Love Your Shoulders – RiversZen Health, Fitness and Body Solutions – Yoga, Stretching, Classes and Private Sessions
Shoulder self stretch Peggy RiversZen

Today we are looking at the basic make up of the shoulder . . . a truly complex system worthy of a book. Suffice to say it is an intricate system of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments who are responsible for elevation, depression, flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, rotation and circumduction and often times all of those simultaneously or sequentially.

Think about all those moving parts. The main joint is a ball and socket which articulates between the humerus (the top of your arm) and the glenoid cavity at the outer edge of the scapula (your shoulder blade). The rest of the scapula pretty much just floats and facilitates all the various motions due to its connection with the various muscles throughout your back. On the front of the body is the clavicle (collar bone) which is attached to the sternum by way of a meniscus or piece of cartilage and at the other end by a series of ligaments. It has the responsibility of providing both stability and mobility of the shoulder girdle.

Scapular movement is associated with movement of the humerus and both of those are limited by clavicular mobility. In other words, if one of them is angry and out of sorts, the other two are not going to perform very well.

Bottom line, don’t take any injury or discomfort with this area for granted as it can escalate into a bigger problem when left untreated. Should you have continuing pain that can be associated with an injury (which can also include abuse) it is a good idea to get it checked as some injuries will not improve without surgical assistance.

A program of self-care can be as simple as heat, exercise or stretching. It is imperative that the joints remain fluid allowing us a smooth path through our range of motion. That range of motion can be very different from person to person and maybe even for yourself from day to day depending on your activity level. Bottom line . . . stay in motion; use it or lose it. Both of those are good rules to live by. You are never looking for pain and following the old adage “no pain no gain” is not a good rule to live by for those of us not earning a professional athlete’s paycheck.

If you have been trying self-care and it is not working, consider talking with one of our trainers. They will be able to share some alternatives that could take your self-care to a more effective level.

Peggy Stevens RiversZen

Peggy Stevens is the founder, owner and operator of RiversZen Fitness Studios in Oregon and Washington. She is also the creator of StretchPro. You can join Peggy live at or follow her online at

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