Shoulder Pain When Running
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Shoulder Pain When Running: Causes And Cures



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While it is typical to associate lower-body pain with running, it is not uncommon for joggers to experience shoulder issues, as well. Strain, cramping, aches and inflammation can all develop over time as you run. So, what causes shoulder pain when running and what can be done to prevent these potential problems?

What Causes Shoulder Pain When Running?

Shoulder and other common upper body pain while running stems directly from too much tension or poor form overall. For instance, hunched or rounded shoulders can cause long-term upper body issues.

Subtle shoulder movements may seem harmless at the time, but they could trigger pain over time. The issues can range from tension all the way to muscle spasms. Now that you know some causes of shoulder pain, it’s time to look at how to prevent these issues.

How To Prevent Shoulder Pain When Running

Keeping your muscles from tightening up while in motion is key to preventing upper body pain. Try to take these five steps to keep your body in top shape while exercising.

Stretch Properly

When running, it only seems necessary to stretch your hamstrings and quads, right? Well, if you are looking to avoid any lingering pain, then it is also advised to stretch your upper body ahead of time. Try some range of motion exercises, such as tilting your head gently left to right, then slowly rolling your shoulders.

You can relieve cramping in your neck and shoulders by placing your hands on top of your head and pulling your elbows back until you feel the stretching. Run for 15 minutes while in this position, then shake your arms or move them in a windmill motion.

Change Your Running Form

Try to be aware of your form while running. It’s suggested to imagine running with a balloon on a string attached to your chest moving forward. The ideal running posture calls for an elongated spine, relaxed pelvis and arms bent at a 90-degree angle to your torso. Your body should lean forward slightly while in motion.

Relax While Running

It is possible to relieve tension in your back and neck by dropping your shoulders when running. In addition, runners should always move arms and shoulders fluidly during motion.

Build Strength

Maintaining muscle strength throughout your body can help maximize both running and workouts. Consistent strength and core training can help to better support your upper body.

Breathe From Your Core

Try the “two-two” breathing rhythm. This is where you take two steps as you inhale followed by two steps as you exhale. Breathe from your abdomen as opposed to your chest.

Back Pain

Shoulder Pain Stretches

These stretches can be done prior to running to help prevent any potential shoulder pain.

Shoulder Rolls

  • Stand with the feet hip-width apart.
  • Let the arms hang down at the sides of the body.
  • Breathe in and lift the shoulders up toward the ears.
  • Move the shoulders back, squeezing the shoulder blades together.
  • Exhale and drop the shoulders back.
  • Move the elbows forward, feeling the stretch at the back of the shoulders.
  • Repeat this 10 times.

Pendulum Stretch

  • Stand with the feet hip-width apart.
  • Lean forward and look at the ground.
  • Place the right hand on a table or chair for support.
  • Let the left arm hang down.
  • Swing the left arm gently in small circular motions, letting gravity do most of the work.
  • Continue for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Change the direction of the motion.
  • Repeat this, using the other arm.

Cross-Body Arm Swings

  • Stand with the feet hip-width apart.
  • Inhale and lift the arms out to the sides, squeezing the shoulder blades together.
  • Exhale and gently bring the arms in toward each other.
  • Cross the right arm under the left, keeping both arms straight.
  • Inhale and swing the arms back out to the sides, squeezing the shoulder blades together.
  • Exhale, and gently swing the arms in toward each other again.
  • This time, cross the left arm under the right, keeping both arms straight.
  • Repeat this 10 times.

Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

  • Stand with the feet hip-width apart.
  • Stretch the right arm out straight.
  • Bring the right arm across the body, so that the hand points to the floor on the other side of the left leg.
  • Bend the left arm at the elbow.
  • Hook the left forearm under the right arm, supporting the right arm above the elbow.
  • Use the left forearm to pull the right arm further in and across the body, stretching the back of the right shoulder.
  • Hold this for 20 seconds, then repeat the stretch on the other side.

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