Learn why you might be suffering from shoulder pain.
It may be Swimmer’s Shoulder or Glenohumeral Impingement or Shoulder Impingement Syndrome.
The shoulder joint is effectively made up of three joints.
- The scapular (shoulder blade), moving on the rib cage and is integral to shoulder health
- The Acromioclavicular ( AC ) joint; connects the clavicle (collar bone), to the scapula( shoulder blade)
- The Glenohumeral joint; join between your upper arm and shoulder blade
All three joints are capable of contributing to shoulder function/dysfunction and need to be appropriately assessed to ensure effective treatment.
The Glenohumeral (shoulder ) joint is a ball and socket joint and is one of the most mobile of the body. The ball of the humerus sits on the very shallow socket of the glenoid (see image).
This structural setup means that to have effective shoulder function, you require both passive support (ligaments, labrum, and joint capsule) as well as dynamic support (muscular control and strength of rotator cuff and scapular stabilizing muscles).
Glenohumeral impingement occurs when there is compression between either the rotator cuff tendons and the acromion, or the rim of the glenoid and the rotator cuff.
Impingement can be internal or external depending on the structures involved. This means that there are two general areas in which impingement can occur, involving a number of tendons, the rotator cuff (Infraspinatus, Subscapularis, supraspinatus, biceps) as well as the subacromial bursa.
Further, the cause of impingement can either be primary or secondary;
Treatment of glenohumeral impingement/shoulder impingement syndrome begins with first determining the location of impingement, and the cause of the symptoms.
Physiotherapy techniques used often will include some soft tissue therapy, but will predominately require a strengthening program to address the deficits in not only the glenohumeral joint but also the scapula-thoracic joint.
The way your shoulder moves and your posture in your upper back will be assessed and corrected with exercises to try and improve the movement in the shoulder and minimize the chance of the impingement.
If you are experiencing pain and dysfunction within your shoulder, an appointment with your physiotherapist is necessary to determine the cause and appropriate treatment to help you return to function or get in touch.