Posture Library


Shoulder Pain

Steven Weiniger | Comments (0)

The shoulder is the most unstable joint in the body, but unless you just suffered an injury, shoulders shouldn’t hurt. If you’ve recently been injured, consult a professional. However, if your shoulder was ever injured (or your neck or upper back where the spine protects the sensitive spinal nerves controlling the shoulder and arm), you are likely experiencing the effects of posture adaptation. Usually related to weak or poor posture, postural shoulder pain is a common and often painful problem from constantly working to control and use your hands as you balance your shoulders on your torso. Shoulder pain, arm pain, elbow pain and even hand pain is frequently seen when there is also nerve involvement.


Shoulder pain is usually positional-- it gets better, worse or different as body position changes. You move, your shoulder hurts, and you then try to move a different way that doesn't hurt. This doesn’t mean you’re cured or even pain-free; it means you’ve limited your choice of movements—your body’s chain of motion—to a smaller range of options. Over time, shoulder posture distortions causes pain and breakdown ( i.e. Arthritis /Degenerative Joint Disease) in the spine and other joints from the stress of daily wear & tear. In time, compensation to avoid pain means you keep adapting until there is only one way you can move without causing pain. And then even that goes away and it hurts regardless of what you do. Episodes of shoulder pain may come on after over-activity or without apparent cause, and is triggered as body adapts to mechanical stress, weak posture and inefficient motion. e.g.

  • Hunching over a computer keyboard typing for hours at a time
  • Driving in traffic
  • Chronic posture stress such as holding a phone to your ear, carrying a heavy backpack, pocketbook, or child

The mechanical stress from these activities, week after week, forces your body to change in response to the unnatural stresses you’re placing on it. Shoulders can handle lots of stress. However, when you only use them in limited but repetitive ways some muscles become tight from overwork while partner muscles atrophy from lack of use. Ligaments connecting the arm to the upper torso stiffen and restrict joint movement. And one day you wake up with your shoulder feeling like you have pitched a baseball for nine long innings.

But your job requires you to use the keyboard all day, you have to drive to work or talk to on that phone, what can you do? The secret is to you move and exercise your muscles in the full range of motion, so everything gets worked and everything gets strong. If you spend most of your day with your arms raised in front of you (typing, driving, etc.), be sure to do exercises that bring your arms out to the side, down against your legs, and up aboveyour head.

Related Conditions: Rotator cuff syndrome, Shoulders bicipital tendonitis, bursitis, golf injuries, arthritis, impingement syndromes, joint dysfunction, nerve entrapment syndromes, performance care, post surgical adhesions, repetitive strain injuries, scar tissues formation, postural shoulder muscle strain; pinched nerve in neck; Cervico-brachial syndrome.

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