Shoulder pain can be complex because of how many parts of the body are required just to move your arm. The areas we look at are neck, shoulder blade, ribcage, shoulder and elbow/wrist/hand. If we look at all of these areas, we can fix recurring shoulder pain and can get you better faster saving you valuable time.
All of the muscles in your arm are controlled by the nerves that exit your neck. When you have an issue in your neck that will create a weakness in your arm. The weakest area or often the area that is working the hardest will get beat up and you will get pain. Tightness of the nerves in your neck/arm can also lead to loss of motion at your shoulder and weakness.
Your entire shoulder girdle is only attached to your body through your collar bone, so an issue of your shoulder blade will affect the shoulder joint. The shoulder blade position can create impingement of the shoulder. If the shoulder blade is tipped down and the arm tries to go up it runs into the shoulder blade (acromion) and you get pinching/pain in your shoulder.
Weakness of the muscles of your ribcage creates issues with your shoulder blade motion as we just reviewed above. When you have a stiff joint in your back or a stiff rib joint you will have weakness of that area as well. Poor posture creates weakness of the shoulder blade muscles as well. Check out our posture article here.
The job of the rotator cuff is to hold the ball in the socket. (The shoulder is a ball and socket joint). When these muscles are imbalanced the ball moves around too much in the socket and the shoulder tendons get pinched and create pain. Having a strong rotator cuff keeps the ball centered in the socket. Shoulder blade position and neck involvement (nerves from the neck control the rotator cuff) also affect how strong these muscles are.
The important part about the elbow, wrist and hand is that if the muscles are weak you may compensate by overusing the next muscles up (i.e. the shoulder) leading to overuse injury.
So there you go, a roadmap to fixing shoulder pain. Since everyone is different, we don’t use protocols and give out the same 5 exercises to everyone. We tailor a home program specific to YOU based on your evaluation. We will soon put out articles on the most commonly used exercises and little known exercises that are important, so check back soon for those articles.
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Thanks - Dave