The Osteopaths explanation
The shoulders hang from the base of the skull and the dominant postural reflex keeps the eye line level so twists of the neck mean the shoulder level might need to tilt to help keep the eyes level. Equally the neck sits on the chest and the arms are held out by the collarbones and the shoulder blades sweep across the back of the ribcage. All are part of the mobile mechanism that the osteopath tunes to reduce strain on soft tissues and tries to help heal by improving the percolation of fluids, of lymph and blood, while reducing the reflex irritation associated with overworked muscle.
Apart from referred pain from distressed internal organs shoulder pain can be caused by twisting of the neck and shoulder girdle, elbow and wrist problems, ribcage and low back problems...even problems of the legs and feet. Your osteopath would expect to address all these areas and issues as well as working with the results of local inflammation and overstrain leading to lack of use known as frozen shoulder. There are a few types of frozen shoulder and treatments would vary according to the patient’s needs. Osteopathic treatment is of the patient, not the condition. You are a patient with a shoulder problem not a problem shoulder with a person attached.
Common Reasons for Shoulder Problems
An example of a shoulder problem, how it arose and how it was treated:
A patient had his hand pulled into machinery at work.
His forearm was broken in two places, his elbow and shoulder were dislocated, the nerves to the arm were ripped and his bicep was torn off. He was taken to hospital where what was left of the bicep was stitched up and where the dislocations were reduced and the fractures were set. He was told the nerves might regrow to some degree but not fully so function would always be less than before. What has this to do with osteopathy? I saw the patient over a years after the accident while the arm was still bandaged for support and a plastic flap held the hand up. I was not happy with the reductions as they had developed and I was not happy with the information the patient recalled getting about recovery. I reseated the shoulder, reseated the elbow, pulled the fingers into line and loosened the tisssues of the forearm. Then I gave the patient resistance work with the hand and he was able to use the arm to a far greater dergee than before...it will take time before he is fully reovered but the more he does with the arm the better the recovery will be....leaving it wrapped and unusable is not good in the long term.