Care of the Shoulder

Physically the shoulder is designed for mobility not stability.   The arms move in a wide range of motion across multiple planes. Considerable power can be generated in complex movements such as throwing a baseball or hitting a golf club. This degree of mobility comes at the price of low stability and increased risk of overuse injuries.

Keeping the shoulder safe is largely about efficient biomechanics. The scapula, humerus and clavicle work in concert to provide stability with the greatest range of mobility. If biomechanics are not sound, and the three are not working in harmony, injury will occur.

The scapula is the heavy hitter for efficient movements in the shoulder. The scapula lies on the back spanning T2-T7. It attaches to the axial skeleton only at the articulation of the clavicle – the acromioclavicular joint. This articulation site lies at the top of the shoulder joint. Tendons and ligaments run under this site and over the head of the humerus or arm bone. If there is dysfunction in the rotator cuff muscles, the head of the humerus bangs up against the acromioclavicular joint and can cause impingement resulting in tendonitis, bursitis, fraying and even rupture of delicate tendons and ligaments.

There are 16 muscles that attach to this “island” of bone that sits on either side of the spine. These muscles move the scapula to support the movement of the arm and provide maximal stability. For every two degrees the arms move in abduction the scapula move one degree.

The scapula can move in many directions including elevation, depression, abduction, adduction, upward rotation, downward rotation and winging. Holding patterns from repetitive activities in daily living can create postural imbalances. Today’s modern society with its’ reliance on the computer causes us to sit with a head forward rounded shoulders flexed low back posture. Over time this results in chronic downward rotation of the scapula and high risk of impingement.

Energetically the shoulders are in the domains of the fourth and fifth chakras. Deficiencies in the fourth and fifth chakras can result in kyphotic posture with protracted, elevated and downwardly rotated scapula.

Balance in the fourth chakra requires openness to loving and being loved particularly as it pertains to our-selves. Self-love is difficult and self-compassion is necessary to allow our body to heal. Guard against the inner critic that keeps the mind in negative rumination and prevents the body from healing.

Balance in the fifth chakra is dependent upon authentic communication and creative expression of our deepest desires. Knowing what we want through fourth chakra exploration positions us to speak our mind and create a life that increases our vibrational frequency.

Keep the shoulders safe through care of the physical and energetic body. Physically, work to maintain postural balance by stretching pectoralis minor and strengthening trapezius and serratus anterior to prevent downward rotation of the scapula. Energetically, work to maintain self-compassion and speaking from the heart with compassion and empathy.

 

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