Shoulder pain is a term that can be used to describe any number of different pathologies and conditions affecting the shoulder joint.
It can vary in presentation, from being mild and short-lasting to being severe and long-term.
It is the third most common musculoskeletal complaint reported to general practitioners in primary care, and physiotherapy has an important role in the assessment and treatment.
What is shoulder pain?
There are many different types of shoulder pain, and as such everyone’s experience of it will be different. For younger people, it is more likely a result of accident injury. For older people, wear and tear can occur in the shoulder and be the cause of pain.
Pain can originate from multiple structures in the shoulder – including the bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and nerves. In some instances, the pain people experience is caused by structures outside of the shoulder region, such as the neck or back.
The importance of physiotherapy for shoulder pain
A physiotherapist will be able to assist those dealing with pain. Through a thorough assessment and treatment, physiotherapists will be able to help determine the cause, and in some cases, may also utilise medical imaging to assist with a diagnosis. Assessments include reviewing the movement of the shoulder, the strength of the muscles in and around the area, as well as several special tests to determine the specific cause of the pain.
After the cause of the pain has been identified, a physiotherapist will then be able to assist in the treatment of the shoulder. This will be an individualised treatment, as the treatment will be catered based on the cause of the pain and the difficulties arising in day-to-day tasks as a result. Some examples of treatment include:
- Manual therapy, such as soft tissue massage and joint mobilisations
- Development of exercise programs to allow for a return to normal, pain-free function
- Advice and education on managing the pain and help understand how to get rid of the pain
Another important reason for physiotherapy is that, if an underlying cause is not properly treated, the pain can reoccur and continue to affect your daily life. As such, a physiotherapist will help to ensure that you can return to your best as soon as possible.
Rotator Cuff Tears
A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles found at the back of the shoulder that have an important role in ensuring the stability of the shoulder joint. One of the most common causes of shoulder pain is when these muscles are damaged and weakened, otherwise known as a tear. This can be the result of an acute injury or trauma, or could also occur as a result of wear and tear as we age.
Rotator cuff tears can be well managed with the assistance of your physiotherapist, to ensure that you can maintain as much movement and strength in your shoulder as possible.
In this post, we have delved into the shoulder pain and how physiotherapy can help. Overall, it is essential to address the underlying cause of the shoulder pain to manage it effectively.
Regardless of if your pain is caused by a recent injury and is new, or whether it is persistent and ongoing, a physiotherapy assessment can help you find out and treat the underlying causes of your pain, and help you work towards a happier and healthier life.
What to do now?
If you or someone you know are suffering from shoulder pain, give us a call at Gen Physio, we have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All of our clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination. Give us a call on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.
Written by Justin Story