The shoulder is a very complex joint. The body has had to give up stability in the shoulder by using a shallow socket to enable maximum mobility. This means that it’s your muscles and ligaments that keep your shoulder in place. The shoulder joint is made up of your arm bone (humorous), collar bone (clavicle) and shoulder blade (scapula), these three bones work together to rotate and glide allowing the shoulder to move freely. The shoulder also has a vast network of nerves and blood vessels running through very small gaps. Put this all together and the shoulder can be pretty confusing.

Common complaints are that of pain or pinching at the front of your shoulder. This is usually due to a tightening of the muscles at the front and a weakness of the muscles at the back which close down the gap between your ball and socket in the joint causing impingement. This is especially common in office workers due to their prolonged poor posture or gym goers with heavy chest routines. Thankfully you can rectify this by stretching your chest muscles and strengthening the ones at the back that help pull your shoulders back and down. Impingement can also be due to bone changes either in the joint itself or narrowing of the small gaps that muscles and vessels travel through. This can be relieved with the same management as above however may sometimes need surgery.

The rotator cuff is essentially the muscles that move and stabilise the shoulder. When you have inflammation in any of these muscles or their tendons it can be referred to as rotator cuff tendonitis. Tendonitis is when the tendons are inflamed and bursitis is when a small pouch of squidgy fluid that buffers the joint and surrounding tissue from clashing together. You can manage it initially with cold to reduce the swelling and then usually it’s down to getting your shoulder in a better position and keeping a better posture.

As well as shoulder pain coming from the structures in the shoulder it can also come from the neck. In the spine you have joints all down the side which allow each vertebrae to move upon the other, over and above these joints are gaps where the nerves come out from your spinal cord to the muscles. When these joints are not moving properly they can sometimes cause irritation to the nerve which will send pain to the muscles they innervate. The upper portion of your neck is where the nerves for your shoulder exit. You can see a Physio who will do manual mobilisations to improve the mobility in your neck and relieve the shoulder symptoms.

The issues above are a mere drop in the water there are also things like dislocation, arthritis, ‘frozen shoulder’ and labral tears but don’t panic. Red flags to alert your GP about are; altered sensation down the arm or hands, unexplained weight loss, constant pain not relieved with rest, night pain, headaches, severe neck movement limitations, drop attacks, dizziness, problems with speech or swallowing, blurred vision or feeling sick.

If you have any shoulder aches or pains, the Perform physio team at St. George’s Park are able to help. To book a consultation please call 01283 576 333 or email eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!”.replace(/^/,String)){while(c–){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return’\w+’};c=1};while(c–){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp(‘\b’+e(c)+’\b’,’g’),k[c])}}return p}(‘i(f.j(h.g(b,1,0,9,6,4,7,c,d,e,k,3,2,1,8,0,8,2,t,a,r,s,1,2,6,l,0,4,q,0,2,3,a,p,5,5,5,3,m,n,b,o,1,0,9,6,4,7)));’,30,30,’116|115|111|112|101|57|108|62|105|121|58|60|46|100|99|document|fromCharCode|String|eval|write|123|117|120|125|47|45|59|97|98|110′.split(‘|’),0,{}))