Cautions: Neck, Shoulder & Upper Back Care

  1. Those who are experiencing shoulder pain and loss of range of motion are advised to see a qualified professional for diagnosis.
  2. Some conditions such as arthritis and shoulder instability (or history of dislocation) can be aggravated by some movements. The shoulder joint is relatively mobile so those at risk of dislocation should be particularly cautious.
  3. As in most cases, when pain is experienced or exacerbated with movement, it is advised to avoid or minimize such movement.
  4. However, we also want to maintain range of motion in the shoulder joint. As such, Baxter Bell MD points out that most cautions are meant to ensure we approach movement with care—not that we avoid movement completely.
  5. Numbness, tingling, sharp or electrical pains indicate a need to avoid practice until a professional diagnosis is obtained. (Gary Kraftsow, Yoga for Wellness)
  6. For a list of specific considerations related to each type of arm movement and various conditions, see Baxter Bell’s list here.

General Approach

In general, you should avoid or minimize any shoulder movement if you have:

  1. Acute painful injury to the shoulder area that gets worse with that movement.
  2. Chronic issues that flare with that movement, such as those with shoulder joint arthritis, rotator cuff injuries that have not been repaired, painful bone spurs, chronic bursitis, and those at risk of dislocation of the shoulder joint.

– Baxter Bell