Shoulder Exercise is the Answer but at What Cost?


There is a growing body of evidence and clinical experience that is adding weight to the argument that exercise is the treatment of choice for helping to solve shoulder pain problems.

We also know that exercises can really help with participation and recovery in cancer and other chronic disease patients.

An article in The Age today expands on the topic of exercise, appropriate assessment, proper exercise (dose) prescription and its releveance to health and well being.

Trouble is, that while we know this to be true and research is providing good evidence of the benefits, the reality that I see is something completely different.

At my shoulder clinic, I see the carnage of false starts, I hear the stories of boot camp style fitness regimes, the frustration and fear caused by injury and the anxiety about what another injury could mean to an already deconditioned body let alone a shattered psyche.

We got to do better!

Clients come to me with the all too familiar stories of shoulder overuse and overload, poor exercise choices and loading programs that are off the charts. In general we need to look at our skill set as physiotherapist, exercise physiologists and personal trainers and ask “what is the minimum effective dose to get the training effect for the individual in front of me?”

In my experience, dealing with shoulder pain patients, the initial loading needs to be carefully monitored and based on clinical reasoning as to where that particular person falls in terms of their loading potential and likelihood for an adverse reaction.

In my opinion, communication is the key coupled with an in-depth knowledge of both exercise science, shoulder physiotherapy and the emerging body of evidence related to tendinopathy.

So my advice is always start small, start slow and check your response to shoulder exercise early and often.

This simple strategy is integral in finding out your minimal effective exercise dose so that you keep steadily progressing towards a better shoulder and a greater life.

Want to learn how?