Newsletter  Winter 05: Moving Your Shoulder

Moving Your Shoulder  

How about this question.  How many times would you lift your arms above the level of your shoulder in one day?  The culprits?  Driving, eating and computers seem to take up the majority of our daily activities.  Longer commutes, being on a computer at work and at home, not only a mentally stressful scenario but think of those poor shoulder and back muscles.  How many times have they screamed, “Just move me”?  All of a sudden, you need to reach for that top shelf or across the car seat, roll over in bed or go out for the once a week game of tennis and your shoulder is stiff and painful.  Studies show that extended, repetitive use of the arms are directly linked to pain, numbness, loss of function and frequently accompanied by psychological stress. 

Is there a difference between a patient lying in bed on bedrest, developing stiff or tight muscles and those who spent the day typing on a computer with their arms at their sides?  In both cases the involved muscles are not being used optimally and the body is responding.  The shoulder is a very complex collection of muscles and joints, each being used to allow maximum mobility. 

Studies support the notion of there being a particular rhythm between your back, shoulder blade and your arm as movements begin to approach shoulder height and above.  These rhythms are developed subconsciously and depend on the health of the tissues.  If the tissues are endangered from over use, under use or surgical manipulation, an abnormal rhythm can result and stiffness, pain and possibly numbness begin, further limiting shoulder movement and function. 

This brings us to an interesting question, what do reaching and random movement have in common?  By moving our arms throughout the day, taking full advantage of our design, the rhythm of the shoulders can keep you pain free and working efficiently.

If you have any questions, please consult a sports medicine physician or your physiotherapist.