When you finish lacing up your running shoes and stretching the hami's don't forget about your shoulders. Running is a whole body exercise -- you are pumping your arms, cranking your torso and pounding your feet on the ground. If you are having shoulder pain after a run, try an ounce of prevention through strengthening the shoulder and completing daily range of motion exercises. If your shoulder pain is persistent or increasing it is time to see a doctor and learn more about the possible causes.
Get a thorough physical at your doctor's office. Shoulder pain can be caused by a simple strain or improper warm up. However, it could also represent a referred pain from the spine due to nerve root compression in your neck. Referred shoulder pain during exercise may also indicate coronary insufficiency and signal an impending heart problem.
Stretch the shoulders thoroughly before and after a run. Place one hand on a stationary object, such as a desk, and lean over at a 30-degree angle.
Let the other arm hang toward the ground and relax the shoulder. Let that arm swing in concentric circles, using gravity to provide a static stretch. Reverse directions and continue the circling movement.
Repeat the arm circles on the other side. Aim for five to 10 repetitions on both sides, going in both directions.
Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Relax your shoulders by pulling your shoulder blades down toward the floor. Relax your chin onto your chest and roll your head to the left. Hold for one complete breath and roll your head to the right. Complete 10 reps to relax the neck and shoulders.
Strengthen your shoulders with resistance exercises every other day. Start with a set of 10 pushups, using only your body weight. If you cannot complete 10 you can work up to it. Make sure your hands are beneath your shoulders and your back is straight during each repetition.
Start dumbbell shoulder presses if you do not have a shoulder injury. Begin using a light weight between 1 and 5 lbs. Stand straight holding the weights, knees slightly bent and your feet hip-width apart.
Raise the weights to just above shoulder level with your palms facing outward. Inhale through your nose and extend the weights straight up during the exhale. Return to the starting position and complete 10 reps as tolerated. If you can complete the repetitions without any effort you can try a heavier weight next time.
Apply an ice or cold compress to the shoulder after running for 20 minutes. You can elevate the arm on pillows or use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications as directed to accelerate your pain relief if you have the okay from your doctor.
Don't eat or drink immediately before a run. Blood is shunted away from the digestive process when you exercise, which could lead to referred pain throughout your trunk and shoulder blades.
Shoulder pain that is not recreated with movement may require a doctor's attention as it could signify a referred pain as opposed to a functional one.