Your shoulder is actually made of 4 joints: linking the arm, shoulder-blade (scapula), collar bone (clavicle) and ribcage together. It has to be mobile and strong at the same time.
Because it’s so complex there are several things that can go wrong, but they are usually related to POSTURE, INJURIES, or THE NECK. A proper assessment of your shoulder means checking all the movements it can do, the muscles around it and the nerves that supply it.
REASONS FOR SHOULDER PAIN
Remember this is not a diagnostic, but gives you an idea of the different causes of pain
Four important muscles, together called the rotator cuff, help stabilise the shoulder and also produce rotational movement (hence the name). We deal with these muscles every day, as they are very commonly tight and/or weak in people with shoulder pain. Deep tissue massage and exercises can make a massive difference here.
The tendons that run under the boney part at the top of your shoulder (your acromion) can get pinched and inflamed. Bone spurs, poor shoulder posture or bad movement patterns are often to blame. Lifting your arm out sideways is usually painful, especially just above horizontal.
Some shoulder pain actually doesn’t come from the place where you feel it. The nerves in your shoulder come from your neck, so a neck problem can give you shoulder pain. The muscles at the back of the shoulder blade can refer pain to the front of your shoulder. Even your liver or gallbladder can refer pain into the right shoulder.
Its proper name is Adhesive Capsulitis, where the lining of the joint (the synovium) gets inflamed and very painful. It is sometimes linked to other problems like diabetes or rotator cuff problems. Because the actual joint itself is causing the pain, ANY movement hurts. Untreated, a frozen shoulder can last years, usually getting progressively more painful and stiff, then mostly stiff but with less pain, and some people never get the full range of movement back. Some people respond well to hands on care.
WHY POSTURE MATTERS
Your arm bone (humerus) sits in a very small and shallow socket. Unlike your hip which is deep and built to be stable, your shoulder needs to be very mobile and free. Slumped and rounded posture from sitting at a desk for years, puts those joints in a position they really don’t like to be in. They get pushed forward, the muscles get tight at the front, and weak and stretched at the back; then you ask them to move around normally and they protest with pain.
- So just sit up straight then?
- Bad posture is hard to correct on your own. Your body gets stiffened into a certain position and the muscles don’t work like they should do. We combine hands-on work to free up the shoulders and back, with simple exercises that get the muscles working properly, so that straightening up feels natural and you actually don’t have to work that hard!