I am very aware when I am teaching that I have a totally different range of movement in my left shoulder than I do in my right, and there are certain things which I can do easily with my right arm that I cannot do with my left. However, I know I am not alone, and many of us spend a substantial part of our day sitting and working in flexed postures, which can lead to tightness around the front of our shoulders and poor neck postures which can cause a knock-on effect on the way that we move.
We also live in a world of high stress and tension and I don’t know about you but when I am feeling stressed and tried, I always start to feel it in my neck and shoulders.
The anatomy of the shoulder area is complex and the shoulder joint itself (the gleno-humeral joint) has the largest range of motions of any of the joints in the body and the shape of the joint means that most of the stability comes from ligaments, muscles and tendons around the joint rather than the bony congruency.
Secondly the shoulder is made up of not just the shoulder joint but the joint which attaches the shoulder joint to the shoulder blade via the collar bone and the joint which connects the collar bone to the body via the sternum, we call this complex the shoulder girdle. Movement at the shoulder is complex, with not only all three joints and the associated muscles, tendons and ligaments contributing to how we move, but also our upper back movement will contribute to normal movement of the arm. Thus stiffness and imbalances may contribute to abnormal movement patterns and could be a source of pain when performing activity.
If your shoulder is just sore or stiff and you have not had an injury here are some of the potential causes:
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
MOBILISE YOUR UPPER BACK
Starting in 4 point kneeling, take the chin to the chest and tuck your tailbone under stretching out the mid back, release and open the shoulders lifting the chin and opening out the sit bones as you sink your mid and lower back. Repeat x 5
FOR TIGHTNESS AT THE FRONT OF THE SHOULDER
Lie on your side with your knees bent and hips stacked. Place your arms infant of you at shoulder height. Slide the top arm back along the bottom arm, slowly opening out the body and rotating the top arm to touch the floor on the opposite side of the body. Try changing the reach of the arm to find a good stretch at the front of the shoulder repeat each side x 5
Stand with your back against a wall and feel the boney bum at the back of the head against the wall. Try and keep your shoulder blades open and flat against the wall as you slowly slide your head up the wall (creating a double chin) lengthening through the crown of the head. Repeat x 5
Lie on your tummy with your arms by your side. Slowly lift the front of the shoulder away from the floor taking the shoulder blade down and back. Hold that position and then float the arms off the floor keeping the shoulder still. Repeat x 5
POSTERIOR CUFF STRENGTHENING
Lie on your side with a small towel rolled up between your elbow and your side. Holding a light weight take your arm to a 90 degree angle, and slowly lift the hand in a semi-circular movement, keeping the shoulder blade down and back repeat x 5