Medical Musings, Health Hypotheses & Therapeutic Thoughts
Some potential causes
Shoulder pain can be debilitating - you don't realise how much you use your arms until you can't any more!
What's more, shoulder pain can be due to any one of a number of structures within the shoulder itself (it's a complicated area!), or it can come from the neck, thorax (upper and mid-back), or ribs - commonly, several of these at once. It is also possible for various problems with the internal organs (or 'viscera') to refer pain to the shoulder, such as the heart, lungs, liver or gallbladder, or stomach (among others).
For this reason, your osteopath will ask you lots of questions that might not seem relevant to the pain you are feeling, but please bear with us - there is method in our madness! They will also perform a number of examinations and assessments of these different areas before coming up with a treatment plan.
This will often involve a stretching and strengthening regime for the affected areas. While this is important for many areas of the body, it can be even more crucial for shoulder issues. Not many people realise that your arm is only connected to the rest of the skeleton through your collarbone (or 'clavicle'). This is not a very strong bony connection, obviously, so the body relies on heaps of different muscles to help control and stabilise the area. Many of these are shared, and help with movement and control of the neck, or breathing, or the torso, or all of the above! If some of these are too tight, or too weak, this leads to problems. Elbow and wrist function is also very important - any issues in these areas will track 'further up the chain', so this will also need to be checked.
In the next few weeks, we will consider some of the more common reasons for shoulder pain, and suggest a few things you can do to help them.
Obviously, a blog post is no substitute for professional assessment and treatment of an area, so be careful when and if you follow any advice contained in one, and contact your health professional if you have any questions or concerns.