The shoulder is a common source of pain, and a region frequently treated at Body Logic by both massage and chiropractic. This is partially due to the complex nature of the shoulder’s anatomy, and partially due to the demands we put on it on a daily basis.
The shoulder is involved in every activity we do with our arms; and that’s a lot, especially in the summer! Swimming, surfing, gardening, yard work, playing catch with the kids, swinging the golf clubs, and even running involves repetitive motions of the arms. These repetitive stresses can cause irritation to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Postural stresses also contribute to pain at the shoulders. Sitting at a computer, for example, places the shoulders in a forward rolled position, leading to tight pecs and upper traps which become painful when we do this day after day for work. Even when you aren’t doing anything strenuous, you may still be negatively affecting your joints.
The complexity of the shoulder anatomy is another reason why they can become so painful. What we think of as being just one joint is really the result of four separate joints working in harmony. The first one is called the glenohumeral joint, which is the name for the ball and socket type joint we commonly think of when talking about the shoulder. Second, we have the scapulothoracic joint where the shoulder blade glides over the torso. The third is the acromioclavicular joint, where the collar bone meets the shoulder blade, and lastly the sternoclavicular joint where the collar bone meets the chest. To simply raise your hand, all four of these joints must move in a specific, coordinated manner. The slightest alteration to these movements, such as from tight muscles or adhesions in the connective tissues, will cause undue strain and result in pain.
Of course, we can’t talk about the shoulder without discussing the rotator cuff. We hear about it all the time in injury reports from our favorite athletes, but often don’t really know what it is. The rotator cuff is not a singular thing,but a group of four individual muscles that work together to perform most of the movements of our arms. The “meat” of these muscles is attached to the shoulder blade sitting on the back side of our torso, but some of the tendons attach to the front of that “ball and socket” joint and frequently cause pain there despite the problem originating from elsewhere.
The complexity of the shoulder anatomy can make it difficult to figure out for yourself what is wrong and how to fix it. But the doctors and therapists at Body Logic are experts at differential diagnosis and can help you determine what you need to do to Move Better, Feel Better, and Live Better!
And an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure- come learn more about the shoulder and how to keep it strong and stable at our upcoming FREE class on Friday, June 22 at 6pm Click here to register today!