Many of you will have read the title of this blog and thought to yourself “yeah, actually I do have achy shoulders, how did they know?”. Well, it's an easy guess. The majority of people that have worked a desk-based job, for an extended period of time will have achy shoulders. And it all starts with the shoulder blades (or scapula).
So what do our shoulder blades do?
The shoulder blades flat bones that have 17 muscles attached to them. It’s a triangular-shaped bone with its point at the bottom and a flat edge in line with the vertebrae and horizontal edge at the top. They perform 6 different movements: protraction rounding of the shoulders, retraction drawing the blades together in towards the spine, elevation, depression, and finally upward and downward rotation.
The scapula is not attached to the upper back or thorax by a joint, it simply just floats on muscle. It is in fact connected to the shoulder joint and forms the socket, plus, it attaches to the collar bone at the acromioclavicular (or AC) joint.
In order for the shoulder blade to move correctly, the muscles have to coordinate together to keep the scapula gliding around the rib cage.
But what happens if they don’t work together? Then the scapula becomes destabilised. This creates abnormal stress on the front structures of the shoulder and an increased possibility of impingement syndrome.
The most common symptoms in impingement syndrome are shoulder pain, weakness and a loss of movement of the affected shoulder. The shoulder pain is brought on by lifting the arm, and is often worse at night, especially if you are lying on the affected shoulder.
How can an osteopath help?
It is important to see your osteopath for a diagnosis of your shoulder pain. A session with an osteopath will include taking a thorough history and examination before arriving at a diagnosis. The formation of an action plan will follow and include the determination of further investigation and conservative manual treatment.
Give our clinic a call on 01722 512 043 and we can talk you through your shoulder problem.