The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in our body and because of that, shoulder injuries are relatively common. The most common shoulder injury involves a group of 4 small muscles in the shoulder called the rotator cuff muscles. The function of these muscles is to stabilize the shoulder into the socket. The muscle that is primarily involved is called the supraspinatus and its tendon can be inflamed, partially torn, or completely torn due to poor posture, repetitive movement, or trauma. When you’ve sustained a shoulder injury, you may find it difficult to lift the arm above shoulder height because of pain, weakness, or both.
Most often, poor posture and repetitive movement contributes to shoulder discomfort. Poor posture causes forward positioning of the shoulders and rounding of the upper back which leads to muscular imbalances. This posture places stress on the shoulder with lifting, pushing, pulling, and reaching movements and overtime, can gradually wear down the supraspinatus tendon.
The overhead, or shoulder, press is a repetitive movement commonly seen in the gym but one that requires an understanding on how to utilize the lower trapezius, a muscle that helps stabilize the shoulder blade. Without this understanding, this exercise can primarily turn into a deltoid, and possibly upper trapezius, exercise. If the weight is heavy enough, improper mechanics of an overhead press can lead to a partial or complete tear of the supraspinatus tendon.
In order to address shoulder pain and restore it’s function, it’s vital to address posture, muscular imbalances, neck mobility, shoulder blade stability, and even breathing mechanics and core stability.
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