Why Do You Have Shoulder Pain with Pressing?


Experiencing Shoulder Pain?

Most exercises, when performed correctly and with appropriate training, should not cause any greater risk for injury or harm

Bench Press, Overhead Press, and Upright Rows are inherently dangerous exercises and will cause irreparable damage to your shoulder. This statement, while completely false, is something that many of us have heard or will hear at some point at a gym, a barbecue, on Instagram, or wherever someone with shoulder pain may prefer to express themselves. 

While these exercises may have been painful for them and even for some others, this is not true for a large majority of people. Most exercises, when performed correctly and with appropriate training, should not cause any greater risk for injury or harm. This is because our bodies, and specifically our joints, were made to move, twist, open, stretch, and compress in a variety of fashions. However, similar to when our car might break down, when there are specific parts that are not functioning properly, we can end up with a system that begins to “break down” and can cause pain, pinching, grinding, clicking, and other symptoms. Keep reading below to find out possible causes of these shoulder aches and pains and what you can do to fix these issues. 

What Is The Most Likely Cause of My Shoulder Pain?

Poor Scapulohumeral Rhythm

When we move our arm (humerus), our shoulder blade (scapula) naturally moves along with it. In order to do these movements though, our shoulder blades require stability provided by our rotator cuff and other muscles in our upper back. Naturally when we move our arm, different tendons and other structures are compressed and rubbed against. When there is weakness,  imbalances, or tightness/shortening in these muscles, our shoulder blade can move out of it’s normal sync with our arm and cause atypical irritation of these structures which surround the shoulder joint which often presents itself as pain. 

Joint Hypermobility or Hypomobility

Having increased motion and/or decreased motion in any direction, specifically into shoulder rotation can lead to instability within the shoulder which can cause excessive compression and irritation in the shoulder with certain motions. 

Shoulder Injury: Rotator Cuff Tear, Glenohumeral Labral Tears

Many times shoulder pain and pinching is a sign of some form of tendon irritation. Other times, there may be a more serious injury which occurs, or the original issue may have progressed into a more serious issue. 

What Do I Do About My Shoulder Pain?

While all of these causes of shoulder pain can be serious issues that are difficult to self-manage, the positive is that all of these can be successfully treated with physical therapy — many times showing similar outcomes to having surgery without even needing to go under. When experiencing any form of shoulder pain, especially for a prolonged time and with any specific motions, it is in your best interest to seek out a physical therapist for a formal evaluation to assist you in diagnosing the source of shoulder pain and any factors (scapulohumeral rhythm, hypo/hypermobility) that may be increasing your shoulder pain. A physical therapist will be able to diagnose and treat your symptoms and get you back to doing the things you love without pain. 

What to Expect with Physical Therapy?

  • Neuromuscular Re-Education: a complex term with a simple meaning — we’ll be retraining specific muscles to work harder during certain motions and decrease muscle imbalances. 
  • Mobility/Flexibility and/or Stability: this would be to address any hypomobility or hypermobility found during your evaluation.
  • Pushing and Pressing Activities: eventually, we will need to reintroduce your body to motions that were previously painful to ensure your shoulder is capable of utilizing the improved scapulohumeral rhythm, mobility and stability, and strength gained through treatment. 

Check out this video for some info on exercises to assist in relieving pain you might have in your shoulder with pressing activities.

Share the Post: