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Shoulder Pain – is posture the culprit?

In April this year I highlighted an article in a local Senior’s publication that raised the concept of pain associated with long term poor postural habits. Last month we touched on prevention of shoulder injuries.

In the summer months I’ve noticed a trend to a large number of people in the “boomer” age group who present with shoulder pain associated with some repetitive activity. These folks are volleyball players, tennis players, swimmers and some just play actively with their kids. The common element is a pattern of upper back stiffness, forward chin posture and marked imbalance between the muscles that support the shoulder blades and the front chest muscles (pectorals). See the diagrams below.

Pectorals get tight (left diagram, marked yellow) and mid/lower trapezius get weak (right diagram, yellow)



Normal or Neutral posture (A) vs. Forward Chin Posture (B)


Typically with this pattern, repetitive movement of the shoulder particularly in overhead activities, results in pain in the shoulder. The origin of this pain is a squeezing or impingement of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus (rotator cuff) tendons of the shoulder.

So – what to do? Most folks with this combination need specific exercises to address the muscle imbalance. That’s not all. When this pattern is well established, successful relief of pain typically on comes with a combined approach of manual therapy (“hands on” therapy) to release the tight upper back and neck joints, together with specific exercise drills and often anti-inflammatory measures such as local application of ice or electrotherapy modalities such as ultrasound, laser therapy or interferential current therapy.

Physiotherapists are ideally trained and experienced in the correct techniques to help you with shoulder pain. So – if this is you, don’t just suffer in silence! Give us a call or drop in to make an appointment.

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