Impact of Posture on Rotator Cuff Injury
Posture has a controversial and complex role in musculoskeletal pain. Some research studies have found zero to weak correlations between posture and pain while other studies have shown it can both impact pain and function. One area of the body where posture may have a larger role is with shoulder function. Individuals with limited mid back mobility often demonstrate increased rates of neck and shoulder pain. A recent study examined the impact of posture on rotator cuff injury and symptoms.
A recent study in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery examined 379 individuals during an annual physical (Yamamoto et al. 2014). Participants were examined for posture, shoulder function, and also underwent an ultrasound examination of their rotator cuffs. The average age of the participants was 62 years old and consistent with previous research 25% showed a rotator cuff tear in one shoulder and 12% showed a rotator cuff tear in both shoulders. The authors concluded postural abnormalities were an independent risk factor for both symptomatic or non symptomatic rotator cuff tears. This study highlights the importance of thoracic posture and mobility for patients with shoulder pain.