Choice PT: Shoulder Pain

Move to Live Your Resource to Moving Well and Living Life

(continued from outside) Instead of calling it the shoulder joint we should really think about it as the shoulder complex as it’s made up of four joints: YOUR SHOULDER PAIN IS MORE COMPLEX THAN YOU MIGHT THINK 2. Acromioclavicular: “AC Joint” where your collar bone meets your shoulder blade 3. Glenohumeral: ball & socket where your upper arm bone meets your shoulder blade 4. Scapulothoracic: a pseudo joint where your shoulder blade sits on your rib cage Each of those four joints is responsible for contributing to the overall motion that allows you to wash your hair, put on deodorant, scratch your back and put your seatbelt on. What happens then, if one of those four says “eh, I’m going to take a break” and stops doing it’s job? One or more of the other three joints is going to have to work harder to compensate for that loss. Usually, we can get away with that for a while but typically it becomes too much and that is where we can see injuries that just seem to “come out of the blue”… “I didn’t do anything different, my shoulder started bothering me one day”… 1. Sternoclavicular: where your collar bone meets your sternum

One of the structures that takes the brunt of that extra load: the rotator cuff. Also known as the “rotor cuff” or “rotor cup”. Just kidding, it’s not known as either of those, just the rotator cuff which is made up of four separate muscles. Each of the four muscles can be found on your shoulder blade, they then wrap around to the front of your shoulder. Collectively, their role is to work together as a team to keep the ball of your shoulder centered in the socket of your shoulder blade. Let’s tie it all together. Say that your shoulder blade isn’t able to move freely because one of your collar bone joints isn’t doing it’s job. Every time you reach into the cupboard to grab your coffee mug your rotator cuff is working extra hard to keep the ball of your shoulder centered in the socket. This goes on for weeks but your body’s good at compensating so you don’t notice. Now comes the weekend where the living room needs to be repainted. Guess who’s probably going to wake up Monday morning with a sore shoulder that “just came out of the blue”? All of a sudden your “rotor cup” problem can be traced back to a stiff collar bone joint. Wondering how your shoulder joints and rotator cuff are working? Give us a call or email me and I’d be happy to test them out for you. Many times a few simple stretches can help make sure things keep moving the way they’re meant to!

Have a great month! Joe

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