The Weight of Our Shoulders
In hopes that we will soon find some normalcy in life lets talk about our most complicated joint in our body. This joint, mind you there are two of them that allows for double the complications, allows us to do the most mundane task, such as reaching for a paperclip, and allows us to perform skilled movements like throwing, swimming, climbing, pulling, and lifting.
Our shoulders are incredible tools that we typically take for granted. That is until we have pain trying to do simple chores like reaching for a can of soup from the cabinet.
Some quick facts about the shoulder joint:
- 9 muscles cross the shoulder joint. - The shoulder moves in 8 different directions. - It is made up of 3 bones. - Is the only joint that depends more on muscles for stability than bones.
As you can tell there is a lot that goes into shoulder movements. Because of that, you can also see why there are so many possible ways to have shoulder pain.
What can you do if you have pain?
Many treatment options are available to help people with shoulder pain. Surgery, is a common treatment but research is showing that for many manual therapy with exercise can be more effective. A study in 2019 concluded:
It (surgery) may provide little or no clinically important benefits with respect to pain, function, overall quality of life or participant‐rated global assessment of treatment success when compared with non‐operative treatment (Karjalainen, TV, et. al., 2019).
Kinesio tape, physical therapy, laser therapy, ultrasound and manual therapy are all non-operative treatments for people with shoulder pain. A study in 2016, found that patients who were treated for shoulder pain with laser therapy and manual therapy were found to have less pain and increased range of motion (Pekyavas, N., Baltaci, G. 2016).
What can you do to prevent shoulder injuries?
Shoulder injuries have been shown to increase the progression of muscle degeneration (Hebert-Davies, J., et. al., 2017). Remember our fact above about how the shoulder depends more on muscles to stabilize the joint then bones? This is why sedentary people experience rotator cuff tears without experiencing any trauma that could have caused the injury. They don’t have the ability to stabilize!
The shoulder is so complex that I could write and write and write about the different injuries and treatment options, but the reality is that movement heals and prevents!
If you want to avoid a shoulder injury exercise! If you want to fix your pain… EXERCISE! Unsure of what exercises you can do for your shoulder? Consult a professional (chiropractor or physical therapist) to get started. Do not think that you are cursed with a bad shoulder…you have a shoulder in need of good movement! Jeric Toney, D.C.