Shoulder pain and discomfort can present itself in many ways. During your yoga class you may find yourself feeling a little niggle or maybe a sharp pain you’ve never felt before. You ask what should I do about this?! Am I doing damage? Should I stop? Should I get help?
First things first, don’t panic! Not all shoulder pain is as threatening as we think.
Yoga is a great way to strengthen the shoulder and increase your flexibility. Some poses challenge your strength and place demand on the shoulder which is what makes yoga so great, however, it’s not unusual to occasionally feel little niggles or twinges in your shoulders especially when trying something new.
These feelings can be a sign that you’ve increased the challenge and worked the muscles or a sign that perhaps you’ve pushed a little too far.
These new sensations can make it difficult to know when to continue with your practice and when to seek help. The following advice will give you a better understanding of what to do when.
Pain during movement is the most common complaint from anyone with a shoulder injury and the extent of symptoms can vary. Pain may be felt:
when lifting your arms above shoulder height e.g. Utkatasana (Chair pose) or High Crescent lunge with arms extended.
when putting your body weight through your arms e.g. Upward or Downward Facing Dog.
Other times you may feel discomfort or instability in your shoulder when in positions like side planks. These symptoms can be felt as a sharp pain, a pinch, or a dull ache and can either be at one point in the shoulder or felt in a wider area across the arm.
As mentioned above, it can be normal to have these niggles from time to time, especially when you challenge yourself with new poses. As a Physiotherapist, I would always encourage you to listen to your body and check in with your teacher to ensure you are doing the poses correctly if you’re unsure.
As a general rule of thumb, if you notice any new niggles and they have been persistent for around 3-4 weeks with no improvement or feeling worse, then it may be time to seek help from your health professional.
(Hark Yogi & Physiotherapist)