A Patient Guide to Total Shoulder Replacement


cross-posted from Aches & Joints.org


Patients with severe shoulder arthritis are unable to move their arms through the full range of motion and thus are unable to perform many activities of daily living. For these patients, total shoulder replacement is a proven surgical procedure relieving their pain, recovering their range of motion and allowing them to return to their active lifestyles.

In this video, Dr JP Warner from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, goes through the necessary examination and the surgical technique.


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Scapular Exercises for Stronger Shoulders

Exercises for Strong and Healthy Shoulders
Shoulders permit our arms to move in a wide arc and perform elaborate activities. This mobility is due to superb coordination of muscles and soft tissues around the shoulder and shoulder blades (scapula, SKA-pew-la), and is essential for performing activities in a pain- and injury-free manner. See related article on Rotator Cuff complications impairing shoulder movement.

Conventional shoulder exercises strengthen the larger muscles but tend to overlook the mid-back muscles that stabilize the scapulas. This can often result in muscle imbalance and consequently, bad posture. Even non-shoulder exercises like running on a treadmill with shoulders slouched can lead to stiffness and pain. These conditions increase injury potential and thus the need for corrective exercises.

Michael Bento, personal trainer at the Clubs at Charles River Park, Boston, demonstrates simple exercises you can do at home to develop shoulder strength and protect them from injury. As an added bonus, these exercises also tone the all-important core muscles.

These exercises can be performed on a stability ball as shown, or on a work bench. Dumbbells or additional weights are not required. And as I surprisingly found out last week, you can do these scapular exercises while standing, starting with the arms in front! Yaay!


Common Starting Position for Shoulder-Scapula Exercises
scapular exercises for stronger shoulders

  • Anchor heels to a wall, toes on the floor and slowly roll out on a stability ball.
  • Rest upper abdomen on the ball and straighten body forming a line from ears to ankles.
  • Pull your shoulder blades down, tuck your chin and look at the floor.
  • Start with arms straight, hands in front of the ball (or bench), fingers lightly curled, palms facing each other and thumbs pointing forward.
  • In this position, your core muscles including abdominal and gluteus muscles are engaged in stabilizing your body.
  • For a challenging core-muscle workout, move your heels away from the wall as demonstrated above and use as starting position.

Continue reading “Scapular Exercises for Stronger Shoulders”

Rotator Cuff Disease

A drawback of traveling is carrying your suitcase everywhere, particularly lifting it into overhead compartments on planes, trains and buses. This really hurts my shoulder. Apparently, I am straining my rotator cuff muscles and tendons. As we age, these soft tissues surrounding the shoulder tend to weaken and are easily injured.

Here is short summary on Rotator Cuff Disease, published in Aches & Joints.



Primary Cause of Shoulder Pain and Treatment Options.

There are several causes of shoulder pain. In the elderly, shoulder pain is commonly associated with aging and can be traced to rotator cuff disease. In younger people, it is associated with throwing or overhead sporting activities that result in injury to the rotator cuff.

shoulder rotator cuff anatomy disease

The rotator cuff is a band of four muscles and tendons at the shoulder joint, which grasp the end of the upper arm or humerus (HYU-mer-us, see figure), much like four fingers holding a baseball. The rotator cuff thus stabilizes the shoulder joint and provides exceptional mobility to the arm. Pinching, irritation, or tears of the rotator cuff are common causes of shoulder pain.

shoulder rotator cuff anatomy holding baseball

Continue reading “Rotator Cuff Disease”

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