It is easy for the hidden parts of the body to go unnoticed even though they play a huge role in our everyday activities. However, in time these parts grab our attention with signals of pain. Ideally, we do not want reach this point; yet, we do. The shoulder is one of these parts that performs quietly until, due to overuse or misuse, it can’t. Here is where awareness, listening to your body and physical therapy can help.
The Southern California Orthopedic Institute describes the shoulder as 4 short muscles originating on the scapula and passing around the shoulder where the tendons fuse together to form the rotator cuff. Ligaments connect the bones of the shoulder and join the bones to the surrounding muscle. The components of the shoulder along with the muscles of the upper body, work together to manage the stress the shoulder receives when extending towards a cereal box, lifting your baby niece, or throwing a baseball. (1)
To accomplish these tasks, it is important to have flexibility in the shoulder region and strength in the surrounding muscle and tendons so that the shoulder itself is supported.
These muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint are known as the rotator cuff. They keep the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. The rotator cuff uses muscular stability and biomechanical processes through the scapula to allow the arm and shoulder to move freely in the upper body and torso. (2)
When the above muscles and tendons do not have the support they need often these conditions can arise: (4)