There was a time when shoulder pain was generally diagnosed as “bursitis.” Now, the popular diagnosis is “rotator cuff,” (which is frequently mispronounced as rotator cup, rotor cuff or rotor cup). Either way, such oversimplifying often leads to ineffective therapies.
The shoulder is a complex system that requires the balanced performance of numerous muscles. If even one of these muscles is not doing its job, the joint shifts, and this results in limited movement and/or pain in the shoulder that may also affect the elbow, wrist and hand. To properly evaluate shoulder problems, all of these muscles must be functionally tested. Bearing in mind that each muscle that crosses the shoulder has a reflexive relationship with a specific organ, the goal is to determine which organs are causing imbalance in the joint. The list of possibly involved organs includes heart, pericardium, lung, thyroid, kidney, spleen, gall bladder, pancreas and stomach. Disruption of nerve supply at the spinal level in the neck and upper back must also be considered.
Remember that a muscle imbalance affecting the shoulder (or any major joint) is frequently the earliest warning of problems developing in an organ that is not yet showing any symptoms. If these can be pinpointed and dealt with at this early stage, future illnesses can be averted.