SHOULDER ‘IMPINGEMENT’ SYNDROME
The shoulder is a wonderfully mobile joint of the body made up of primarily muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. But this flexibility can often lead to pain and problems in attempting to coordinate and stabilize movements of the upper limb.
A common problem that many encounter is the impingement of these tissues within the shoulder during overhead activities. Often this is due to either muscle weakness or altered mechanics during these activities. When the arm is at one’s side, the position of these tissues is relatively relaxed and comfortable. But when the arm is raised out to the side to approximately 90 degrees, the space for these structures becomes abnormally small and so there is less room for error and a greater chance of pain and problems
A very good and appropriate exercise to assist in the improved coordination and use of these tissues is the following:
In standing, arms at the side and elbows slightly bent, first the shoulder blades should be somewhat squeezed and drawn back together. Then in new position, the arms are lifted up and out at about a 30 angle forward from the side of the body. As the elbow comes up to around 90 degrees, the ‘top’ of the shoulder should stay ‘down’ as the elbow comes ‘up’. This will appropriately use the muscles of the shoulder without abnormally compressing the tendons and tissues involved in the activity. When this can be accomplished correctly and repetitively, resistance can be added for a good therapeutic strengthening program of the shoulder.
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