Treating Shoulder Injuries
Treating shoulder injuries is a very common occurrence in my office, especially amongst my competitive clients. Before we tackle how to rehabilitate a shoulder-based injury, we need to understand what supports the shoulder joint.
First, the shoulder is a ball and socket joint, which means it can move in all directions just like our hip. It is formed by the humerous bone fitting into the scapula. Knowing that these two bones form the joint, biggest question is what holds it all together?
We have previously discussed the anatomy of the deltoid, but this isn’t the shoulder and the deltoid does not facilitate the stability in the joint of the shoulder. There are four muscles that construct this amazing matrix of support of the should: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and the subscapularis muscles. Each of these muscles play an important role in proper shoulder rehabilitation.
Let’s summarize the actions of each muscle so that we understand how to appropriately rehab in order to prevent possible shoulder injury:
1) Supraspinatus is the main “elevator” for the rotator cuff (0-60 degrees involves this muscle).
2) The infraspinatus helps to extend and rotate the rotator cuff.
3) Teres minor performs a similar action to the infraspinatus but helps to further externally rotate the rotator cuff.
4) Lastly, the subscapularis aids in rotating internally and also lowering the shoulder.
And guess what? All of these muscles are used to also rehab and build the smaller muscles. We have a tendency to negate them because these are not visible muscles we can see, but they are very cool important.
I demonstrate three different movements which involve all these muscles with using bands. You can perform these motions using a free weight or cable, but I strongly prefer utilization of the bands. The tension that is maintained will be more beneficial, and it will build the stability we truly need with these intrinsic muscles. Control is expressed both through eccentric and concentric phases of each exercise, and any ballistic or quick paced movement would do more agitation to the rotator cuff muscles, as well as possibly add further degraded pressure.