shoulders

words of wisdom for women: your shoulders

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I’m using both hands as I type this quick and spontaneous post for International Women’s Day 2020. And, if you’ve a Baby Boomer woman, I think you’ll get what I’m saying and agree. Plus, if you’ve got GenX daughters and/or Millennial daughters, granddaughters, do them a favor and send this to them. It’s absolutely worth a read. Consider it YOUR gift to someone you love!

shoulders

If you think about the word ‘shoulder(s)’ there are so many catchy phrases. Shoulder the pain. Cry on my shoulders. Pork shoulder. Put your head on my shoulder (Paul Anka circa 1958 song…*swoon*). Chip on your shoulder. Look over your shoulder. Dandruff on your shoulder. Cold shoulder. Cold shoulder fashion. Rub shoulders with. OK, you get my drift.

All The Young Women Out There

But, I’m not talking about this. I’m talking about what happens to your shoulders as you age. And, for you young girlees out there, you will if you live long enough. And, guess what, you’ll develop things like joint arthritis. Uggghhhhh! Me? No way. I mean that’s just an old woman’s disease. Aahhhummm, here you go, the connection between age and arthritis. 

Most People with Arthritis are Under the Age of 65. Kinda startling, right? Arthritis is an equal opportunity condition. Yep, it doesn’t discriminate. There are different kinds of arthritis, read up on it because that’s another dissertation. Hey,  you can’t always ‘prevent’ arthritis as you move into your 30s and 40s+, but there are things that you can do to maybe lessen the long-term impact and subsequent issues.

Osteoarthritis in your shoulder joints? Well, there are risk factors. Don’t overlook these things. These common sense risk factors are things that you can sometimes totally control completely or at least to some degree in your life:

  • Overweight/Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Joint Injuries
  • Infection
  • Occupation
Getting Older was Never on my Mind

Listen, I was probably much like you in my 20s, 30s and 40s. Never thought about what I was doing, my everyday life patterns and work that could potentially impact me down the road. I mean I never thought about aging and getting older. Now that I’m 70, hey, I have the benefit of looking backwards and reflecting.

My responsibility to you is to at least write this post. Hopefully, you’ll read it. Some of you will go about your merry way of life. Others will start to make some changes. Yayyyy, smart ones there!

You see I’m facing right now a complete reverse shoulder replacement surgery in less than 48 hours of writing this post. If you’re interested in reading a little more (Knowledge is Power girls! here you go. Enjoy. It’s got some heavy good info for you.

shoulders

Looking Over my Shoulder

Looking backwards, yes, over my shoulder, my left one in fact, I think there are patterns of my behavior and activities that contributed to the wear and tear of my shoulder. If I could rewind time, you bet I’d do many things differently. Now, these aren’t scientific. They’re called COMMON SENSE. Sometimes that’s our best teacher. So here you go. Some advice for my young 24 to 50ish women!

Caring for your Shoulders
  • Heavy purses and bags are a health hazard. For all my life, I carried heavy purses, baby bags, backpacks (lots of traveling). Yeah, man, I’d whip and swing them on my left shoulder exclusively. It was the go to workhorse. I’d hoist heavy carry on luggage when flying into the overhead bin. Why should I ask for help? No way, I was Superwoman strong. Most all of the time, this was done with the strength of that left shoulder and arm. If I could live those decades over, I’d certainly be an equal opportunity shoulder worker, both left and right shoulders. Ask for help from a big tall strong guy and probably save myself strain altogether by checking luggage.
  • I had three boys. Big heavy boys that were brutes and weighty at an early age. These bambinos were perched on my left hip (never used my right side) continuously for about six years. I held them in my left arm with the strength of my shoulder as well and rocked them, picked them up and more. Dang, I’ve even continued to do this with my grandchildren. Why didn’t someone tell me that I was overworking this one side? Hummmm, that just wasn’t vogue in the 80s. Oh, well, water over the dam. Maybe I should have realized that something like this can lead to a multitude of physio issues. Big drawback was I didn’t have the ease and wealth of finding information to read. Yes, the Internet and Google are powerful sources for protecting and preserving our health.

shoulders

  • Sitting at a computer. Shoulders hunched for long periods of time. Perching a cell phone to your ear and scrunching your shoulder(s), be it left or right, as you’re multi-tasking, folding laundry, stirring pots of soup, hey, even chopping and dicing in the kitchen. Alas, my lassies, this can cause major problems. Read this. Google more articles. Knowledge is Power. No need for me to spoon feed you.
  • While you want to work out and exercise, be kind and considerate of your shoulders knowing that they carry a lot of weight on them. From the stress of life to the heavy lifting of physical objects. Here are ‘5 Ways to Increase your Shoulder Mobility‘. Yes, it’s important to keep the muscles around your joints strong to support the joints and that can be done in moderation. Google more and be informed.
  • If you have work that has repetitive movements and you’re relying on or favoring one side of your body and shoulder, for gawd’s sakes, learn to alternate. Take breaks. Do stretches. Relax and roll your shoulders. Get some blood circulating. Hey, I know it’s hard when you’re knee deep in concentration or uber focused, but little things like this make long-term differences.
  • OK, this is hard, but try to avoid injuries. While skiing about 10 to 12 years ago, I took a yard sale fall during Spring skiing. Landed on my left side. While my shoulder wasn’t visibly impacted (ACL in left knee affected from MRI), I’m certain this ‘trauma’ fall was a nail in the coffin. I’m sure I damaged cartilage in my shoulder ball and joint.

Here for the International Women’s Day 2020, I give you my gift. And, that’s the gift of living and experience. Here’s to women helping women know that every decade we live, we have new challenges and adventures. Being prepared in our best selves is what we can do for each other.

xoxo ~ally

shoulders

Want better skin as you age? Read this, ladies.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. One of your emails came in that said words of wisdom and I just had to read it. You have been giving me excellent advice for 35 years. Can you believe it, wow time passes. Thank you for the helpful info. I’m glad to see you are on the road to recovery.
    You are always in my thought and prayers.
    Loved the article.
    Love,
    Debbi

    • My dear Debi…it’s been 35 years and we have soooooooo many more ahead of us! You’re my ‘wonder’ girl who can leap tall buildings in a single bound! Yes, those small suggestions that I gave in this post can make big differences long term. This rehabb’ing thingeeee is a long road to hoe, but you know me, I’m a bulldog and will muscle through it! Love you angel…now that we have so much time, let’s talk! oxo Mama Ally

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