The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body. It is a ball and socket joint, but unlike the hip which is very stable it sacrifices stability for an amazing range of movement. As such it relies on the strength and co-ordination of the many muscles that act on the joint to maintain function.
The primary muscles that control how the ball (your arm bone) sits in the socket (your shoulder blade) are the rotator cuff. These 4 small muscles are very important in maintaining good pain free movement and can often be strained and more seriously damaged. This leads to an ‘uncontrolled’ ball in the socket which can be the cause of pain that can suddenly or gradually arise and commonly refers into the front and side of the upper arm.
Some of the larger muscles in the back and around the shoulder blade control the position of the socket, another vital component to a healthy shoulder. It is important to maintain good strength of these muscles as well.
Issues with these muscles often lead to the majority of shoulder problems that present to the clinic, and it is vital to get in and see your therapist to assess these and guide you on the most appropriate rehab. It is very common that people try and continue when they have some pain that only occurs in some positions or activities however the underlying issues are unlikely to improve without specific focus of treatment.
Other conditions affecting the shoulder complex are Osteoarthritis, Frozen shoulder or collar bone (clavicle) issues. These can all be addressed by treatment, and even when that is not appropriate an onward referral to the excellent orthopaedic shoulder surgeons is often used.