Don’t Let Those Ho Ho Hos Turn Into Oh Oh Ohs

Resolve to Be Good to Your Shoulders This Holiday Season: Don’t Let Those Ho Ho Hos Turn Into Oh Oh Ohs

The holidays can be a magical time filled with family gatherings, traditions, and fun. After all, there’s much to celebrate from Turkey Day to Christmas and then the ringing in of the long-awaited new year! But those days of feast and fancy can quickly turn into days of pain and anguish if you’re not careful. Whether you’re decking the halls with boughs of holly or stringing lights on the family tannenbaum, you may find yourself giving your shoulders quite a workout over the course of the holiday season.

Because your shoulder is a complex joint that gives you a versatile range of motion – enabling you to do things like throw a ball, wash your hair, and hug your loved ones – it’s also at an increased risk for developing chronic pain. That’s particularly true if you spend your holiday vacation repeating the same motions over and over, like hanging lights outside the house, lifting boxes from the attic, or even assembling bicycles.

Here are just a few situations to be mindful of as you decorate (and undecorate) for the holidays:

● Lifting and pushing boxes of decorations and ornaments into and out of the attic.
● Holding awkward positions, like stringing lights along the roof or hanging wreaths on outside windows.
● Repeating movements, including bending and stretching to decorate the tree or wrap gifts.
● Using power tools and equipment, such as assembling flat-pack furniture or toy gifts.
● Other accidents or injuries, including falls or overextensions, that may result in rotator cuff tears, shoulder dislocation or even shoulder impingement.

If you are seeing early warning signs of repetitive-use shoulder injuries from your holiday activities – or you’ve already experienced an injury this holiday season – don’t let your Ho-Ho-Ho become an oh-oh-oh. Watch for these possible injuries or conditions:

Rotator cuff tears
Your rotator cuff is made of four muscles that hold your upper arm in the shoulder socket and support the full range of shoulder movement. You might partially or completely tear the tendons during an acute injury, but in most cases, rotator cuff tears develop over time as a result of repetitive use.
Shoulder impingement and rotator cuff tendonitis
Rotator cuff problems frequently cause shoulder pain even if you haven’t suffered a tear because the tissues are prone to inflammatory problems which occur when your rotator cuff tendons rub against the shoulder blade. These conditions can cause swelling and tenderness in the front of your shoulder. Left untreated, you may develop pain radiating from the shoulder to your arm, loss of strength and motion, and difficulty reaching up and behind your back.
Arthritis
Your shoulder joint can develop osteoarthritis (a wear-and-tear condition that develops as years of using your shoulder gradually wear away cartilage), rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune condition in which your immune system attacks the synovial tissues surrounding the joint) or rotator cuff tear arthropathy, a type of arthritis that’s unique to the shoulder joint.
Dislocation
You can suffer a partial or complete shoulder dislocation when the upper arm bone comes out of the shoulder socket. Either type causes intense pain, swelling, and an obviously deformed shoulder.

With the proper treatment plan, your physician can help you recover from injuries, improve existing problems or even avoid injury entirely. Since 1972, the specialists at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine have been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine, joint replacement and more, the doctors at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert care for any orthopaedic disorder or injury and help put your life back in motion.

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