Shoulder pain is the second most common musculoskeletal complaint when patients seek care from a doctor.* In this post we want to shed some light on why you might develop shoulder pain and how to get relief using simple stretches. We find the most common cause of shoulder pain is a condition called Impingement Syndrome. The typical symptom of Impingement Syndrome is a sharp, “pinching” pain along the top of the shoulder when reaching overhead, laying on the affected shoulder, or reaching behind your back.
What causes Impingement Syndrome?
If you follow your clavicle out to the bony edge at the top of your shoulder, you’ll end up at your Acromioclavicular joint (AC joint). Beneath that joint is the supraspinatus muscle, which is a small muscle that makes up part of the rotator cuff. This muscle is most commonly pinched between the AC joint, and the head of the humerus (the part of your arm bone that looks like a ball). This pinching can occur due to a few things:
- “Rounded shoulders” due to tight chest and posterior shoulder muscles
- Inability to control the scapula (shoulder blade) to the rib cage
- A tight posterior shoulder capsule pins down the AC joint when raising the shoulder
- Degenerative changes occur narrowing space for the supraspinatus tendon to pass through
What can I do to fix it?
We use many approaches to tackle this condition, but here are some easy stretches you can try at home to ease and prevent your pain. First, you can try the sleeper stretch, which is a great stretch to the posterior capsule. This can be a particularly tender stretch, so start slowly. Another great stretch to try is the pec minor stretch. This can address the tightness in the chest that is commonly attributed to poor posture in sitting.
We hope this information helps you to care for yourself. Most shoulder pain can be addressed and prevented with a little attention and effective movements. Like with many things in life, you have to use it or you may lose it.
Please take note: every person is unique, and so are pains and symptoms that come along. If you have symptoms that aren’t responding to these exercises, it’s likely you may have something else going on. We strongly encourage you to seek the help of a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis, and a plan of care to address it. If you’d like to make an appointment with a Chiropractor at our office, click the link below to check our availability. Get Well. Stay Well.
* In case you are curious, the most common musculoskeletal complaint is low back pain. We can help you with low back pain too!