Shoulder is the most mobile and used joint in the body, it is a typical ball and socket joint and because of its extensive range of motion the socket joint is prone to injuries, damages and pain. The shoulder joint can be painful after any damages or for no known cause, also though most of the shoulder problems are relatively short-term but the pain is sometimes indicative of more complex issues. If we talk about the anatomical structures of the joint are highly interconnected. So much, in fact, that shoulder injuries rarely affect just one area of the joint. A single shoulder injury can affect multiple muscles, ligaments, cartilage areas, tendons and bones.
Unfortunately, Sports or Ortho injuries are most likely to occur in those who rely on their shoulders the most –Overhead Athletes. Shoulder injuries are exceedingly common among athletes, especially those who compete in baseball, swimming, tennis and football. This happens due to the repetitive workouts and intense competition that high-performance athletes endure.
Shoulder aches and pain are of course not limited to athletes. Professionals who frequently use their shoulders and arms such as dentists, painters, mechanics or electricians experience a higher risk of injury as well. No matter how a shoulder injury occurs, everyone wants the same result – a faster recovery.
These pains can be real nightmare for housewives specially if they get pain when trying to hang up laundry, pick up a full kettle or utensil or as basic as cooking. We all rely on our shoulders for almost everything in our daily life, and dealing with shoulder pain can severely restrict our activities of daily living. If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder or upper arm, which worsens during overhead movements or heavy lifting, you may be suffering from a condition known as Rotator cuff tendinopathy, it may sometimes worsen and form a frozen shoulder due to restriction in activities.
There can be several reasons and causes leading to a particular condition or diagnosis but to summarize shoulder pain it is commonly or broadly classified into two – Traumatic or Overuse/underuse.
There can be number of common symptoms which may indicate that there are some issues related to your shoulder.
- Stiffness within shoulder joint
- Inability to rotate arm
- “Popping” sounds or giving away feeling
- Reduced arm strength
- Serious or persistent shoulder pain and inflammation
- Discomfort or pain while sleeping
- Post morning stiffness and restriction
Based on these symptoms primarily therapist might suspect these types of injury such as –
- Instability – Occurs when the shoulder joint becomes displaced, such as in dislocation or pulled tendons and ligaments. The loose or displaced parts of the joints are what results in the popping or looseness in the joint socket
- Impingement – It is the result of friction in the shoulder muscles and causes inflammation in the joint. Rotator cuff tendinopathy are often result of impingement.
Once the patient walks in to our clinic with a complaint of shoulder pain we first follow thorough examination and assessment to come to a diagnosis that would help us conclude about how to see the checklist –
- Physical examination is an ongoing process and most often it will begin with observing the region of your symptoms and any movements or positions that cause pain.
- Watch you move your arm and shoulder overhead, and while doing other reaching tasks.
- Assess the mobility and strength of your shoulder.
- Check other regions of the body as needed. this will help to determine if other areas needed to be checked for any symptoms.
- Gently, but skillfully, feel around your shoulder and to find if any other areas are painful.
How can Physiotherapy help?
- Initial education on important healing factors, positions, pain control and activities to avoid.
- Progressive but controlled range of motion exercise program that protects the area while it heals.
- Progressive strengthening to strengthen surrounding musculature to prevent reoccurrences.
- Advanced exercises that are sports specific (throwing, swimming, overhead sports) to minimize future episodes of similar aches.
- Physio treatment can provide electrotherapy such as –
LASER Class IV for deep healing and revascularization,
Shockwave therapy can boost up the process of regeneration by working on capsular level.
Consultant Physiotherapist. Physio Active