The shoulder joint can be likened to a cup and saucer, with the cup being the top of the arm bone and the saucer being the shoulder socket on the shoulder blade. Just like a cup and saucer, the shoulder joint has relatively unstable articulating surfaces.
Unless the muscles and ligaments that support the joint (rotator cuff muscles) are strong and healthy, the cup can easily slip and slide on the saucer (as inshoulder impingement syndrome) or even slip off the saucer completely (shoulder dislocation). At our Spine Plus clinics, manual therapy for shoulder instability conditions concentrates on prescribing specific strengthening exercises supplemented by massage, stretching and dry needling to facilitate correct rotator cuff muscle balance, shoulder blade positioning and arm movement.
At the opposite end of the spectrum to shoulder instability is a “Frozen Shoulder”. This involves the soft tissue capsule of the shoulder joint becoming extremely stiff and, in some cases, so inflammed that it becomes glued together, severely restricting movement (Adhesive Capsulitis). A frozen shoulder may require an injection to reduce the infammation and aggressive stretching to restore flexibility.