The Shoulder: Quite the Common Denominator

In this edition of Get In Motion I would like to explain the importance of proper shoulder and shoulder blade function. If our shoulder complex does not function properly, we are set up for a multitude of injuries and avoidance could be simpler than you think.

The quickest and easiest test you could perform on yourself is a simple shoulder abduction test. To set you up for success, stand up and use good posture before starting. Side-raise one arm at a time and check to see if you can get your elbow by your ear with smooth movement and without pain or great restriction. Failure of this test sets you up for multiple injuries not limited to the common ones described below.

The first and most obvious injury would be rotator cuff impingement. This injury happens when the shoulder’s ball and socket joint repeatedly pinches tendons of the rotator cuff, tearing or inflaming the tendons and surrounding area. Left untreated this could lead to debilitating pain.

Neck pain is another common injury consequential of a failed shoulder abduction test. When the motion cannot happen at the shoulder, the neck muscles compensate by elevating the entire shoulder blade in order to get daily activities requiring raising the arm accomplished. This lifting happens with every raise of the arm and overworks the neck musculature and leads to neck sprain, strain, or even headaches that throb at the base of the skull.

So, what is the cause of a failed shoulder abduction test? Most likely the culprit is longstanding poor head and shoulder posture. Slouching the head and shoulders forces the compensation pattern at the shoulder blade that trains your brain to cause injury instead of functioning properly. Prior trauma to the area may have changed the function as well.

Try the simple shoulder abduction test on yourself now. If you fail, make a wise decision for your body’s health and talk to one of the doctors here at In Motion Spine & Joint Center about help. To learn more about fixing your shoulder or injury prevention feel free to call us or visit As always, Get In Motion Spring Hill!