In this episode, my brother, John Frank, joins me to discuss the shoulder complex. John is a physical therapist, athlete, and fellow lover of movement. So often, we think that the shoulder is simple, but the shoulder is, in fact, quite complicated!
When you see people, what are the main complaints people have in their shoulders?
The complaint usually comes from the front and / or top of the shoulder, so your bicep or your rotator cuff. There is never a blanket diagnosis, because the shoulder is so intricate. When you have pain when reaching overhead, you have to look at the whole complex of the shoulder, not just one place.
What is a good exercise that would help people re-educate their range of shoulder motions between the different parts?
Face a wall and put your arms overhead, and move the arms slightly out to the sides. Relax the arms completely, and pretend as though someone took their fingers on the lower part of your shoulder blade, moving it upwards. Be sure to keep your neck neutral in this position.
What do you see in the shoulder when people have a sloped shoulder? Is this something that can be helped?
Even though there are a lot of genetic features, a sloped shoulder is mostly acquired. The top of the shoulder blade and the bottom of the shoulder blade should be pointing straight down as vertical, parallel to the spine. People with sloped shoulders tend to have pain in their necks as well as tingling down the arm.
What can people with sloped shoulders, or conditions like that, do?
Definitely do the wall exercise described above, but also look at your posture. Shrugging the shoulders, and even raising the arms above the head periodically can help as well.