|INTRODUCTION TO PHYSIOPHERAPY
Shoulder pain is a common complaint that seems to increase with age. Problems in the shoulder occur with everyday wear and tear, overuse, or injury. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint (like the hip, but not as stable) and since your shoulder moves every time you move your arm, it is not difficult to imagine that shoulder problems could affect 15% to 30% of adults at any one time, and are a common reason for a visit to the physio.
Shoulder injuries occur during sports activities, work-related tasks, projects around the home, or falls, but the most common cause is sporting injury. Around 13% of all sporting injuries are to the shoulder, which is not surprising when you think of the work the shoulder has to do in sports such as cricket (bowling and throwing long distances), swimming (all strokes, but especially the butterfly – as world record holder Petria Thomas knew only too well), golf, tennis, rugby, javelin and discus, weightlifting, and gymnastics (especially the rings, parallel bars, high bar, and pommel horse)
The forces at work in the shoulder can be explosive, dynamic, or static. An explosive force is used by a baseball pitcher. A dynamic force is at work in the repetitious activity of swimming. And a static force is employed by a gymnast who maintains the iron cross on the rings or by a weight lifter who maintains weights above his head. Each of these forces can lead to injury and pain.
Common shoulder problems include: rotator cuff tendonitis or bursitis, dislocation, SLAP tear, and frozen shoulder. Symptoms may include pain, aching, sharp pain or stiffness on movement especially when moving the arm above the head, swelling, numbness, tingling, weakness, or changes in temperature or colour.
Treatment depends on the cause of the pain, but common treatments are exercises, both for the shoulder joint and the muscles around the scapula (or shoulder blade), deep tissue massage to the muscle or soft tissues causing the pain, ultrasound or other electrotherapy, taping, lifestyle/ activities/ work advice ; and when needed referral to a Specialist Shoulder Surgeon for diagnostic tests, injection therapy or surgery.A specialist physiotherapist is well placed to know the latest treatments and to help you get back into action as soon as possible.