Shoulder Problems: Here is how it goes wrong.
The design of the shoulder that makes it so amazing in how many different movements and positions it can go into is what also can lead to so many problems. Looking at the shoulder joint, there are three bones, the Humerus, Shoulder Blade and Collar Bone. Then there are the 4 muscles of the rotator cuff and another 10 that attach to the humerus. Plus all of the tendons, ligaments and bursas. With so many moving parts, there are plenty of places for things to go wrong.
The Most Common Shoulder Problems
Shoulder Impingement: This is when you raise your arm to shoulder height, the space between the acromion (part of the shoulder blade) and rotator cuff narrows. The acromion can rub against (or impinge on) the tendon and the bursa, causing irritation and pain.
Rotator Cuff problems/tears: The tendons of one or more of the 4 rotator cuff muscles can start to fray and tear. The tear can be small, or if left over time it can become a complete tear
Bursitis: The bursa is a fluid filled sac that lubricates the tendons as the muscle moves. Overuse or improper mechanics can cause it to become inflamed.
All of the above are descriptions of what part of the shoulder has become problematic. Many times the symptoms can appear the same.
Common symptoms of all of the above include the following:
- Minor pain that is present both with activity and at rest
- Pain radiating from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm
- Sudden pain with lifting and reaching movements
- Athletes in overhead sports may have pain when throwing or serving a tennis ball
- Pain at night
- Loss of strength and motion
- Difficulty doing activities that place the arm behind the back, such as buttoning or zipping clothing
We have found that all of the above problems, although different in location, start with a common underlying problem. That is faulty shoulder mechanics at the joint and muscular level. Over time this leads to a breakdown of the different shoulder parts. Which problem you get depends on which parts of the shoulder isn’t working properly.
That’s the bad news….
The good news is that many times by improving the mechanics and stopping the underlying problem we can reverse the above problems and others. Obviously if the damage is to severe it may be beyond being helped by just fixing the mechanics. But you would be surprised at how well the body will heal itself after the problem is fixed.
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