Posture can have a direct affect on basic shoulder motion and health. Reinforcing proper posture can work wonders for shoulder, upper back, and neck complaints. All of these areas are interconnected and dependant on each other for both movement and stability. Additionally, the ribcage is the foundation of the shoulder complex. It is the structure which anchors the scapula and is the base which it moves upon. Improper or malpositioning of these structures can lead to faulty mechanics and is a precursor to injury.
I’ve injured my Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff is an often-misunderstood group of small muscles which work in conjunction to maintain joint centration (maintaining the proper positioning of the humeral head in the glenoid socket). The muscles which make up the rotator cuff include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. Individually, they all have specific functions however there main purpose is to work together to preserve dynamic shoulder stability. The rotator cuff shoulder be pictured as a sleeve which encapsulates the shoulder holding it in proper positioning as the arm produces desired actions. The rotator cuff must be addressed as one functional unit not four individual muscles. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in our body allowing movement in multiple planes and relies on the synergistic firing of this sleeve not one muscle with one function.
The boney make-up of the shoulder joint resembles that of a golf ball on a tee so there is an inherent lack of structural stability provided from our skeleton. Therefore, we rely heavily on these four muscles to both rotate the shoulder and maintain proper joint positioning. When an injury occurs to the cuff certain muscles may ‘turn off’ leading to weakness in certain positions and over activation from the uninjured counterparts. The body will always find a way to attempt to maintain control. However, this may come at the expense of other healthy muscles. The over activated structures may eventually fatigue, reducing overall stability and further increasing the chance of injury. This can lead to a downward spiral and greatly increased your chance of a serious shoulder aliment.
Typical rehab programs usually consist of simple banded rotation exercises in specific directions. However, when taking a closer look, the rotator cuff does far more than just simply rotate the shoulder. What’s more important is the ability of all four muscles to work together to reflexively contract to maintain proper joint position. Also, to stop unwanted sways or improper movement to fend off potential injury.