Rotator Cuff muscles are a group of shoulder blade muscles that support the arm on the glenohumeral joint. As the shoulder is nested in a shallow socket and there is a lack of ligaments in this region, any weakness of the rotator cuff muscles makes it easy for partial dislocation, which is the head of the shoulder partially sliding way out of the socket, or full dislocation, when there is a complete slide out of the socket.
Injuries to rotator cuffs include: falling on an outstretched arm, lifting with faulty body mechanics and repetitive arm activities especially those done overhead like throwing a basketball or placing items on overhead shelves. Signs and symptoms of the injury include pain and tenderness in the shoulder area, weakness of shoulder muscles and limitation of shoulder motions.
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Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition where there is a restriction in the shoulder joints. Frozen shoulder creates intense contraction of the capsule that surrounds and supports the shoulder girdle. Muscles around the shoulder joints are inflamed and tender, restricting your movements and causing pain in the shoulder.
This condition typically happens to only one shoulder although one could have the condition on both shoulders. People with frozen shoulders will have difficulty with their normal daily activities such as combing their hair, putting on their shirts and scratching their backs.
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The shoulder has a wider and more varied range of motion than any other joints in the body. We can spread and bend our arms, rotate the shoulders and stretch upwards beyond the shoulder joints. Our shoulder allows us to do everything from carrying dishes to swimming, but this flexibility also makes the shoulder one of the most unstable joints in the body. The older we get, the more vulnerable we are.
The shoulder joint forms the connection between the trunk and the arm and is not held in place with bones. It is made up of a complex arrangement of bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons also known as the shoulder girdle which functions to give strength and varied range of motion to the arm. The shoulder girdle includes three bones: the scapula, clavicle and humerus. There are three joints in the shoulder girdle:
the Glenohumeral Joint (GH), also known as the shoulder joint, is a ball-and-socket joint where the humerus meets the glenoid on the scapula
the Acromioclavicular Joint (AC) is a gliding joint where the acromial process on the scapula links to the collar bone (clavicle). The ACJ is important in transmitting forces through the upper limb and shoulder to the axial skeleton.
the Sternoclavicular Joint (SC) is a double gliding joint between the sternum (breastbone) and the clavicle (collar bone). The Sternoclavicular Joint plays the part in all movements of the upper limbs, and is particularly important in throwing and thrusting movements.
Some people face a restriction in the mobility of their shoulder joints. This can be due to the muscles around the shoulder joints becoming inflamed and tender, thus restricting your movements and causing pain in the shoulder. Sometimes, a neck pain sufferer may experience shoulder pain as the pain from the neck may have referred to the shoulder.
If you suffer from shoulder pain, you will find it difficult to carry out basic daily activities such as combing your hair, putting on and removing your clothes or even just scratching your back. In addition, you may find that you have difficulty raising your arms, playing games like basketball, volleyball, tennis, badminton or any sports involving the rotation of the shoulder joints.
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The back of your neck consists of the cervical spine, the muscles and ligaments that surround and support it. The cervical spine is made up of seven bones called vertebrae. The centre of this column of vertebrae and discs is the spinal canal, which contains the spinal cord. The spinal cord is made up of nervous tissue that carries messages to and from your brain. Nerves from the spinal cord come out from between the vertebrae in the neck to transfer messages to your neck and arms.
As we age, degeneration of the vertebrate and discs in the neck sets in. Bones from the neck form bony outgrowth called osteophytes or bone spurs. These bone spurs irritate nearby muscles, ligaments and nerves, causing pain. Neck pain can also be caused by accidents that jerk the neck violently and over-stretch the soft tissues beyond their limits known as whiplash. These quick action compresses your neck vertebrae and strains the neck muscles as it pushes your head forward, thus impinging on your nerves, causing pain, numbness and sending a radiating and tingling painful sensation down towards your arms and fingers.
Bad posture during your daily activities can also contribute to your neck pain. For example, sleeping on your stomach and holding the phone with your neck. Emotional stress can also cause us to clench our neck muscles and tensing them up without you realizing it. Neck pain may radiate down to the shoulder or between the shoulder blades, it may also radiate out into the arm. This is caused by irritation of the brachial plexus which is a network of nerves that goes to the arm from the spinal cord in the neck. Acute pain can also force the head to turn to one side, causing a one-sided or double-sided head pain. The pain tends to come and go, with occasional flare-ups. You may have a pain attack after unaccustomed use of your neck or if you sprain a neck muscle or ligament.
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If you are experiencing a throbbing headache or find the lights too glaring, you are having a migraine. A migraine does not allow you to concentrate in your work and you may experience weakness, fatigue, or even feel nauseous. Symptoms may appear on one or both sides of your head or at the back of the eyes.
The human head weighs 4kg on average. If your head is not in correct alignment, for example, due to slouching or forwarded head posture, your cervical spine will have difficulties holding up the extra weight, due to the additional stress placed on the muscles and strain on your back and neck. In the long run, you may start getting neck pain, back pain and headaches or migraines.
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Long hours of hunching over the computer and poor working ergonomics will cause rounded shoulders and forwarded head posture, which gives rise to neck pain, shoulder pain, as well as head pain as they fall along the cervical spine. Long-term hunching of the back will also lead to shortness of breath and heart palpitations as it can congest your chest, lungs and thoracic area which is the rib cage and the upper spine area. Poor posture causes pain in these areas as well.
Often, one do not realize that bad posture is the cause of the pain and more often than not, they do not realize their postures have deviated from the proper posture, causing the pain to get much worse as the body is out of alignment. Some examples and causes of bad posture include walking with a slouch, carrying heavy weights on one side of your shoulders, reading while lying on your stomach and sitting in a curled-up position in front of the television.
Certain bad habits of daily activities can just be the cause, examples are:
bad posture by slouching
cradling the phone between the shoulder and neck for a prolonged period
carrying a heavy load on one shoulder
leaning on one leg while commuting in the bus or train
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