The Older Shoulder

A perhaps unexpected effect of aging folks and those entering retirement is sustaining injury whilst caring for their grandchildren while their own children head off to work.

We frequently see grandparents who have injured their backs and necks whilst lifting their grandchildren or playing energetic games in positions that can have adverse effects. Many grandparents become the daycare, which is of course a positive relationship, and creates a special bond between generations. But it can come with a price. Pain.

Many shoulders come into our practice because they are simply overused. The supraspinatus muscle is a big culprit. It gets worn over the years and is a very common muscle to experience tears in. Suddenly, having a 12lbs baby to look after gives this muscle extra, unexpected use and results in what we like to call: ‘the granny shoulder’.

So below is a list of things to bear in mind when it comes to babysitting…


  • ·         Try and warm up the shoulders, neck and back before your bundle of joy arrives for the day. Simply doing a few shoulder circles, looking left to right with the neck and laying down and bringing your knees up to your chest will certainly help.
  • ·         If you can, try and pre-plan the day’s activities to ensure nothing involving too much exertion occurs.
  • ·         Consider taking up Pilates to strengthen not only your core abdominal muscles, but your shoulders and legs as well.
  • ·         An alternative to the above is that, when lifting, try to remember to tighten your stomach muscles and pelvic floor to save your back. Bend your knees when lifting the baby, and if you can, keep lifting to a minimum.


It is no surprise that the overall level of fitness of the nation’s babysitting grandparents is on average, higher than normal, and so it is only when they ‘forget how old they are’ and overdo their exertions that these injuries tend to occur.

If you do suffer from granny shoulder, neck or back, we are here to help. All of our patients have responded well to treatment, and we have had them back on their way to enjoying their grandchildren again. And we can do the same for you.

Just don’t forget you are not alone, as this is a really common problem in today’s world with grandparents everywhere coping admirably with their new role. And injuries only seem to occur when, like most of us, we forget our age and limitations.

If you’d like to book yourself in for a consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01722 512043.

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