THE PAINFUL SHOULDER
By: Gary Dragon
The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. It is considered a ball and socket joint, but it looks like a golf ball sitting on a golf tee. This joint is held together by a complex network of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and a capsule. This network provides stability to the joint, maintaining the ball in the socket during movements. If any part of it is not functioning properly, you can develop a PAINFUL SHOULDER.
Shoulder pain is a common problem in athletes who perform repetitive overhead movements such as baseball/softball players, volleyball players and swimmers. Shoulder pain is also common in people who work with their arms over their heads such as painters, electricians, and carpenters. Repetitive movements can cause the muscles of the shoulder to fatigue and weaken. When a structure in the shoulder weakens, the stability to the joint is compromised, causing the ball to move abnormally inside the socket. As it continues to move abnormally, the rotator cuff weakens and is overpowered by the outer (deltoid) muscles. This muscle pattern results in the ball migrating superiorly (upward) by the deltoids instead of remaining in the center of the socket, causing pain and inflammation to the shoulder tissues. Continuing to perform your sport or activity with shoulder pain will lead to further injuries including rotator cuff tears and shoulder tendonitis.
Having a painful shoulder due to repetitive movements is not a season ending injury if caught early enough. It can be treated conservatively with physical therapy. If you are an athlete or work overhead and are suffering from unexplained shoulder pain, give us a call at Action Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine. After a thorough evaluation of your shoulder, we can start you on a strengthening and stabilization program targeting your shoulder problems. Don’t let on-going shoulder pain keep you from performing your best. Contact us at ACTION PHYSICAL THERAPY so we can get your shoulder BACK INTO ACTION.