Wednesday, March 24, 2010

EXERCISE OF THE WEEK - Chest stretch

There are many reasons why people develop shoulder impingement syndrome, but a major factor is poor posture. When individuals have poor posture, the shoulders tend to roll forward, the chest (pectoral) muscles get tight, and the Shoulder blade (scapular) muscles posteriorly become lengthened and weak. This stretch, using the foam roller is marvelous for stretching out the chest muscles!

(Terre's Photo)

- Sit on one end of the roller and then lay back. Your head should be resting on the roller and your knees should be bent with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart to provide balance.
- Drop arms out to the side. Let gravity stretch the muscles of the chest and shoulders. Hold for 1 minute.
- Bend both elbows to 90 degrees, forearms parallel to the ground. Hold this stretch for 1 minute.
- Move arms up, so they are becoming level with your ears, and hands are above the head (horizontally, not vertically). Hold this stretch for 1 minute.

Check out this video for more information and visual instruction:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TOPIC OF THE MONTH - Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common cause of shoulder pain. The symptoms can be pain with overhead activities, such as reaching, throwing, tennis serves, or putting clothes on. There may also be painful popping or clicking when you reach your arm overhead. Impingement can be caused by degenerative changes to muscles or bones in the shoulder and/or by shoulder instability and abnormal movement patterns of the joint.

The bony structure of the shoulder (glenohumeral joint) is inherently unstable and is the most commonly dislocated major joint in the body. Shoulder stability is due to a combination of ligaments, joint capsule, the glenoid labrum, and surrounding musculature of the rotator cuff and scapular (shoulder blade).

The cause of shoulder impingement varies from person to person. Repetitive overhead activities, either recreational (such as tennis, swimming, or baseball) or work related (such as construction, electrical work, or serving) are often contributing factors. Diagnosis of impingement syndrome can be made clinically based on symptoms, special tests of the shoulder for impingement, and, if necessary, diagnostic imaging to evaluate bony or structural changes in the shoulder.

Treatment for impingement syndrome has two primary phases. The first phase is to decrease pain and inflammation and the second phase is to change and restore the mechanics of the shoulder.

Initial treatment may include rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy modalities, and avoidance of aggravating activity. Low level laser therapy is also very effective to decrease the pain and inflammation.

Restoring the appropriate mechanics of the shoulder is achieved by an individualized program to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder and shoulder blade. Stretching short and tight muscles and joint mobilization may also be included in this phase of rehabilitation. Working to correct muscle imbalances of and surrounding the shoulder will allow the joint to again move in the ideal pattern and decrease the stresses on the irritated and impinged structures. By receiving the proper treatment most of the pain from shoulder impingement can be eliminated and can help reduce your risk for shoulder surgery in the future.

Monday, March 8, 2010

HOW IS YOUR POSTURE? (as featured in March's Newsletter)



A normal thoracic (mid/upper-back) spine has a naturally occurring curve. However, abnormal excessive curvature of the thoracic spine does occur. There are a few medical conditions that can cause this, such as osteoporosis, but the majority of people will experience excessive thoracic spine curvature due to poor posture!

With the growing amount of time we spend hunched over at the computer or slouched while driving or watching TV, excessive thoracic spine curvature is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. Even if you are one of the more active individuals, certain sports and exercises can also predispose you to this posture such as cycling.

This excessive curvature triggers chain reactions through the body, often leading to painful conditions:

• The resulting decrease in available movement of the mid/upper-back causes an increase in movement in the neck and low-back. This can cause these areas to become irritated and painful. So what you thought was a sore low back could be stemming from a stiff mid/upper back!

• Prolonged slumped sitting causes the pelvis to tilt backward which leads to a permanent lengthening and stretching of ligaments and muscles. Over a long period, the accompanying neural and connective tissue incorrectly adapt and this can be difficult to remedy.

• While standing, excessive thoracic curvature causes the low-back to compensate by excessively curving in the opposite direction. This causes increased pressure on the low-back spinal joints and discs, which could lead to disc degeneration and potentially disc prolapses, commonly known as ‘slipped-disc’.

• Pain and grinding under the shoulder blade is linked to excessive thoracic spine curvature. The shoulders roll forward which contributes to inflammation of the rotator cuff tendon, and to shoulder impingement pain experienced when the arm is lifted, making overhead exercises difficult.

Poor posture forces the neck and head to move forward which can cause neck pain and headaches!

So, what kind of posture do you have? If you have poor posture, it is imperative that you correct it before these injuries and conditions develop!