Shoulder pain is a common injury. Studies show that 18 – 26% of adults are affected by shoulder pain. The shoulder has the most range or movement / motion of all the joints in the human body.
The glenohumeral (shoulder) joint is formed by the articulation of the head of the humerus with the glenoid cavity (fossa) of the scapula. This type of joint is a synovial joint wherein the articulating surfaces are covered with hyaline cartilage. What’s the importance of hyaline cartilage? It’s a shock absorber! This allows your arm to perform a wide range of movements. The acromioclavicular or AC joint is the bony point on the top of the shoulder. It stabilizes the scapula to the chest by connecting the acromion on the scapula to the clavicle. The humerus serves as an attachment site to 13 muscles including the rotator cuff muscles, biceps, and triceps. All which contribute to the movement of the upper limb—the elbow and hand. The muscles attached to the scapula include the rotator cuff muscles and they assist with abduction and external rotation of the shoulder joint.
Because it’s one of the most-used parts of the body, it’s at a higher risk for injury, which is why it’s important to understand how to protect the shoulders as well as how to properly treat shoulder pain and injuries.
What can lead to shoulder pain?
- Poor posture
- Overuse of the shoulder
- repetitive movements
- Broken bone or dislocation
- Injured nerves
- Strains, tendonitis, muscle strain
- Impingement syndrome aka “swimmer’s shoulder”
- repetitive shoulder movements can cause inflammation in the tendons that attach to your shoulder.
- Symptoms include shoulder or arm weakness, minor but constant pain in your arm, and pain that goes from the front of your shoulder to the side of your arm.
- Adhesive Capsulitis aka “Frozen Shoulder”
- Characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint due to a thickened capsule of connective tissue in the shoulder joint resulting in restriction of movement
- Symptoms can get worse over time but gradually resolves but can take up to 3 years
- 3 different stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing
- Bacterial joint inflammation can lead to significant pain, swelling, redness, and loss of movement.
We rely on our shoulders so even the slightest amount of shoulder pain can affect how you live your life. When it comes to shoulder pain, studies have shown that physical therapy can be very effective in treating it. Physical therapy is a non-invasive, holistic treatment that aims to improve your condition and improve your quality of life.