What is muscle imbalance of the shoulder?
Muscle balance is the relationship between the tone or strength and length of the muscles around a joint. A muscle imbalance occurs when this relationship is altered. In the shoulder, the muscles on the front of the shoulder and chest often become stronger and shortened in relation to the muscles on the back of the shoulder. Physiotherapy can treat the symptoms of muscle imbalance of the shoulder.
What can cause muscle imbalance of the shoulder?
Muscle imbalances of the shoulder can be caused by unbalanced training regimes, training for a particular sport, work related tasks and poor posture. Imbalances can also occur secondary to other shoulder injuries.
What are the symptoms of muscle imbalance of the shoulder?
In the early days of an imbalance there are often no symptoms. Individuals will appear ‘round shouldered’ and will often have a poor posture. As the condition progresses and the imbalance becomes more significant pain may be felt within the shoulder joint during exercise or everyday tasks. This pain is called ‘impingement’. It is caused by the pinching of structures in or around the shoulder joint. If treatment is not sought and activity is continued then this pain usually progresses to a point where it is constant and debilitating. Many individuals rest the shoulder in the hope that this will improve their symptoms. Symptoms will generally improve at rest but if the underlying imbalance is not addressed then the pain will return as soon as activity is commenced.
Other symptoms of muscle imbalance of the shoulder may include:
What should I do if I have muscle imbalance of the shoulder?
If you suspect that you have a muscle imbalance of the shoulder then you should arrange a physiotherapy assessment as soon as possible.
What shouldn’t I do if I have muscle imbalance of the shoulder?
If you suspect that you have a muscle imbalance of the shoulder then you should not continue to train / perform activities that aggravate your problem as this will only make your imbalance worse.
Physiotherapy for muscle imbalance of the shoulder.
Physiotherapy is essential in the treatment of muscle imbalance of the shoulder. Your physiotherapist will first assess the strength or tone and length of the muscles in the shoulder complex. Physiotherapy treatment for muscle imbalance of the shoulder will be focussed on rectifying any imbalances in this musculature. You will be taught stretches for the tight muscle groups and strengthening exercises for the weak muscle groups. In some cases, your physiotherapist may also perform ‘hands on’ techniques such as manipulations, or massage to increase your range of movement and speed up your recovery.
Other treatment options include:
Can muscle imbalance of the shoulder have any long-term effects?
Yes, if left untreated then muscle imbalance then muscle imbalance can lead to long term problems such as chronic impingement of the shoulder. Physiotherapy, however, is very successful at treating this condition.
To arrange a physiotherapy appointment call Physio.co.uk on 0330 088 7800 or book online.