Shoulder injuries are common, but not always easy to recover from. And if you don’t get the right treatment, it can be hard to regain full range of motion and strength in your shoulder joint.
Although shoulder pain is common, it’s also very debilitating for those who experience it. Many people live with constant discomfort due to the limitations they have when performing everyday tasks or participating in favourite activities like golfing or gardening.
Shoulder pain is one of the most common reasons for visiting a physiotherapist. It’s important to remember that many different factors can cause or contribute to shoulder problems including poor posture, repetitive activities at work or in sport, an injury such as falling on an outstretched arm or overuse through exercise or sporting activities (especially throwing sports).
Treatment often depends on which structures are involved but may involve manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilisation/manipulation, soft tissue massage and myofascial release techniques and exercises aimed at improving muscle strength/stability around the injured area(s).
Two of the most common shoulder conditions that most people experience are arthritis and bursitis. Let’s take a look now at both of these painful conditions and what treatments are available.
Shoulder arthritis, also called shoulder osteoarthritis of glenohumeral arthrosis, is a condition that can lead to pain and stiffness in the joint. It mainly affects people over age 50 who have experienced prolonged periods of repetitive motion on their shoulders (i.e., those with jobs requiring heavy lifting).
Symptoms typically include pain when trying to lift your arm above the level of your head, lose range-of-motion around the joint because it becomes stiffer as time goes by; there may be clicking noises coming from within bone joints during movement which make things difficult for athletes like pole vaulters and cricketers who rely heavily on overhead throwing motions.
Exercises that can be beneficial for shoulder arthritis include:
It is important to note that exercises for arthritis should not contribute to or aggravate your pain.
Bursae are a sac that is filled with fluid, and are normal features of our anatomy and are present throughout the body. The main function of a bursa is to reduce the friction between the different components of a joint, for example, tendon and bones.
There are 6 bursae around the shoulder joint, although the most commonly affected bursa, the subdeltoid-subacromial bursa, is commonly thought of as continuous. When a bursa becomes inflamed this is called bursitis of the shoulder.
Bursitis can occur due to a variety of reasons, for example following a trauma to the shoulder, inflammatory conditions for example in systemic diseases such as gout, or as a result of repetitive movements or microtraumas.
Shoulder joint bursitis commonly occurs secondary to another shoulder problem for example rotator cuff tendinopathy or frozen shoulder. The symptoms associated with bursitis can include pain at the lateral or anterior aspect of the shoulder which can often be worse at night.
Your doctor or specialist may consider using anti-inflammatory medication or a corticosteroid injection to reduce the inflammation in the bursae. Your physiotherapist will provide management advice to reduce inflammation such as resting from aggravating activities, icing the area and additionally prescribe a gentle home exercise program aiming to restore mobility.
As you progress through your rehabilitation, your physiotherapist will progress your home exercise program working to increase the strength of the rotator cuff and scapular stabilisers and restore movement patterns.
Non-surgical treatment options for the shoulder are medications such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injection and specialised shoulder physiotherapy.
The Physiotherapy team at Melbourne Hand Therapy have undertaken additional training and are specialised in managing shoulder injuries. They utilise different techniques depending on your individual needs.
This may include soft tissue massage, shoulder joint mobilisation, kinesio taping, postural education, and most importantly prescribe a tailored exercise program to assist you in your recovery. Home exercises for shoulder injuries will include, range of motion exercises and graduated strengthening exercises.
Melbourne Hand Therapy offers an innovative approach to treating shoulder injuries that combines traditional physical therapy techniques with specialized exercise equipment designed specifically for the upper body region.
We use this combination of therapies to improve mobility and strength while reducing pain throughout the entire arm and hand area so you can return to your normal daily routine as soon as possible!
Please call us at Melbourne Hand Therapy today (03) 9899 8490 or leave an enquiry and we will get back to you as soon as possible.