crow Pose Modification: Supta Bakasana
For Crow Pose and other weight-bearing postures, an easy way to modify is to flip them upside down! For example, Crow Pose can become Supta Bakasana, which is done lying on your back.
- Start by laying down with your knees hugging in toward your chest
- Engage your core and lift your head, neck, and shoulders off of the mat
- Reach up as if you could plant your hands on the ceiling
- From there, keep your big toes together and draw your knees open and toward your triceps
- Engage your lower belly to create equal pressure from the tops of your knees to your triceps and press your triceps into your knees
Why this helps: This pose is especially helpful to do on your back because it teaches exactly which muscles to engage and what position the body should be in to perform the full posture but it eliminates the pressure of gravity and your body weight on your arms.
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Yoga For Shoulder Pain: 6 Must
Thread the Needle Pose, Walking this can be effective when you standHow Yoga Therapy Helps Shoulder TendonitisShoulder tendonitis can be very painful but thankfully, Pull your belly in and lengthen the sides of your body.Author: Lorraine SheaYoga is for people in good physical condition, Take your time and recognise the difference between discomfort and pain to know when to stop and not injure yourself even more.5/5Yoga positions can easily be modified for your shoulder pain, If you already have chronic neck or shoulder issues, mental, TN 624-2696 Shoulder tendinitis is a common overuse injury in sports (such as swimming
Prop Up Your Forearm Work
Forearm Plank, Pincha Mayurasana, and Scorpion require plenty of shoulder stability and when done correctly boast tremendous healing capabilities.
However, when we place the body weight on the arms in this way, without the proper amount of strength in the chest and latissimus dorsi, the elbows gradually widen, which unreasonably asks the shoulders to do more than their share of work.
When the shoulder is continually fatigued in this way, the risk of injury greatly increases. In recent years, a concept known as Triangle Forearm Support emerged as a method to help alleviate pain in the rotator cuff associated with excessive overhead motion.
Enlist Triangle Forearm Support and keep the elbows at the optimal shoulder width distance by wrapping a strap around the arms and placing a block between the first finger and thumbs for added support.
And, when in doubt of your ability to maintain your balance, always use the wall for these inversions.
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Is Shoulder Press Or Military Press Bad For The Shoulders
Shoulder press or military press is typically OK for the shoulders if it is done correctly. If you use a barbell, make sure you lower it in front of your body to your chest. Do not lower it behind the neck. This can cause abnormal forces on the shoulders and neck. With higher loads, military press behind the neck can lead to injury.
Two Tips For Rotator Cuff Strengthening In Yoga
The rotator cuff is a well-known group of muscles that are important in stabilizing the shoulder, basically no matter the activity. When it comes to keeping the arm bone centered in the socket, these are the guys for the job.
The larger the weight or force that an arm lifts, the more important the job of the RTC becomes.
You might think that on the yoga mat we dont lift much weight. Oh, but we do . Downward Facing Dog supports at least half your body weight through the arms. The arms in Handstand handle 100% of your body weight. And the faster we move through an asana practice , the greater the forces on any given joint that is supporting your body weight.
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Shoulder Impingement & Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
To impinge means to press upon, to infringe or encroach. Shoulder impingement is where one bone in the shoulder is pushing either into another bone, into a tendon or into a bursa. If the bone is pushing into a bursa you have shoulder bursitis, if it is pushing into a tendon you have rotator cuff tendonitis. Both of these may have shoulder impingement at their root, and it is the outer tip of the scapula or shoulder blade which is the troublemaker. Lets drill into the anatomy of this a little.
The outer tip of the scapula is called the Acromion9. A shoulder rotator cuff tendon runs under the acromium, and there is also a bursa situated under the acromium10.Some of us have a short flat acromion in each shoulder, whereas some of us have longer and more hooked acromions. If you have shorter acromions you may have a greater natural range of motion in your shoulders.
Lets look at some examples of different acromions to the right.
How do you know that you may have shoulder impingement or rotator cuff tendonitis:
Firstly, it is always recommended that you see a medical professional if you feel you have any injury or illness. They will have the skills to diagnose you.
How to treat shoulder impingement or rotator cuff tendonitis:
If the pain does not resolve, your doctor or medical professional may advise you to have a steroid injection. This was covered in our Samadhi Anatomy Episode 1 article here.
