Monday, September 19, 2011

Shoulders - you're 'armless without them!

Being a rugby tragic, I was both despondent and delighted with Australia's loss to Ireland at the weekend. Despondent, because the Aussies played without much passion and delighted because the "young bride" is .. Irish! Reading all the comments in this mornings papers, I was concerned that injuries are already starting to play their part in the competition, and in particular, the Australian Captain was reported as having an MRI on a suspected shoulder injury, which thankfully, is not thought to be serious.

The shoulder joint is a very mobile, and inherently an unstable joint between the Humerus - which is the bone of the upper arm - and the Scapular, or shoulder blade. Together they form a part of the Shoulder Girdle along with the Clavicle - or collar bone - that also articulates with the Scapular, but is also relatively unstable though far less mobile than the "humero-scapular" joint. The purpose of the Shoulder Girdle is to provide a support and brace for the arm as it carries out it's various essential functions to feed and forage for the rest of the body.

The shoulder joint allows the arm to move in many directions and there are muscles attached that provide the power and dexterity to achieve such movements. As I sit here typing I am aware that most of the activity in my shoulder muscles is occurring in the pectoral muscles, which are tending to pull my shoulders forwards in a "hunched" fashion. In fact, I am pretty sure that the muscles that are intended to pull my shoulders back must be fairly flimsy by now, as most of the work I perform these days is in front of me,  and unless I consciously think about it, my shoulder posture has become .... "rounded", to use polite terminology!

Also, as a callow youth, I too indulged in contact sport and can remember injuring both shoulders as a result: put past injury together with current poor posture and the result can be pain, limitation of movement and even the need for surgery. Luckily for me, after such surgery to one shoulder some years ago, I met a physiotherapist - Justin Barich - who gave me some fairly basic points on posture and some exercises to do for the rest of my life, that have helped me avoid having to undergo surgery on the other injured shoulder, because, believe me, shoulder surgery can be very, very painful!

The moral to this tale: respect and protect your shoulders, and if you do need advice on how to maintain good balance in your shoulder muscles, then talk to someone who has the right experience and that, for me, is an accredited sports physiotherapist.

Ampersands & angle brackets need to be encoded.

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