APRIL FOCUS – THE SHOULDER

Have you been following the exercises on the monthly posts? Set aside 10 minutes a day to give them a go, and see how you feel.

THE SHOULDER


Anatomically the shoulder is considered a complex of joints. It consists of four joints; the glenohumeral (ball and socket), the acromio-clavicular (on the tip of the shoulder), the sterno-clavicular (between the collar bone and breastbone), and the scapulo-thoracic joint (between the shoulder blade and ribcage).

Injuries may occur in one or some of these areas. As they are all so closely associated, it is easy for a problem in one area to have a knock-on effect in another part of the complex. The joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments are commonly injured.

The nature of an injury provides valuable information as to which structures have been damaged. This alongside examination and testing allow the Osteopath to make a diagnosis and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

The shoulder is a mobile complex, and can easily be placed under excessive strain. Commonly injured by sporting activity, falls, bad postural habits, or possibly excessive strain is placed on the area from an injury elsewhere.

SHOULDER EXERCISES


These exercises shouldn’t cause pain, if you experience a problem, stop the exercise and consult your Osteopath or other medical practitioner. If you have an existing complaint, it would be wise to consult your practitioner to check these exercises are appropriate for you.



Pectoral muscle stretches


Standing level with the doorway, place a flat palm and forearm against a door frame, start with your left side. Take a step forward with the left leg in a lunging motion. Keep the arm fixed on the door frame and your body facing forward. You should feel a stretch across the front of your chest. Hold for a slow count of 30. Turn around and repeat on the right hand side.

You can stretch different parts of the muscle by slightly altering your arm position. Try starting with your elbow level with the shoulder, then slightly below, then slightly higher.

Gentle shoulder articulation


Place one hand on the shoulder of the same side. Draw circles with the elbow. Draw 5 in a forward direction, then 5 in a backwards direction. Try and keep your body facing straight forward as you do it, so to focus the movement at the shoulder.

Shoulder blade fixation

This is a great one for correct shoulder position. Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears, then use the muscles (“the lats”) underneath your shoulder blades to pull your shoulder blades down. You should try and aim to have a degree of activation in these muscles as much as possible on a daily basis. This will have a positive affect on spinal and shoulder position.
Internal rotation of the shoulder (“the towel drying exercise”)

Take a scarf or something similar and place one end in each hand behind your back. Have one hand at lower back level, and the opposite above shoulder level. You are working the shoulder of the lower hand. Pull gently with the top hand to ease the lower hand up behind your back, Hold gently for a slow count of 2, repeat 5 to 10 times. Then repeat on the other side.
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