Your shoulder is an incredibly mobile complex made up of four joints that work together to give optimal positioning of the arm and hand. It’s this mobility that allows us to scratch our backs or reach things up on high shelves.
This sort of mobility comes at the cost of stability and while we talk about Pilates and stability of the low back or pelvis, Pilates is not often what springs to mind for shoulder injuries.
Dynamic stability of the upper limb requires good conditioning and control of all of the muscles that act over the four joints that make up the shoulder but the most fundamental building block of shoulder stability and strength is good scapulo-thoracic control. The scapulo-thoracic joint is essentially where your shoulder blade rests on your back and the reason stability and control are super important here, is that this joint isn’t your typical bony joint held together by cartilages and ligaments… in fact there are no cartilages or ligaments at all, just a sling of muscles.
Pilates is great for conditioning muscles and for training them to work in a diverse range of positions and under varying loads so in fact, Pilates is a pretty great starting point for shoulder injury rehabilitation.
All this talk about stability probably makes it obvious that Pilates can help with recovery and rehabilitation from shoulder dislocations but optimising scapulo-thoracic control and stability can also help improve pain and function in people with impingement syndromes, rotator cuff tears or tendonitis, arthritis and subacromial bursitis.