Updated: Jan 24
Pain, tingling and numbness to the arms can become anyone's nemesis very quickly! It can limit our normal activities like preparing food, driving and pursuing our love of activity.
The question beckons - what is the common trigger of shoulder pain and neuropathy (nerve pain and tingling) in the arms?
Today's article is focused on a single stretch that can help alleviate shoulder conditions such as frozen shoulder and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (T.O.S.).
Common Symptoms - Shoulder stress, tension and pain - Arm numbness and tingling - "Frozen", immobile shoulder - Neck pain and headaches - Radiating pain down the arm
Anatomy of the Shoulder
The shoulder joint is one of the more complex joints in the body due to it's large, three-dimensional range of motion and the numerous overlapping muscles and related soft-tissues.
The shoulder is formed by the articulation of the humerus (arm) bone, together with the clavicle (collar bone) and scapula (shoulder blade). The intricate ligamentous system along with the rotator cuff muscles help ensure the shoulder is prevented from dislocation each time we raise our arms overhead or throw explosively. The larger muscles of the shoulder including the pectorals, trapezius, latissimus dorsi and serratus anterior help to provide structural strength to the joint and overall multi-directional movement.
The challenge that arises for any joint in the body, is the delicate balance of muscles having the optimal length-tension relationship to ensure the joint is suitably aligned and prepared for the demands of activity when called upon. In essence, we must learn to understand which muscles are SHORT-TIGHT and need to be STRETCHED and which muscles are LONG-WEAK and need to be STRENGTHENED.
This understanding is critical and can be the game-changer in shoulder injury rehabilitation and prevention of future shoulder pathologies.
Posture, Posture, Posture
Our posture, both mentally and physically, are our compass from which we are either traveling toward postural causes of pain and injury risk OR toward postural causes of pain-relief and injury reduction.
The quicker we can pay off our postural debt (negative thinking, anxiety, stress, tension, pain and improper alignment) through cultivating postural awareness, mindfulness, regular stretching and corrective exercise, we are serving our body for longevity, injury prevention, flexibility and recovery.
When it comes to the shoulder joint, the #1 root cause of shoulder injury and pain, is the classic rounded shoulders posture AND the duration in which we hold that position. This is where my golden rule of - the dose makes the poison - applies. The greater the time we spend with our shoulders rounded, the shorter and tighter some muscle groups become whilst their antagonists (opposites) become longer and weaker.
The clear sign that this debt is too much for our body or mind to tolerate, are the symptoms of mental and/or physical pain and disease.
Restoring Balance in 5-Steps
Move - increase your body temperature and blood flow to all your muscles.
Massage - using a lacrosse ball or foam roller to agitate the muscles.
Mobilize - move the joints in their full range of motion.
Stretch - focus on lengthening the short-tight muscles.
Corrective Exercise - focus on strengthening the long-weak muscles.
The muscles that commonly shorten and tighten in the shoulder include the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, subscapularis, latissismus dorsi, serratus anterior and the teres major. These are the muscles that need to be stretched just as frequent as possible, thereby paying down the postural debt for this joint.
Follow my video instruction below to immediately start paying off your postural debt and effectively stretch this group of muscles. To complement this stretch also strengthen the spino-scapular muscles as I've discussed in a previous article - My Secret Weapon to Avoid Pain and Arm Numbness.
Any questions, you can reach me at my clinic by phone: 403 589 4645 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please help me on my mission to relieve stress, tension and pain.
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Yours In Muscle Health, Jason Barlow, RMT