What is your Scapulohumeral Rhythm?

Your scapula (shoulder blade) is the triangular bony base that all of your shoulder and arm movements operate from. You can think of your scapula as the base of crane and your arm being the boom.

Your “scapulohumeral rhythm” is the pattern of muscle contractions and motion that occurs between your scapula and your humerus (upper arm bone).

When your scapulohumeral rhythm becomes abnormal -due to pain, weakness or muscle inco-ordination – you are rendered more likely to suffer shoulder clicking, pain or rotator cuff injury.

Why is Scapulo-Humeral Rhythm Important?

Poor scapula stability usually results in tipping and downward rotation of your scapula, which causes your shoulder tip (acromion) to pinch down into the subacromial structures (eg bursa and rotator cuff tendons) causing rotator cuff impingement, shoulder bursitis or rotator cuff tears.

Normal shoulder blade-shoulder movement – (scapulo-humeral rhythm) – is required for a pain-free and powerful shoulder function. Luckil, abnormal scapulohumeral rhythm can be retrained by an experienced shoulder physiotherapist.

How to Normalise Your Scapulo-Humeral Rhythm

Your shoulder physiotherapist is an expert in the assessment and correction of your scapulohumeral rhythm. Any deficiencies will be an important component of your rehabilitation.

Researchers have identified poor scapulohumeral rhythm as a major cause of rotator cuff impingement. Plus, they have identified scapular stabilisation exercises one of the key ingredients for successful shoulder rehabilitation.

Please ask your shoulder physiotherapist for more information regarding scapulohumeral rhythm assessment and corrective treatment or exercises.

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