Shoulder Pain is becoming increasingly common. It appears that the constant reliance on computers and extensive hours spent behind the steering wheel are now starting to take their toll.
The main cause of Shoulder Pain – which can range from tight muscles around the neck to impingement and strains of the rotator cuff muscles to even the highly painful and impractical “frozen shoulder” – is the change in posture of the upper back and shoulder girdle.
As people spend more hours bent over a desk, computer, steering wheel, sewing machine etc., their chest muscles tighten, their upper back becomes more curved and ultimately, the shoulder blades start pulling forward. This change in position of the shoulder blade decreases the stability of the shoulder joint and therefore puts greater strain on the ‘rotator cuff’ muscles (especially supraspinatus) to support the shoulder joint.
Muscles under continual strain are highly likely to become inflamed and potentially torn – which is why supraspinatus tendonitis and inflammation of its related bursa (subacromial bursitis) is experienced by many people.
Treating the inflamed muscle through injections and anti-inflammatory medication is not adequate and will only be short-lived as the tight chest muscles, curved upper back and anterior (forward) shoulder blades maintain the stress on the rotator cuff muscles.
Get advice on work-station ergonomics.
Change position regularly (get out of chair every 45-60mins).
Lay flat on your back to stretch out the hunching.
Stretch your chest regularly.
Alternate arms when carrying shopping bags, children etc.
Apart from seeing an Osteopath to improve the flexibility and joint range of motion of the chest, upper back and shoulder girdle, here are a few tips to help manage and avoid shoulder pain: