What to do if your shoulder starts hurting when you go to the gym | Total Performance Physical Therapy | 215.997.9898

What happens when you start working out or maybe you have been working out for awhile and your shoulder stats to hurt.  It starts with lifting overhead and reaching overhead or not being able to get into yoga poses.  You aren’t sure how you hurt it or when you hurt it but you know that it hurts.

One of the first things that you should not do is stop using your shoulder.  If you are unable to even move it without pain, then you need to seek treatment immediately.

Where could the pain you feel come from?  One, it can be from overuse and you could be developing a tendinitis.

The earlier you do something about the tendinitis the quicker it goes away.  Overuse and tendinitis come on from poor body mechanics.  Most of the popular workouts today require fast movements with weights.  You wind up getting fatigued and you use poor form in order to be able to get the weights up.

Ideally you should stand in front a mirror and watch yourself do a couple of unweighted reps and then watch yourself as you do the fast reps.  If it hurts as you reach overhead and you do the movement weighted then put down the weights and do the movement without weights.

If you can’t do anything overhead without pain, with or without pain then you need to shoulder activities that do not reach overhead.  Start by doing plans, side planks and reverse planks.  This stationary position of your shoulder will allow it to be strengthened while keeping the shoulder pain free.

If you continue to ignore it or maybe your rest it a couple of weeks and don’t do anything to treat it and then you start up with your high intensity workouts again your tendinitis could progress to impingement.  Impingement is where the muscle is being pinched in between 2 bones.  You will most likely feel a pinch every time your arm goes overhead, past 90 degrees.  This won’t go away with rest.

But if you let the impingement go for longer, it can develop into a rotator cuff tear.  The muscle can become pinched enough that you can tear a muscle.

Doing stationary movements with your shoulder like planks can strengthen the muscles around the shoulder without hurting them.

Also doing ice can help the shoulder.  Doing ice after you are done your workouts can help decrease the pain.

But you should NEVER stop moving your shoulder, give it 2 weeks off and then start up and again in 2 weeks doing the same thing.  You will feel better, for a little and then it will get worse much worse.  It is important that you keep moving your shoulder, through a pain free range of motion.  Don’t continue to push through the pain.

If you have shoulder pain watch the video below to see what to do.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain in North Wales PA or shoulder pain in Hatfield PA or shoulder pain in Norristown, PA then call 215-997-9898 to have a free consultation with a doctor of physical therapy.


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