Reaching overhead so that the upper arms are against the ears and the elbows are straight is a movement that is commonly lost, yet this is a movement that we need to comfortably get things off of high shelves in our daily lives.
It is not surprising that this movement is one that is commonly lost, as we don't usually need to reach overhead on a daily basis. Maybe you only need that big casserole dish off that high shelf when you are having a big family gathering, so you don't notice the gradual loss of function until you really find yourself struggling.
Sometimes this movement-loss can come from a car accident seat-belt injury, where the skin of the lung (pleura) gets adhered to the ribcage.
Imagine you are wearing a shirt that is a little bit too tight, and you have tucked it into your pants. You are sitting in a chair on your shirt-tails, and you try to raise your arm but you can't because the shirt is restricting your arm movement.
Much in the same way, the pleura of the lung, the liver or spleen may be pulling down on your arm, restricting your ability to raise it.
Stretching the side-body can help with this, as can visceral massage treatments to find and treat any adhesions involving the organs.
Nerve restrictions in the neck and arms can also impact reaching overhead, which can also be resolved with treatment.
After your orthopaedic assessment you would be given specific exercises targeted to your personal areas of tightness in order to improve this movement ability again.
As your movement ability improves, we would help you strengthen up to lift, hold and lower the amount of weight you need to be able to manage in your life.