No matter who you ask – a physical therapist, a massage therapist or a chiropractor, they will all say the same thing – “the shoulder” is the most common area of pain and dysfunction that they treat on a daily basis.
The shoulder joint affords us the most mobility or range of motion over all other joints. Mobility is a wonderful thing to have given the amount of freedom we’re given with our shoulders, but quite often, we end up sacrificing shoulder stability.
The mobility of the shoulder is achieved through the coordination of four separate joints and numerous soft tissue structures that together make up the entire shoulder girdle. Repetitive strain from pushing, pulling and throwing increase wear and tear on the joint. On top of that, muscle imbalances can occur between the front of the shoulder and the back depending on which movements you most often perform. Much of that movement engages the muscles on the front of the shoulder which can result in weaker muscles to the back.
Imbalances in strength can alter the alignment of the joints in the shoulder making the area more vulnerable to injury.
“Proper shoulder blade movement is critical to shoulder motion, strength, and function. For every two degrees of shoulder movement the shoulder blade contributes one degree of movement. This is known as scapular humeral rhythm.”1
Our posture can also have a huge impact on scapular humeral rhythm. Sitting for long periods in a slouched position causes the upper back and shoulders to roll forward ultimately changing the position of the shoulder blades as they tip forward and wrap outwards to accommodate a slouch. Over time, this new posture will alter how our shoulder blades move and could open the door for pain, injury and decreased range of motion.
For many, slouched shoulders and a head forward posture cause blood vessels and nerves to become pinched on the front of the shoulder
resulting in pain and numbness down the arm and into the hand.
Impingement Syndromes like the one described above need to be treated sooner than later to avoid symptoms that worsen over time and may effect strength and motor skills in the hand and arm.
Therapeutic Massage addresses poor posture, muscle tension and fascial adhesions to restore function and pain-free mobility back to the shoulder.