Household Shoulder Injuries, and How to Prevent Them
By Martha Michael
Shouldering the responsibility for home improvements may mean you are burdened with the successful outcome of a paint job or the function of a fixture. Hopefully it does not also mean you bear the load of an upper body injury. Protecting your shoulders from permanent damage or even short-term injury is entirely possible with some prevention tips and attention to detail.
Threat of Shoulder Injuries
The University of Rochester Medical Center has an article describing some of the most common shoulder injuries that occur, sometimes through mishaps during home projects:
Rotator cuff tear - The four muscles in your upper arm, which are attached to your bones by tendons, enable you to raise your arm and rotate it when necessary. When the tendons are torn, your arm has restricted movement. Most injuries to the rotator cuff occur in middle-aged adults and seniors.
Frozen shoulder - Approximately 2 percent of Americans, typically between 40 and 60 years of age, experience bouts of stiffness in the shoulder. While the origin is not always known, it happens more often in individuals with diabetes, heart disease, thyroid disease, or Parkinson’s disease than it does in the general population. The main symptom of frozen shoulder is an inability to move the shoulder in any direction without pain.
Shoulder instability - Youths and athletes of various ages suffer from shoulder instability more than other groups. The muscles and ligaments, which adjoin bone to bone, can be stretched beyond capacity, causing pain and weakness in the arm. The shoulder sometimes feels loose when it absorbs too much force from the act of pitching or tackling and becomes unstable.
You can minimize the chance of injuring your shoulders with a few simple tips for safety. Southern California Orthopedic Institute, or SCOI, has an article with suggestions to lower risks when working on various projects at home.
Use proper tools - If your project involves furniture refinishing, then you don’t need a hacksaw. You can gain the pleasure of crafting and succeed in the work when you have the tools and time you need to accomplish it. Something as simple as hanging a picture can be a disaster when you use a faulty hammer to drive in the nail. Also, if the kids are helping you with home improvements, keep the sharp objects out of reach.
Pay attention - If you tend to juggle a lot of responsibilities, it takes a conscious awareness to put the full force of your attention toward your project. Particularly when you use machinery such as a staple gun or chainsaw, take the time to read the manual or receive proper training. Then be sure to focus, even for the most routine movements. You can injure your shoulder when pulling the recoil start on a lawnmower or pushing a broom.
Wear proper attire - Operating certain machinery requires goggles and gloves, and refraining from wearing necklaces and other dangling jewelry can keep you from a tragic accident. Footwear is important too -- it’s a good idea to wear close-toed shoes. Falls on a slippery surface can injure far more than just your shoulders.
Keep the space clean - Tripping and falling to the floor can bruise, impair, or cause irreversible harm to many parts of your body. But a fall that slams you into a wall or other structure can shatter bones in your upper body, causing a break in your collar bone or a scrape and injury to your shoulder.
Be wary of ladders - An article by the Industrial Safety & Hygiene News says that among the 500,000 annual falls from ladders, 97 percent occur at home or on farms. Approximately 300 of these falls are fatal. A ladder collapse can send you careening to the floor, shoulder first, which can result in damage to the humerus or scapula and the surrounding muscles and ligaments.
You can further guard against injuries through measures to maintain overall wellness, including routine chiropractic care. A baseline of your general health makes it easy to ascertain increasing risks to function or injuries that develop over time.
In the case of a fall or another cause of damage to your shoulders, your chiropractor can offer you a treatment plan to minimize your down time.
Even if you’ve completed projects without incident, it only takes one accident to change the trajectory of your health from safe and secure to an outcome that’s unbearable.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of chiropractic care, exercise and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.