Knowing the cause of your shoulder pain is the first step in treating it. Shoulders can be hurt by a number of activities, even harmless ones such as sitting at your computer all day. The types of shoulder injuries can be split into two distinct categories: sudden injuries and overuse injuries.
Acute shoulder injuries can be caused by falling and landing on the shoulder, or awkwardly twisting the shoulder. Sudden injuries include:
- Tendons which link the muscle to the bone
- Ligaments which serve to stabilize the shoulder joint
- A rotator cuff tear which occurs when any of the 4 tendons that surround the shoulder joint are torn
- Strained muscles
- Broken bones
Immediately after an acute shoulder injury, you will likely see bruising or swelling; you may have tingling or numbness if the accident caused a pinched nerve or ruptured blood vessel.
Overuse injuries can be more serious than acute injuries since they develop gradually due to daily activity. These are the consequence of the shoulder joint (or surrounding tissue) being subjected to excessive stress; you may not know anything is wrong until you’re forced to cope with a painful shoulder. Overuse injuries include:
- Bursitis, an inflammation of the fluid sac that cushions and lubricates the shoulder joint
- Tendinitis, the inflammation of the tendons
- Muscle strain
- Frozen shoulder
- Impingement syndrome, when overhead arm motions cause tendons to rub against a portion of the shoulder blade
Physiotherapy is a helpful, non-surgical treatment for shoulder pain, whether it is caused by rotator cuff tears or other injuries to the surrounding shoulder muscles. It seeks to enhance the function and mobility of your shoulder by strengthening the muscles around it.
This therapy will be tailored to help you heal from your injury and restore your mobility. Your therapist may also guide you on how to modify your daily activities to support your shoulders better and prevent future damage. In addition, you may be allocated a specific home exercise regimen to assist you in retaining your mobility once your treatment sessions have concluded.
Depending on the circumstances of your shoulder injury, your physiotherapist will likely prescribe one or more of the following forms of shoulder therapy:
- Ice therapy: The RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) method recommends cooling acutely wounded areas. It helps with reducing inflammation and swelling, which in turn reduces pain.
- Heat therapy: In contrast to cold treatment, which is most effective during the first few hours of an injury, heat therapy is most effective after 48-72 hours. Similar to cold treatment, it relieves pain and relaxes muscles.
- Hands-on therapy: Hands-on therapy, as its name indicates, involves the physical therapist’s assistance in relaxing the damaged shoulder. The therapist applies direction-specific pressure to the tissue to restore a portion of its natural mobility.
- Stretching: Stretching is a typical treatment for shoulder pain since it is meant to gradually stretch your muscles until you restore your range of motion. Depending on the nature of the injury, the physical therapist will likely integrate a variety of shoulder, neck, and back stretches of differing intensities.
- Strengthening: This is a synonym for exercise since the physiotherapist may offer particular strengthening exercises to relieve pain at the injury site, along with strengthening other muscles, such as the core. The objective is to make you stronger than before the injury to avoid its recurrence.
- Joint mobilization: Joint mobilization, another kind of treatment that requires the assistance of a physical therapist, enhances the mobility of the damaged shoulder by extending the joint capsule. Because it demands a comprehensive grasp of anatomy, only a qualified, professional physiotherapist can execute it.
- Athletic taping: In addition to other techniques of treatment (such as exercises) your physical therapist may decide to utilize athletic tape as part of your shoulder physiotherapy.
- Home exercise: The shoulder physical therapy exercises you do with your physiotherapist will most likely need to be continued after your appointments. The physiotherapist will therefore design a regimen of at-home workouts to help you maintain your gains. During sessions, they will practice the exercises with you so that you can do them successfully at home.
Any kind of pain is a nuisance, particularly when it hinders your ability to live your life. At Fraser Life, we believe surgery should be a last resort; thus, our team of skilled professionals offers effective treatments, such as physiotherapy, for shoulder pain.
For more information, visit fraserlifephysio.ca online or call us at (778) 278-4755 today.