For the last three weeks we have been discussing different shoulder conditions that may be sustained from an injury. This week to finish off the series, we will be discussing a shoulder condition which is largely due to a postural imbalance; namely the shoulder impingement syndrome. When we look at the ideals in postural attitude, a person should be able to stand and sit with their anterior shoulder joints above their hip joints. This statement convicts many of us, since it is common to slouch. When we do this our shoulders are forward and rounded, causing undue stress in the anterior aspect of the shoulder joint, making us more susceptible to shoulder, neck and upper back problems.
Let’s discuss the effects muscle imbalance and weakness has on shoulder function. There is a powerful muscle group in the anterior part of the shoulder joint called the “pectoral major and minor” or chest muscles. Activities we perform with our arms in front of us, activates this muscle group. This is a common muscle group that weight lifters strengthen in the gym, because these are “showy muscles”. Problems arise when this muscle group is overdeveloped and causes an anterior pull in the shoulder joint. This anterior pull results in the shoulder joint riding higher in the socket, impinges structures, limits motion and cause pain. As one might suspect, when a patient has an impingement syndrome, treatment in part is aimed at balancing the muscle groups through a series of stretching and strengthening exercises.