Tech Syndrome And Shoulder Problems

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Tech Syndrome and Shoulder Problems

If you are just joining us we are working through a series on how technology (mostly phones and computers ) can wreck havoc on hour bodies, and what you can do about it ! So far we have looked at the TMJ, neck and headache pain. You can catch up on this series at our web-site. The next few weeks we are going to look at the impact technology has on our shoulders.

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Posture Man

This poor guy should be looking familiar to you by now, as is what normal posture should be, and he isn't it! If you recall, normal posture would be the eyes looking straight ahead, the head over the shoulders, and the SHOULDERS IN LINE WITH THE EARS. When holding a phone, or looking at a computer, the default setting is usually the upper back pushed backward to counter the weight of the head, and then the shoulders rotate in and froward to balance the upper back. It is like a bad game of JENGA !

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It's 5 O' Clock Somewhere !

Here is what some of us feel like at the end of a day! Notice how forward the shoulders are rolled and matching the head forward posture. You can be pretty assured that as the head goes forward, the shoulders will follow. Besides just looking bad, what is the big deal with the shoulders rolling forward ?

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Quick Anatomy Lesson

If you look at someone from the side slightly behind them you would get this view (if their skin and muscles were removed). Normally the scapulae "floats" meaning it is only attached to the ribcage by muscles and only connects to two bones; the collar bone and upper arm bone (humerus). When the head goes forward and the shoulders roll forward and in, it compresses where the shoulder blade and collar bone connect (the AC joint). This doesn't happen in a vacuum though, all the muscles in the upper back and front of the shoulder "shrink to fit" kind of like Levi 501 jeans! This can result in several events:

  • Limited movement of the shoulder blade, arm bone (humerus) and neck especially it's ability to extended or "open and raise up".
  • Strain on the muscle attachment spots creating traction spurs.
  • Reduced blood flow to the muscles and joint due to loss of joint movement.
  • General breakdown of the joint of its structures over time.

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Which Came First ?

A lot of people end up seeking help with shoulder pain and arthritis in our office and while it is appropriate to evaluate and treat them,we often tell them they don't have a primary shoulder problem. What they have is a posture problem that has resulted in breakdown of the shoulder complex and resultant pain. While treating the shoulder directly is important, long term resolution isn't likely to come from an adjustment, laser, or even surgeries and shots. Stabilization of many of these conditions requires restoring the normal posture of the head, neck, upper back and shoulder joint !

Next week we will look at some simple self checks to see if you have an impending shoulder problem (no pain yet, but a problem coming) and / or if you have shoulder pain where it might be coming from. Stay tuned and stay healthy!

Yours in Health,

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