Shoulder pain is one of the most common reasons individuals seek physiotherapy treatment. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body. However, due to its high degree of mobility, the shoulder is also the most unstable joint leaving it more susceptible to injury.
What causes shoulder pain?
Shoulder pain can occur due to a variety of reasons including bursitis, tendonitis, injury to the rotator cuff muscles, impingement syndrome, fractures, dislocation, and arthritis. Injuries from a fall or repetitive movements are often the underlining cause.
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The head of the humerus, upper arm bone, fits into a socket space created by the scapula and clavicle bones. The joint is supported by surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons. In between the bones are small fluid filled sacs called bursa. The bursa reduces the friction between the bones in the shoulder and other tissues. With repetitive movements, the bursa can become irritated and inflamed. This is known as bursitis. Similarly, tendons can become aggravated via repeated movements leading to tendonitis.
Repeated overhead activities, in particular, can cause impingement syndrome. Impingement syndrome occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles become impinged as they pass through the shoulder joint during movements. Impingement syndrome can lead to tendonitis or bursitis, and on the rare occasion, tearing of the tendons or muscles. It is of utmost importance to seek treatment as soon as shoulder pain develops.
Development or worsening of the injury can lead to a longer recovery period or other conditions, such as a frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder is a condition where your shoulder becomes painful and stiff possibly due to the buildup of scar tissue. It often occurs following injury to the shoulder. The joint can, consequently, become immobile.
Poor posture can further contribute to shoulder and neck pains. Occasionally, shoulder pain can further be due to radiating neural pain originating from the neck.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy can aid in restoring the previous functioning, reduce pain levels, improve strength and mobility, and prevent recurrence.
At Aquafit Physiotherapy, our therapists will conduct a thorough assessment. A course of treatment involving manual therapies and exercises will be planned according to the assessment findings. Manual therapies that may be involved in treatment include stretches to maintain and improve range of motion, and massage techniques to reduce inflammation and pain.
When the pain has subsided, strengthening exercises may be prescribed. The rotator cuff muscles are often targeted in a shoulder exercise rehabilitation program. Postural exercises may further be recommended in order to correct any contributing postural deficits. Stretching and range of motion exercises are encouraged throughout treatment.
Aquafit Physiotherapy offers hydrotherapy pools for a safe environment to aid in post-injury recovery. Although often associated with lower extremity injuries, hydrotherapy pools can be just as useful in upper extremity rehabilitation. The buoyancy allows for ideal conditions to illicit movement, mobilizing stiffer joints, and begin the strengthening process.
Do not put off booking your appointment for your shoulder pain. Other conditions, such as Frozen Shoulder, can develop and may have longer recovery periods. Call Aquafit Physiotherapy today, and get back to doing the things you love minus the pain.