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Shoulder joints absorb a great deal of wear and tear during your lifetime and therefore have the potential to be affected by osteoarthritis. The glenohumeral joint is the correct term for the main joint in your shoulder. The outer rim of the shoulder blade contains a shallow socket called the glenoid. Here it joins your upper arm bone (the humerus) and forms the glenohumeral joint The other joint in the shoulder is the acromioclavicular joint (or A/C Joint). The acromium is a bony hook which curves around the top of your shoulder from the sholder blade to join your collar bone (or clavicle); hence the term acromioclavicular joint. Both of these joints wear with the passage of time and often have a role in shoulder pain and discomfort
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It is important to remember that muscle tendons deteriorate with age. This is largely due to the fact that water content of tendons decreases as we age and they subsequently become less plastic and compliant. The passage of time therefore makes tendons stiffer and less able to tolerate the loads that we impose upon them. This is particularly true of the most significant tendons in the shoulder joint (the rotator cuff and biceps tendons). The rotator cuff for instance is particularly important for overall shoulder function and stability and this is therefore a primary site for tendinopathy.
The anatomy of muscles in the shoulder is complicated. There are groups of different muscles that serve different functions. These functions include stabilising the shoulder joint, fixing the shoulder blade in postion or moving the arm. The most important muscles that stabilise the shoulder joint are the rotator cuff muscles (these are common sites of injury). Meanwhile the most significant injury sites specifically in the arm muscles are the biceps and triceps. In addition to this is also important to remember that the muscles that surround the shoulder blade are considered as part of shoulder anatomy. The muscles that fix the shoulder blade (Rhomboids, Trapezius and Levator scapula) act in correspondence with the arm and shoulder muscles. Trauma to any of these muscle groups will impinge on your gross shoulder function.
The main shoulder joint (the glenohumeral joint) is enclosed by what is essentially a sheet of ligaments (or capsule) that wrap around and encapsulate the head of the upper arm bone (the humerus) allowing a strong connection with the shoulder socket (called the glenoid). If the capsule is stretched (by trauma or by repetitive movements) shoulder instability can be an issue. Dislocation of the shoulder has implications for future stability causing Bankarts and Hills-Sachs lesions. The second joint in the shoulder is the acromioclavicular joint (or A/C Joint). This joint is also held together by strong ligaments. Sprains or injury often happen as a result of falls or contact sports and these are graded one to six depending on severity.
Frozen shoulder is an insidious condition that leads to constant acute pain (including night pain) , stiffness and progressive loss of movement in the shoulder joint. It is also known as adhesive capsulitis and the aetiology behind it is mostly unknown. It is difficult to define, diagnose accurately and treat effectively and serves us with what is essentially a biological puzzle.
In order to make the shoulder socket a deeper cup or socket for the upper arm bone to fit into, the outer rim of the cup is ringed by a tough flexible tissue called a labrum. This increases the depth of the socket and enlarges the contact area by an extra 20%.This makes the shoulder much more congruous (joins together better). If this is torn it can cause a feeling of looseness and instability. The two most common types of labral injuries are SLAP (Superior Labrum from Anterior to Posterior) tears and Bankart tears. Bursae are structures that occur throughout the body and they are basically little sacks of fluid that typically occur between bony surfaces and overlying soft tissue (such as a tendon) and there are roughly 160 in the body in total. They essentially act as little cushions that help to prevent the affect of friction. However sometimes they can become inflamed typical as a result of other developing conditions in the shoulder. Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a condition when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib (this is called the thoracic outlet) become squashed.
It is important to remember that another misleading aspect of shoulder pain is that it can be referred pain from somewhere else. The most common cause of referred pain in the shoulder is from the neck. Nerve root impingement (or trapped nerve) in the neck can cause a dull ache, pain or tingling in the shoulder, upper arm and forearm and hand. All the nerves that supply the muscles in the arm itself and shoulder originate from the neck. These nerves can be trapped by various different structures and processes. The most common causes are central or lateral stenosis, facet joint arthropathy, degenerative or herniated discs.