The shoulder joint, or glenohumeral joint, is a ball and socket joint, often described as the equivalent of a gold ball (head of the humerus) on a tee (glenoid). In order for our shoulder joint to function effectively, there needs to be sufficient stability of the joint. Responsible for keeping the shoulder joint stable and functioning correctly are a group of muscles known as the rotator cuff muscles, as well as stabilisers of our scapula (shoulder blade). In people experiencing shoulder pain, it is important to address any strength deficiencies and retrain this group of muscles in order to restore effective joint movement (scapulohumeral rhythm) and maintain correct and pain-free joint positioning.
Bursitis of the shoulder can be caused by repeated minor traumas (overuse injury) of the shoulder joint and surrounding muscles; commonly the rotator cuff tendons. Specifically, the subacromial bursa lies between the coracoacromial ligament (shoulder stabilising ligament) and the supraspinatus muscle (rotator cuff muscle), it’s job being to reduce friction in the shoulder joint. This bursa may become irritated and inflamed causing should pain, especially when moving your shoulder joint through its range. Your physio can work with you on the important task of strengthening and retraining your stabilising muscles in the shoulder (especially supraspinatus) to help increase shoulder positioning and stability, leading to less irritation of the bursa and improvement or resolution of symptoms.
Impingement of shoulder occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles are impinged by structures in the shoulder. This can cause mechanical irritation, resulting in irritation, swelling and damage of the rotator cuff tendon. This may be due to abnormalities in shape of bones or the formation of bony spurs in the shoulder, or as a result of inadequate muscular stability around the shoulder. Physiotherapy intervention is beneficial in retraining the stabilising muscles of the shoulder in order to prevent this impingement, and reduce or eliminate symptoms.
Overactive upper-traps/levator scapulae (posture/overactivity in sport/lifting). These muscles joining the neck and shoulder can also contribute to your shoulder pain symptoms, if they are overactive and tight. We can help you calm these muscles down to stop them being overactive and retrain underactive postural muscles to activate and do the task they were designed to do.