You may not know that you have a subscapularis or a serratus anterior, or care. But if you have shoulder pain, you may want to tune in and pay attention.
The subscapularis and serratus anterior are the primary culprit in most types of shoulder pain. When these two muscles get tight and irritated, they wreak havoc on shoulder mobility. When spasmed, they will place all of the motion of the shoulder on the shoulder joint (gleno-humeral joint). If the shoulder blade is fixated to the scapula, then it will put a ton of pressure and stress on the shoulder joint and eventually cause disfunction, injury and pain.
Shoulder Pain Can Take Many Forms
I worked on an Olympic athlete once who had left sided hip pain. My father and I were eventually able to figure out that it was coming from this athlete’s right shoulder. More specifically her right subscapularis and serratus anterior.
What happened was that these muscles got tight and irritated and spasmed and inflamed, and restricted her shoulder motion. She compensated for the lack of motion in her arm with her opposite hip. She was training at such a high level that this minor muscle imbalance was repeated over and over until it eventually snowballed into a much larger, musculo-skeletal imbalance that affected other areas of her body.
I like to joke that this stuff can be interesting, until it is happening to you, personally. This type of muscular imbalance can be extremely difficult to figure out, diagnose, and treat.
Finding the Real Cause of Your Pain
Now, many of you reading this now are likely to be familiar with the trouble of locating the real source of your pain. Most of us are quick to point to one specific area, and focus all of our treatment efforts on that source. But truthfully, the pain usually comes from a group of muscles.
Few people specialize in diagnosing muscular injuries, and even fewer know how to treat them effectively. But knowing how to recognize a muscular issue can be a big step in the right direction towards treating these injuries on your own.
The subscapularis and serratus anterior can be common causes of shoulder pain that are easily overlooked. If you have shoulder pain, arm pain, hand pain, tingling or numbness. Pain shooting or stabbing through your shoulder or chest, or any other type of shoulder pain. Then it is worth your while to treat these muscles.
If they hurt, then they are contributing to your shoulder pain. If they don’t hurt, then they are not contributing to your shoulder pain.
Sometimes, it can really be that simple.
I hope that this helps you to have a pain free day.