The shoulder is a very interesting joint. It has to move and function in nearly all directions. You need it for:
- carrying the kids
- lugging the groceries in the house
- upper body movements in the gym, but also lower body ones
- getting your work done, whether you’re at the computer or doing physical labour
What’s the one thing we often mistake good shoulder health for? Lack of symptoms.
What do I mean by this? Well your shoulder could have reduced function (less range of motion) and still be pain free. Does this mean it’s healthy?
I would say no. If you’re lacking movement in the joint and can’t perform tasks I would say this is a lack of health (even though your shoulder may be pain free). Your quality of life has been reduced. One study here.
So, how can you know how well your shoulder is doing and how can you work on improving it?
First, you have to have a measure to improve upon. It could be as simple as ‘perform my daily tasks and have no fatigue by the end of the day.’ Or we could measure objectively.
Here’s a way to measure… keep your buttocks and upper back against the wall and do not let your ribcage rise into extension as you bring you arms overhead. Now measure the distance between your arm and ear.
What to do about it to keep it moving?
1 – Do some soft tissue work.
Here’s an idea with the foam roller to help loosen up the lat muscles and muscles around your ribs. Find a tender area and breath into it. Hang out on it until it gets easier – it will probably take 1 – 3 minutes.
In this one (below) just roll up and down the soft tissues (muscles on the sides of your spine). Thoracic spine (as well as neck) movement will play a role in shoulder function.
Try those two movements. There’s many more you can find help with over on my Instagram page – @MattBradburyOLF
2 – Practice Daily.
Carve out 5 minutes per day to practice moving your shoulder with these mobility movements. The test mentioned above can even be one of the movements you practice.
3 – Ensure your neck and spine move properly. Lack of Motion or a shifted spine means poor mobility but it can also mean a lack of information between the brain and the tissue at the other end because of pressure on the nerves. (Your nervous system controls your whole body. If it’s not working properly it can affect you negatively).
Again, this component can affect you in ways you feel but more importantly in ways you may have no idea about. The only way to know is to test. Finding a Family Chiropractor focused on proper structure and function and then asking for a case review/conversation can be an important step in the right direction.
If you have any questions let me know?