The Secret to Great Shoulders

When was the last time you can remember going an entire day without using your arm or shoulder joint – I bet you can’t and for that reason it’s important we make sure you have great shoulders.

The need for good quality movement in your shoulder joint is highlighted by just how important this joint is to our day to day lives.

Reaching up for a glass in a cabinet, hanging out the washing, supporting your body while getting onto the floor or picking up your child are all tasks that require sufficient strength and patterning of the upper limb, and tasks that could be impacted by poor shoulder movement.

If we have poor or inefficient movement patterns of the shoulder joint, performing these tasks day in and day out can have a cumulative effect on the health and strength of the shoulder. Months or years of poor movement can degrade the shoulder joint and impact our ability to perform daily tasks.

So, it’s pretty important to get your shoulders moving well.

How do we ensure this?

Shoulder movement comes from 3 key locations

  1. The shoulder joint itself: a ball and socket joint (similar to a golf ball sitting on a tee)
  2. The Scapula (otherwise known as the shoulder blade)
  3. Thoracic Spine (the middle section of your spine, roughly at the level of your rib-cage)

The shoulder in action

Let’s take the example of reaching straight up over your head as high as possible;

  • Good movement to get into this position requires cooperation and teamwork from all 3 components
  • The initial movement will come from your ball and socket. At a point the ball will want to come off the tee – its going to require some help to continue allowing you to raise
  • This is where the scapula comes into the equation. Your scapular movement allows the next component of movement to occur
  • The final few degrees you need to get your arm directly overhead comes from your thoracic spine. The joints in your spine allow you to extend backwards, helping the shoulder get into that final position

Getting adequate movement from all 3 locations is essential to a good movement pattern of the shoulder joint.

If one aspect is falling short, another will need to pick up the slack, and this can lead to unhelpful movement strategies, potentially causing some pain, discomfort or even injury in the shoulder joint.

So, what can we do to help?

A Precision Physio Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist is an expert in assessing the quality of your movement patterns. We can assess if and where a movement deficit is coming from and provide targeted exercise interventions to assist you in improving the quality of movement you are performing.

This will not only help with current or short-term pathologies but future-proof your shoulder to keep you moving well for the long run.

Book an appointment

If you would like to have an assessment of your movement patterns, or find out more, you can contact us on 02 8607 4000 or request a call by completing this form.

This blog was written by Alex Magnussen – Exercise Physiologist at Precision Physio St Marys If you would like more information, or to work specifically with Alex, you can contact him through the Precision Physio St Marys clinic: 02 9623 2220 or book in online.

Jon Perkins

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