Shoulder pain is a common problem and physiotherapy is a proven treatment for the condition or as rehabilitation after surgery.
The shoulder is a complex ball and socket joint that is made up of the humerus (arm bone), the scapula (shoulder blade) and the clavicle (collarbone). There are many ligaments and muscular attachments that support and help move the shoulder, so there is the likelihood of many problems.
An estimated 50-80% of people with shoulder pain don’t seek any medical attention.
Despite this, shoulder pain is the third most common musculoskeletal reason for people to visit their GPs, and around 15% of these people are referred for physiotherapy.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
There are many different shoulder pain. Reaching overhead actions, such as swimming or throwing a ball, may cause pinching of the rotator cuff or biceps tendons.
Sometimes just a poor sitting posture can place increased stress on the shoulder and cause problems. Falls or car accidents can also injure the shoulder.
But often people complain of shoulder pain with no evident reason or specific injury.
Common shoulder pain problems include:
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Biceps Tendonitis
- Shoulder Bursitis:
- Frozen Shoulder
- Shoulder Fracture
Initial Treatment for Shoulder Pain
If you have developed shoulder pain as a result of trauma such as a fall or a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Also, if your shoulder pain has lasted for more than two to three weeks and is accompanied by significant functional loss, a visit to your doctor, or a physiotherapist is highly recommended as they can evaluate and treat your shoulder pain.
Initially, a short period of rest is recommended for shoulder pain. This should last two to three days. During this time, you can apply ice to the shoulder to help control inflammation and provide symptomatic relief. Ice can be applied for 15 to 20 minutes. You can also start gentle pendulum exercises during this time. By keeping the shoulder mobile, you can avoid a frozen shoulder.
Physiotherapy for Shoulder Pain
During an initial evaluation and assessment, your physiotherapist will ask you questions about the nature of your pain and the aggravating and relieving factors.
Following this, treatment can begin. This will probably include instructions to perform exercises at home to help improve the strength and mobility of your shoulder.
Your Rotator Cuff
If you are suffering from a rotator cuff tear, you’re not alone. Physiotherapists see dozens of patients with this problem as It happens to millions of people every year and is a common cause of shoulder pain. With the right treatment you can feel better quickly and importantly, keep a small injury from getting worse.
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles in your shoulder. They form a “cuff” over the top end of your arm. This cuff helps you lift and rotate your arm, plus keeping the shoulder steady as your arm moves.
A rotator cuff tear can be caused by different things. It can simply become sore from normal wear and tear over the years, especially to people over 40-years of age. But you can also get a rotator cuff tear in a fall or by repeating the same activity.
Very importantly, studies show that people who get physiotherapy for a rotator cuff tear did just as well as those who had surgery.
Physio can also help you recover following rotator cuff surgery. Your physiotherapist can help you improve your shoulder strength and movement and help you return to regular life. Plus, a physiotherapist will show you how not to repeat the injury to your shoulder after surgery.