A lady came to see us a couple of days ago who has been having semi-regular discomfort around her R shoulder on and off for a while that was also affecting her available range of motion in her shoulder and going up into her neck.
Now I have looked at this ladies shoulder a couple of times and she came back in this time with a similar problem suggesting that either I was missing something in her shoulder or that the problem wasn’t her shoulder at all.
Obviously everything in our body is supposed to work in tandem with everything else and has the ability to have an affect on other systems and things that it is connected to. Our shoulder for instance is connected to our opposite side hip on our front via the oblique muscles and on our back via the latissimus doris and the thoraco lumbar fascia (TLF).
These connecting muscles and fascia allow for force transmission when we crawl and then walk making us far more efficient than if they weren’t there. However, when there is a problem in one of those chains then everything can become disrupted and a problem will show up somewhere – but often not where the problem is.
Approximately 10-15 years ago this lady suffered from some pubic symphysis and left hip pain during pregnancy. Could it be that this was somehow linking to her right shoulder now? Worth a look for sure.
We found that when she was seated or laying down her shoulder range of motion and strength was the same but when she was stood up this had a detrimental affect on both her strength and her range of motion. So when she was stood and loading through her hips this negatively affected her shoulder. Interesting.
So I’m sure you are wondering how in reality this works. Well this lady had a very sensitive and irritated left inguinal ligament (the inguinal ligament attaches the pubic symphysis to the anterior superior iliac spine – the bony bit that you have on the front of either side of your hips). A number of muscles that help control rotation attach to this ligament or have a common attachment point. One of these muscles is the internal oblique muscle, this muscle helps flex our torso and works in conjunction with the opposite side external oblique to help create rotate your right shoulder forward.
The external oblique attaches from rib 5-12 and down to the top of our hips and also has connective tissue (fascia) attachments to the serratus anterior, and the serratus anterior is one of the most important muscles in controlling our shoulder blade. So there is the connection between one side hip and the opposite shoulder.
We found that when we restored this ladies ability to control rotations through her hips her right side shoulder shoulder function also improved as they are both part of the same system and this also relieved a lot of tension in the right side of her neck.
We find things like this in clinic quite regularly and if you are treating, or being treated for, the same problem over and over again then you are probably not treating the problem at all.
If this sounds like you then get in contact to see if we can help you get to the bottom of your problem.