Why Does My Shoulder Hurt?
November 7, 2023
Lately in the clinic we have been seeing an increase in shoulder pain and issues. These issues can be caused by shoulder discomfort or pain leading to physical therapy or they can be due to rehab following a shoulder procedure or surgery. But why do our shoulders have the capacity to cause so many issues for us?
First, the shoulder is a very mobile joint. In fact, it is one of the most mobile joints we have in our body. If you think about all the ways, you can move your shoulder it becomes very clear about how important it is for use to be able to do our daily tasks. You can reach up, back, out, across, and forward with your shoulder. You can do these motions with or without rotation and within small ranges or across large ranges of movement. The ball and socket design of the shoulder provides for great flexibility and overall mobility of movement making many tasks much easier for us to complete them.
This movement is great, and it is from the design of the joint, but the design of the joint also can cause some major issues. With the ability to have great mobility also comes the lack of structural ability to achieve it. Because the shoulder is a ball and socket joint it allows for movements in multiple planes, but to allow for all that movement there must be minimal restriction within the joint itself. This means that statically and structurally the stability of the shoulder joint is very low. This low structural stability requires increased dynamic stability to keep the shoulder functional. The dynamic stability of your shoulder comes from your rotator cuff.
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles with two functions. First the rotator cuff helps with moving your shoulder in the direction of internal and external rotation. The second function is the rotator cuff helps with stability of your shoulder or it helps to keep the ball in the socket of the joint. As you lift your arm away from your body the rotator cuff plays a vital role in preventing your shoulder from dislocation. You can see the importance this small muscle group plays in your function. Unfortunately, this small muscle group can easily become overwhelmed with its tasks. When it becomes overwhelmed it can strain or tear and cause other issues that need to be addressed medically.
The shoulder is an important joint to our daily lives. However if we don’t understand it and how to take care of it the lack of internal stability and the weakness of our dynamic stability can cause issues that will need to be addressed.