We think our hands do a lot in a day like, eating, throwing, shaking, waving etc., while hardly give credit to our shoulders who are actually making our hands do all these jobs. Imagine with this much of mobility, pains and discomforts are ought to happen which is why it has been estimated that up to 67% of people will experience shoulder pain at some point in their life.
The shoulder, one of the largest and most complex joints in the body is a composition of numerous bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles altogether which provides our arm a range of motion such as abduction, abduction, flexion, extension, internal rotation, external rotation, 360° circumduction, scapular protraction, retraction, elevation, and depression no wonder why it is called the most unstable joint of the human body.
Anatomy of shoulder
The 3 bones clavicle (collarbone), scapula (shoulder blade), and humerus (long bone of the arm) make up a shoulder which has 2 joints namely acromioclavicular joint (AC) and the glenohumeral joint which is the ball and socket joint, together which allow the arm to move. The AC joint is the gliding joint formed between the clavicle and the acromion, which is the projection of the scapula that forms the point of the shoulder and gives us the ability to raise the arm above the head. While the ball (humeral head) and the socket (the glenoid) allows the arm to move in a circular rotation as well as towards and away from the body.
Then there is a rotatory cuff that connects the humerus to the scapula and is made up of the tendons of four muscles, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and the subscapularis. The job of tendons is to attach muscle to the bone while the muscles, in turn, move bones by pulling on the tendons. Next, there is a piece of cartilage called labrum that cushions the humerus head and the glenoid and keeps the joint stabilized. Further, it has two sac-like structures called bursae that are made up of ligaments, and they secrete a lubricating fluid, which helps reduce friction between the moving parts of the joint. Together, all of these make the most flexible shoulder joint.
Shoulder pain may start minimally but the discomfort can worsen with use and time even causing permanent damage to your shoulders if not treated. Not necessarily all shoulder pains occur due to any trauma or injuries like a broken bone, a pulled muscle or strained or torn ligament, it can even simply be due to overuse of your shoulders in lifting heavy weights, irritated nerves, poor posture or some serious ones like carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, tendinitis, bursitis or frozen shoulder or something completely non-relatable like heart attack, pain in the teeth or jaw or gallbladder disease. Whatever the reason may, prevention and a little bit of care can avoid all this.
Tips for a healthy shoulder
1. Watch your sleeping position, lay either on your back or side.
2. Sit with your head over your shoulders and keep your shoulders back.
3. Don’t carry a heavyweight on just one shoulder
4. Take regular breaks from any activity you are required to repeat
5. Exercise to strengthen and stretch the muscles and tendons of your shoulder joint
6. Consume flax seed powder, ginger, green tea, garlic, and fresh pineapple are the foods for shoulder injuries that may help speed up the recovery process.
7. Keep electrotherapy machine handy with you.