Shoulder Pain: Why can I do everything but reaching in the top cupboard hurts? - Paul Gough Physio Rooms

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Shoulder Pain: Why can I do everything but reaching in the top cupboard hurts?

This is one of the most common shoulder injuries we see here in the clinic.

The shoulder has the greatest movement of all the joints in the body and the rotator cuff is a set of muscles that supports these movements.

There’s only 3 ligaments in the shoulder which allows this high range of movement however this does come at a risk…..I bet you know someone who has dislocated their shoulder?

The rotator cuff muscles then reinforces the joint to give it a lot of support especially in movements above the head and backwards. However these movements are the ones that cause the rotator cuff overtime to become injured, tight and often catching on bones.

This catching feels like when you catch your finger on the door…..really sharp and gets you right in the shoulder!

I know what your feeling as I feel it from time to time due to my massage technique if I’ve had a long day.

This muscle is called the supraspinatus and it goes from the shoulder blade to under the collar bone. It sometimes catches on the collar bone as the muscles in the back of the shoulder are tight so there is less space under the collarbone for it to travel through.

What causes the shoulder to be tight?

Usually there’s three culprits……overhead activity, using it at work and poor posture.

Overhead activities place the shoulder in its most vulnerable position and the muscles around the shoulder tighten up to protect it, it’s ok to do it once or twice but imagine what happens if you do it repeatedly over and over again!

Working using your arm and shoulder in the same way also causes the same increase in tightness in the muscles around the joint.

Posture is the one that you can improve the most.

A poor posture further decreases the space under the collar bone and slouching your shoulders over works your shoulders and stretches the muscles going into the neck A slouching posture also turns of your vital core muscles so it’s harder for you to keep your head up…..and that’s the heaviest part of your body!

Will it go by itself?

Unfortunately it won’t go by itself, you might have days where it will feel often quite a lot better but it will never go away unless you change something.

What do I need to do?

Aside from treatment you need to stretch all your shoulder muscles out. Stretching the muscles loosens the joint up and increases the space for your rotator cuff muscles to work in.

Once your stretched we’ve then got to strengthen the muscles off in the back of the shoulder in between the shoulder blades to pull your shoulders back and give it the vital support it needs.

Every time you feel yourself slouching stop and pull your shoulders back and squeeze those shoulder blades together.

Sit upright like you did at school and got wrong off your teacher if you didn’t (or a board rubber thrown at you in my case) till you sat up straight……

Imagine you’ve got a piece of string through the top of your head pulling you towards the ceiling.

Switching arms at work if you can will also help relieve the pressure on the shoulder and it’s muscles and give it the rest it needs.

And if you’d like to know more, simply ask me, or to see how physiotherapy can help your shoulder pain press here:

Look forward to seeing you here again soon 🙂

Best Wishes

Kev 🙂





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Paul Gough
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