The shoulder is an efficient combination of joints, muscles and tendons that enable a wide variety of movement and range of motion and is considered the most mobile joint in our body. The shoulder joint is thought to be one of the most complex joints. Its utility and versatility make the shoulder prone to a variety of injuries and conditions. In fact, shoulder pain will affect up to 70 percent of the population in their lifetime. It can be disabling and result in a host of unwanted consequences.
Do we appreciate how important our shoulders are? Well….. once you have an injury to the shoulder you will soon appreciate them if you don’t already.
We use our shoulders from the second we wake to even during our sleep. A few tasks that will be affected if you have a shoulder complaint will be brushing your hair, dressing, turning in bed, closing doors, shaking hands, caring for your children, reaching into cupboards, lifting various objects and vast amounts of physical activities such as gardening, sport, dog walking and DIY.
As you can see if you have shoulder pain it would be very difficult to get through a day without something aggravating it.
So why is there such a high chance of shoulder pain during our lifetimes?
The 21st century has brought a huge amount of knowledge, intelligence, efficiency and unfortunately sedentary lifestyles and poor postures. However hard we try we all have moments where we slouch, roll our shoulders forward and stick our heads out in front. These behaviours are emphasised by spending hours at our computers, tablets, phones or gardening – leaning into garden beds or doing heavy lifting. Also, picking our children up, rushing left, right and centre and even slouching on our very comfy sofas!
All of these activities and many more will develop an imbalance of muscles around your shoulder girdle and therefore affect your posture and biomechanical function of your shoulder joint.
The most common anatomical muscular imbalance is having tight chest muscles and upper shoulder muscles (upper traps) with weak back muscles. This imbalance will affect the stability and function and therefore expose you to various shoulder presentations.
One way to tell if you have rounded shoulders is to stand in front of a mirror and let your arms hang naturally by your sides. If your knuckles face forward, it may indicate that you have a tight chest and a weak upper back, giving the appearance of rounded shoulders.
If you are starting to present with shoulder pain firstly attempt to correct your posture and shoulder position.
Points to correct your shoulder position
- Lift your chest bone up to the sky
- Round your shoulders back and down
- Encourage your shoulder blades to feel flush with your thoracic wall
- Keep your chin tucked in
If the shoulder pain is persisting you may need further intervention so therefore please give us a call. If your postural correction is helping but not maintaining please give us a shout as we can help optimise that muscular balance around your shoulder girdle.
Despite being a complex joint, shoulder pain is very correctable and it’s not worth suffering through all those daily activities with it affecting you.
Thanks for reading,
Clinic manager and Physiotherapist
Here’s George, a Physio at the Markland Clinic, on how the different types of pain are caused in your shoulder.