Assessing a shoulder jointI had the chance to sub for a colleague the other day, and during this class period we’d be covering techniques to assess the movement of the shoulder girdle.  As I was preparing for class, I noticed that one of the student handouts seemed to have a mistake in it.  Two of the numbers –which are supposed to be what’s “normal” or average for a joint’s movement –seemed to be switched. As I puzzled over this with my boss, we found three different textbooks with three different sets of numbers.

How could normal be three different things at once?  Eventually, I understood that depending on how you tested the joint, all the numbers did indeed make sense.  Context makes all the difference.

I like getting the reminder that comparing something to what’s “normal” is going to be affected by context. Useful for the assessment of shoulder movements, yes. And it adds a grain of salt (or a little dose of love) when I fall into comparing myself to others–and vice versa. Massage as a metaphor for life, y’know.

Photo compliments of Ambro at