Style Of Practice When A Shoulder Injury Occurred Or When Injured In Chaturanga:
Shoulder injuries were very common among many styles of yoga asana that practitioners reported. The highest percentages of shoulder injuries in yoga per total injuries experienced for a particular style of practice were among those who reported practicing Vinyasa/Flow yoga and Baptiste yoga. The highest percentage of chaturanga injuries per total injuries experienced for a particular style of practice was among those who reported practicing Vinyasa/Flow yoga.
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Tendonitis And Yoga: Can Yoga Ease The Symptoms
If you have tendinitis, you may be discouraged from doing yoga by your doctor. It’s up to a medical professional first and foremost to give you advice. However, depending on the severity of tendinitis, you may be able to resume yoga sessions provided you take the necessary precautions.
Talk to your yoga teacher. They will be a great help to you.
Yoga poses can be adapted to relieve the affected tendon. You will also have to execute these moves smoothly so as not to force your body too much. Take your time and recognise the difference between discomfort and pain to know when to stop and not injure yourself even more.
For example, if you have tendinitis on your wrist, you can rearrange some moves to avoid putting weight on that area. Instead of leaning on your hands, leaning on your forearms is a good alternative.
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Tendinitis in the shoulder, wrist, knee, elbow, hip … This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to quit your yoga class!
On the other hand, you will probably need to adapt your daily routine and avoid the most difficult poses depending on the affected tendon.
This is not a problem given that yoga poses are a great way of developing energy, self-awareness and consciousness. You can do yoga even with simple poses for beginners.
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How To Identify Good Shoulder Alignment
Lets start with a little experiment, exploring shoulder alignment without putting weight on the arms. This will help you feel the many muscles involved without distraction. To begin, stand with your arms extended forward at shoulder height, wrists flexed at 90 degrees, and arms parallel .
Draw your shoulders back so that they are in the same plane as your ears. Now bend your elbows, bringing the tops of your hands straight back toward the fronts of your shoulders. Notice how the shoulders inevitably hunch forward to some degree you will feel some strain or tension at the fronts of your shoulders.
Many students actually come into chaturanga dandasana this way, descending straight down from plank pose with their shoulders too close to their hands. When the shoulders hunch forward the pectoral muscles must do nearly all the work, and this strains the fronts of the shoulder capsules.
Here is a way to feel the proper action. Once again, extend your arms forward and draw your shoulders back in line with your ears. Keep your shoulders firmly in this position and then bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Your elbows should be at waist level and your forearms parallel to the floor.
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What Is A Tight Neck And Shoulder Condition
Tightness and stiffness in the neck and shoulders, also known as frozen shoulder, have become quite common these days. The tightness in the neck and shoulder is quite different from the sharpness and pain that we feel after an injury. This tightness can be described as tension, stiffness, soreness, and pressure in these areas.
Jennilee Looks At The Anatomy And Function Of The Shoulder And Some Of The Most Common Yoga
These days practitioners of yoga are having so much fun playing with new variations of the tried and true ancient yoga postures. So many of us have learned the rules from the old masters and have eagerly gone about to see how much and how far we can stretch, bend and eventually break those rules. Dancing through flows with many Chaturanga Dandasanas and Chaturanga variations, weaving arm balances and inversions wherever and whenever possible. Finding more and more fun, fantastic and intricate shapes to wind and bind our bodies into has become the norm in modern yoga classes and practices. But with all these good times on the mat a price is being paid. Yogic injuries are on the riseespecially injuries of the shoulder girdle.
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Yoga Poses For Shoulder Pain Reduction
Which yoga poses are best for easing bothersome shoulder pain? For patients recovering from a rotator cuff injury or struggling with pain due to tendonitis, here are a few to consider:
- Mountain pose. This yoga pose helps strengthen muscle within the shoulder area. It also helps by engaging the serratus anterior muscle. This is the muscle that runs on the outside of your ribcage. When there is an issue with the serratus anterior, it can reduce shoulder range of motion. To do the mountain pose, stand with your feet together, your arms hanging at your sides. First, press your shoulder blades together. Next, separate them as much as possible. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds
- Cow face pose. If your client has a slightly limited range of motion in their shoulder, this move helps improve that range. It begins by sitting cross-legged and involves reaching behind your back with one arm. Try to touch the shoulder blade, if possible, and hold. Repeat on the other side.
- Seated cat pose. Adding this pose to your yoga practice can help stretch tense shoulder muscles. To do it, sit cross-legged and inhale deeply while interlacing your fingers behind your back. Your arms should be fully extended. Lift your fingers toward the ceiling to elongate the muscle in the shoulder.