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Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain takes many forms.
Learning about your shoulder can help.

Rotator cuff problems, subacromial impingement or just aching and painful shoulders are sadly all too common. but at State 11 Soft Tissue Therapy, we’re Level 5 Soft Tissue Therapists and RAPID NFR therapists, which means we’re trained and insured to treat your shoulder pain, whether that’s through massage, soft tissue release, RAPID NeuroFascial Reset or one of the many other skills we’re trained in!

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is arguably the most complex joints in the body. Three bones make up the shoulder joint; the scapula (the shoulder blade), the humerus (the bone in the upper arm) and the clavicle (the collar bone). The scapula has many protuberances and fossas (hollows or depressions) to allow for tendons and ligaments to attach to the scapula, and one very large fossa called the glenoid fossa that the head of the humerus glides across.

Although these three bones make up the shoulder, they connect to each other and the sternum (the bone in the centre of the chest) at four distinct joints. These are the glenohumeral joint (where the humerus meets the scapula at the glenoid fossa), the scapulothoracic joint (where the scapula meets the rib cage at the back), the sternoclavicular joint (where the sternum meets the clavicle) and the acromioclavicular joint (where the clavicle meets a protuberance on the scapula called the acromion).

The muscles that move the arm and shoulder illustrated on an anatomical drawing

Shoulder Ligaments

The bones in the shoulder are connected together by ligaments which are tissues that connect bones to bones. These ligaments (especially the three glenohumerial ligaments known as the superior, middle and inferior glenohumerial ligaments) hold the shoulder in the right place and stop it dislocating.

Although there are a number of ligaments, the ones that are injured the most are the coraco-acromial ligament (if this thickens, it can be a cause of impingement syndrome) and the coraco-clavicular ligament (if acromioclavicular joint dislocates this ligament can rupture).

Shoulder muscles

As you might expect from such a complex joint, there are a large number of muscles involved in movement of the shoulder and upper arm. These include the rhomoids, the trapezius (“the traps”), the pectoralis major and minor (“the pecs”) and the deltoid muscles. However, the ones that get injured the most are the four muscles known as the rotator cuff muscles.

The Rotator Cuff muscles

There are four rotator cuff muscles, called the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus, the teres minor and the subscapularis. These muscles are mainly responsible for raising the arm from the side to above the head, and rotating the shoulder in different directions.

The muscles of the rotator cuff at the shoulder are shown on this anatomical diagram

Common shoulder injuries

Common injuries to the shoulder include injuries to the rotator cuff muscles, which can often manifest as difficulty reaching behind yourself for a seatbelt, reaching above the head, or struggling to put your arm into your coat

Another common shoulder problem is a subacromial impingement, which will also manifest as pain when the arm is raised.

Both of these conditions can often be improved using massage and other soft tissue techniques that we at State 11 are trained in.

Need help with a shoulder injury now?

Recognised & Accredited

Our team are recognised, trained or accredited by the following organisations so you can be sure you're receiving top level care regardless of your chosen treatment, injury being treated or recovery pathway

CNHCRAPID NeuroFascial ResetFederation of Holistic TherapistsRock Tape Rock Doc