Shoulder and upper limb pain is common in both the sporting and general population. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body, making it more vulnerable to injury. Compared to your other joints the shoulder muscles, tendons and ligaments are especially important for controlling movement, avoiding injury and maintaining a fully functioning shoulder.
In the majority of cases, shoulder pain is due to the surrounding muscles becoming weak or poorly controlled. The most common causes of shoulder pain are due to one of the following:
A rotator cuff injury is a very common cause of shoulder pain. The shoulder joint is controlled by a group of four muscles which are known as the rotator cuff. These four muscles control and stabilise your shoulder movements.
The rotator cuff muscles and tendons are vulnerable to injuries such as rotator cuff impingement, rotator cuff tears and rotator cuff tendonitis. These injuries can vary in severity from mild tendon inflammation to more serious conditions that require surgery.
Osteoarthritis is a common cause of shoulder pain in older people. Everyday wear and tear can damage shoulder joints over time. The risk increases for those who overwork their shoulder joint or have had a previous injury.
Shoulder arthritis symptoms can be managed through exercise by strengthening the surrounding muscles and improving flexibility. Exercises for osteoarthritis should begin gradually to avoid further injury. The best option is to be guided by your physiotherapist on what exercises are the safest and most beneficial for your condition.
Bursitis shoulder is an inflammation of the shoulder bursa. Your shoulder bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion at the point of friction between the bone and surrounding soft tissue (such as ligaments or tendons). There are several bursae in your shoulders, however the subacromial bursa is the most common bursa to become inflamed. Subacromial bursitis is usually related to shoulder impingement between the rotator cuff tendons and bone.
A dislocated shoulder occurs when the ball joint of your shoulder is forced out of its position from the shoulder joint socket. This leads to an inability to move your arm and is extremely painful. A partial dislocation can occur known as a shoulder subluxation where the dislocation self relocates.
A shoulder dislocation can occur due to sudden trauma when the shoulder is in a vulnerable position and is forced out of its socket. This injury most commonly happens during a fall or during sports, such as football tackle.
Shoulder therapy helps to get your shoulder functioning normally again. There are a variety of techniques used in shoulder therapy to help reduce pain, increase function and strengthen the surrounding shoulder muscles. Some treatments that may be used include manual therapy, joint mobilisation, dry needling, taping, strengthening exercises and exercises that retrain your movement pattern/postural control.
Shoulder therapy is an effective treatment for many types of shoulder injuries and pain. Your physiotherapist will provide advice and treatment for your specific condition to help improve symptoms and overall shoulder function. You can find out more about shoulder physio by contacting our friendly staff at Integrity Physio.
Our physiotherapists have many years of experience in shoulder rehabilitation using manual therapy and exercise rehabilitation. We are also experienced in postoperative management and will be pleased to guide you through the recovery process.