TMBW Massage - Shoulder Sense:
What Happens when Your Shoulder “Ropes” Lose Their Elasticity
Based on my practice at The Mind Body Whisperer, my clients run into shoulder problems when their shoulder system loses its elasticity. PS I’ve also experienced shoulder pain for the same reason…but more about my past TRX difficulties shortly.
The Problem with Shoulders that Curl Inward:
The dynamics that I see again and again….is that we all tend to spend long hours in front of a computer as well as driving to and from work (and everywhere else in between) often with our shoulders curled inward.
A curious thing, many of us learned how to drive with our hands in the “10-and-2” position on the steering wheel. Unfortunately, the only way to make that happen is to curl our shoulders inward to position our hands “properly” at 10-and-2.
Similarly, the size and spacing of a standard computer keyboard also requires us to curl our shoulders inward to position our hands over the keys of the keyboard. And then there’s the iPad, iPhone, and Galaxys, etc. – that each again require us to again curl our shoulders inward to make texting, etc. possible.
If this seems odd, do the experiment.
- Sit at a table and lay your forearms, shoulder width apart on the table.
- Now, center your iPhone in front of you on the same table.
- You’ll notice that when your arms are shoulder-width apart, your iPhone sits within a space of several inches in-between your forearms and either side of your iPhone.
- Keeping your forearms shoulder-width apart, notice the position of your arm within your shoulder socket.
- Now, reach for your iPhone as if you’re getting ready to send me a text –
- Notice how the position of your arm bone has shifted – or curled inward – to get ready to send me a text.
So whether we’re driving or texting, etc., we tend to curl our shoulders inward to make that happen. And many of us also sleep on our sides, again, with our shoulders curled inward – and ultimately, causing us pain problems.
So for whatever reason, there seems to be more than enough opportunities to curl our shoulders inward. And our body’s adapt by shifting our muscle and structural habits to make that inward-curled shoulder position easier. Unfortunately, these several “life habits” create habits based on bad muscle mechanics, which over the long-term, result in pain-based habits.
The Problematic Inward Shoulder Support System
So, recognizing that our day-to-day activities often result in a tendency to curl our shoulders inward, how does our body make that happen? By “locking” our shoulders with an inward curl.
In other words, in an effort to efficiently meet the demands of our day-to-day activities, our body’s tend to “lock our shoulders into that inwardly turned position” we’ve adopted, by doing the following:
- Primarily, engage the pecs, delts, and to some extent, teres major and even your latts to rotate your arm inward so that you can grasp the 10-and-2 position, etc.
- Over time, as those muscle remain engaged 24-7, the supportive connective tissue (i.e. tendons and ligaments) tend to “lock” into position resulting in a loss of their elasticity and in turn, a tendency to “habitually curl forward.”
This causes a problem when, for example, you’re trying to maximize your swing arc to slam a forehand over the net or drive a lacrosse ball into the goal. Why you ask?
Because if, for example, your muscle tendons have tightened, your arm will tend to be effectively locked into an inward curl and so to rotate your arm back, or outwardly, to maximize your swing, you effectively have to swing against the “locked” position of your tendons. It’s as if you’re swinging against the resistance band of your locked muscles and tendons…and so you lose both strength and speed.
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