Hi everyone. Today we’ll be looking at a fascinating part of the body: the shoulder. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. Comprised of an intricate system of ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves, it is capable of a huge range of movement – the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body, in fact. Each of its parts is interwoven to perform the tasks required of it, if just one link in the movement chain becomes problematic, the effect radiates through the entirety of the shoulder complex – like a domino effect – causing damage and pain. This is particularly seen in the rotator cuff, which is the source of stability and control for the shoulder.
Poor posture, a low level of upper body strength, and ageing are all factors that can contribute to the compromising of rotator cuff tendons and increase the risk of injury: poor posture causes the scapula (shoulder blade) to sag, a lack of upper body strength reduces the body’s ability to hold the scapula in a steady position, and as we grow older – from the age of thirty upwards, in fact – our tendons become less elastic. Problems relating to the rotator cuff are notoriously difficult to treat and slow to settle.
This Week’s Top Tip: Increase Your Range
There are a few practices that can assist in retaining the health of shoulder tendons, thereby decreasing the likelihood of injury your rotator cuff:
i. Stay active. A good level of general fitness makes the tendon tissues healthy and resilient.
ii. Maintain a good shoulder range. Be sure to take your shoulders through their full range of movement each day: lift them right up over your head, behind your back, and out to the sides.
iii. Keep good movement throughout your lower back (in your thoracic spine). This is especially important if you tend to sit for long periods of time (for example, if you work an office job). Arching your back or lying over a rolled up towel is a great way to assist with this.
iv. Perform this simple exercise daily: first, sit or stand nice and tall. Then, gently squeeze your shoulder blades back and down, being sure not to arch your back, and release. Perform ten repetitions.
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