What is It?
Postural shoulder is simply shoulder pain that is caused by the shoulder not being in a good functional position during movement. The pain that is felt could be coming from any number of things such as, muscular overload, pinching Rotator Cuff Tendons or irritating the bursa. The posture or position of the shoulder can therefore have a great effect on any of the previous problems that can occur in the shoulder and is therefore an important factor to consider or eliminate when another Shoulder Injury is present.
Postural shoulder pain occurs when there is a muscular imbalance around the shoulder, which is no longer allowing the shoulder joint and shoulder blade to move as it normally would. This results in unwanted increases in load or stress on individual structures in the shoulder through movement. Because of this Postural shoulder pain tends to be less consistent in location than the other types of shoulder injury and can therefore be a little hard to pin down. The pain tends to move position and intensity fairly consistently from one exercise or another. Movements that feel good one day can be uncomfortable the next only to feel good again a few days later. The type of pain can also be quite inconsistent varying from an ache, to a burning sensation to sharp catches in the shoulder sometimes even in the one session. However it is common for the shoulder to be generally achy and sore without having any obvious irritating movements.
What to Look for?
Postural shoulder pain is Inconsistent in behavior with a feeling of stiffness or tightness around the shoulder. You may feel like the shoulder is restricted in is full movement and get pain towards the end of the range of movement. It can also be easy to see a rounded or forward shoulder position. See picture for example. Often changing the shoulder position will also help decrease the amount of discomfort in the shoulder during movement. Another thing to look for is if you push into the muscles on top of the shoulder, in the back of the shoulder blade and the chest muscles they can feel very tight and tender. The last thing to consider is how sedentary your work lifestyle is. If your work is repetitive or you have to spend long periods of time in front of a computer it can have a significant effect on the health of your shoulders and the tension in the muscles we mentioned above.
What can I do?
The process for correcting postural shoulders is quite simple but due to the fact these postural changes tend to build over a long period of time it can take a while to get good long term change in the shoulder. We’re not saying you’ll be in pain for months, the pain should settle quite quickly, but it can take a while to get the permanent changes needed to keep your shoulders happy.