Strategies for Optimal Shoulder Function

Shoulder health is a complex topic and pain around the shoulder girdle can come from multiple sources. A recent post by Cressey Performance speaks to the complex challenge of keeping shoulders healthy for the professional athlete, the weekend athlete, and for everyone in general. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body and because it doesn’t have much inherent bony stability, it relies heavily on the coordinated conrol of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, shoulder healthligaments, capsule, nerves) to maintain optimal function. So it is important to remember that shoulder pain can come from many different sources and establishing a clear diagnosis can be difficult. For instance, tightness, spasm, and trigger points in the shoulder blade and posterior shoulder area a very common compliants but can just as commonly come from pathology in the cervical and thoracic spine as the shoulder joint. Trigger points and posterior shoulder pain are very common complaints and can come from mechanical neck pain, pathology within the shoulder joint itself, and from referred nerve pain (most commonly suprascapular nerve , cervical myofascial pain, and cervical radiculopathy).

The complexity of shoulder pain helps explain why there are so many types of treatments available (accupunture, chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, etc.). For resistent, persistent, or difficult to diagnose shoulder pain , consider an evaluation with an experienced shoulder specialist. Remember, an ounce of prevention means it is far better to consider a second, third, fourth, or even a fifth opinion, than to end up with a failed shoulder surgery.

Vivek Agrawal, MD

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