TuneUpFitness Blog

The “Good” Shoulder Jam

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Do you want to soar through the air on a flying trapeze? Or maybe you have a slightly smaller ambition like being able to carry your groceries home without feeling agonizing pain or irritation in your shoulders? Whether performing daredevil stunts or day-to-day activities, your shoulders need to be organized to remain pain-free.

The glenohumeral joint (aka shoulder joint) is a shallow ball and socket joint, which gives the upper arm bone a great deal of mobility. The structure of the joint allows us to move our arms in many different ways but also comes with some downfalls. One being that the joint itself isn’t exceptionally stable – it relies on the musculature surrounding it, particularly the rotator cuff muscles, to stabilize it. If the rotator cuff muscles aren’t strong or are impeded in some way, the integrity of the entire joint is at risk. Another consideration to make when examining the health of the shoulder joint is the balance of tension and tonicity amongst the muscles that attach to the bones of the shoulder. For example, a common issue caused by modern conveniences (think hunching over a computer, cell phone use, etc.) is that the chest and anterior arm muscles become tight and stuck while the back and posterior arm muscles become overstretched and weak. This can create an uneven pull on the joint, which consequently creates poor alignment and compensatory patterns in the shoulder and rest of the body.

gray's illustration of the rotator cuff
The rotator cuff helps to stabilize the humerus within the shoulder joint.

The particular pattern I described above often results in the head of the humerus (aka upper arm bone) tilting anteriorly. When this occurs, the arm bone is not nestled neatly in the glenoid fossa of the scapula (aka shoulder joint). Instead, it presses forward into the soft tissue, muscle, tendons and ligaments that surround it. This can result in tendonitis, bursitis, impingement, and other related conditions. When “-itis” (aka inflammation) and degradation occur at the joint, the “good jam” (structures like cartilage and bursi, along with vital fluids within the joint) which act to cushion the joint start to wear down. Without this built in cushion system, bones would knock into or grind up against each other, causing deterioration of bone and other soft tissues. This protective cushioning can also be worn down by repetitive stress or an accident or injury. When this happens we run into the “bad jam,” – when bones knock into other bones, ligaments or muscles, causing potential pain and further injury.

What can we do to avoid the bad jam and keep the good jam intact? Yoga Tune Up ® system provides a multitude of ways to create stabilization in the shoulder joint, free up tension in muscles of the chest, back and shoulders and balance the tonicity of the rotator cuff muscles. Come back Friday for my favorite ways to reset and revive the shoulder joint!


Enjoyed this article? Read Get Your Infraspinatus to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Learn more about the shoulder joint and how to heal shoulder pain. 

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