Massage & Bodywork

MARCH | APRIL 2022

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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m p.co m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 17 TECHNIQUE By Allison Denney KEY POINTS • The shoulder is the most movable joint in the human body—making it also the most vulnerable. • A shoulder injury does not automatically mean the problem is the rotator cuff. Starting off with a clear sense of anatomy is rule number one. Let's take the rotator cuff, for example. Let's say you've got a client who comes into your offi ce and claims rotator cuff pain as a problem (without having seen a professional) in the way that humans want to claim land. This rushed, unabashed assertion seems to be worth hanging all hopes on—regardless of whether it is right. And that's OK. The comfort we fi nd in a "diagnosis" is worth something. But the actual rotator cuff is only a small window into what the heck could be going on. And a solid grasp of anatomy is like having a lawyer on your side if someone is trying to claim land you already own. The truth is there are 17 muscles that manipulate the scapula. And what's even cooler is the fact that there are no muscles that infl uence the shoulder that do not touch the scapula. Even the latissimus dorsi stakes a small claim on the inferior angle of the scapula, just to have some skin in the game . . . or fi bers, I guess, would be the more appropriate term here. Point being, distinguishing the rotator cuff muscles and their collective raison d'être from the rest of the muscles that just might be throwing a wrench into the equation would be a really great tool to have in your pocket. The Rotator Cuff Fan Club THE REBEL MT Let us review, shall we? The four muscles of the rotator cuff include the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus, the teres minor, and the subscapularis. The tendons for each of these have strategically found a handhold on the head of the humerus so that they create the awesome "rotation" action the shoulder is so good at. But they also team up to secure that humerus in place. In your textbooks, this is categorized as "stabilizes the head of the humerus in the glenoid cavity." And this is no small feat. The shoulder, as you may know, is the most movable joint in the human body—making it also the most vulnerable. So those tendons have a heavy task to bear. And when you combine that responsibility with the job of movement these muscles already struggle to manage, a lot can go wrong. The issue is, though, that the other things that can go wrong don't necessarily mean there is a rotator cuff problem. If you take into account that there are no muscles that move the shoulder without having some sort of contact with the scapula, there are a lot of chefs in the kitchen, so to speak. Every one of them is grabbing at the scapula and pushing or pulling the shoulder in one direction or the other. This means if something goes wrong with one of them, the chances that the others are affected are pretty high. Supraspinatus Posterior View Anterior View Infraspinatus Subscapularis Teres minor

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