Shoulder Problems

  • Shoulder injuries are common, and many of them are commonly misdiagnosed.
  • Many apparent shoulder problems are actually neck problems, where the disc in the neck squashes the nerve that runs behind it. These nerve roots join together and form a huge nerve (called the Brachial Plexus) that runs down the arm, similar to the Sciatic nerve in the leg.
  •  When a cervical disc (disc in the neck) squashes these nerves, frequently movements of the arm and painful and restricted.
  • This can occur in the absence of neck pain! (Hiding the clue the problem is the neck).
  • A thorough shoulder Assessment should include testing of the neck to exclude this possibility. It may be that your specific shoulder problem has both neck and local shoulder components.


What structures in the shoulder are locally affected?

  • Many structures within the shoulder such as the ligaments, cartilage or tendons can be injured.
  • The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, which is surrounded and encased by a ball of ligaments that blend together called the Capsule.
  • Another common diagnosis for shoulder pain with restriction of movement is Frozen Shoulder. This is where this Capsule becomes inflamed and progressively stiffens, hence the term Adhesive Capsulitis.
  • While the condition exists, it is frequently misdiagnosed and by far the more common cause of the shoulder problem is actually the neck and/or the cartilage inside the shoulder.
  • The most commonly injured structure inside the shoulder is the cartilage (called the Labrum).
  • Certain movements of the shoulder (most commonly reaching overhead repeatedly, with force or for a sustained period) cause a flap of this labrum to protrude into the joint space.
  • Frequently this is the cause of the restriction and pain, and the loss of power.
  • If this is the cause of your problem, certain exercises can be identified during your McKenzie Assessment that essentially push the flap of cartilage back into place, which gives a relief of pain and restores strength and movement within minutes.