Life can bring activities and sports that can result in some common injuries involving the shoulder. Sports such as tennis, golf, swimming, soccer, wake-boarding or water skiing, even home maintenance work can all cause shoulder problems. The rotator cuff is comprised of a group of muscles and tendons that cross the top and back of the shoulder and attach onto the bone at the top of the shoulder joint, most commonly the supraspinatus tendon is affected. The biceps tendon crosses the front of the shoulder to attach to the joint. Any activity that uses repetitive overhead motions or sustained postures can result in inflammation of these tendons and shoulder pain due to tendinitis. The most common shoulder problems include:
Impingement Syndrome – When the rotator cuff tendons become pinched in the joint due to narrowing of the joint space; this is commonly due to either inflammation or arthritic changes.
Bursitis – Inflammation of the bursa (fluid-filled sacs) around the shoulder that normally are present to provide cushioning.
Muscle Strain – Can occur in the upper shoulder muscles such as the upper trapezius or in the deltoid muscle at the side of the shoulder.
If you notice pain or soreness in your shoulder following any repetitive activities or sports it is important to use a cold pack for 10 minutes 3-5 times per day to help decrease inflammation. If symptoms persist or worsen it is advised to visit your physiotherapist to further assess your shoulder problem.
Treatment Options for Shoulder Injuries
The type of Physiotherapy treatments that you will receive depends on the specific condition that you have and whether you’ve undergone surgery or not. In addition, your Osteopath will likely ask about your goals for rehabilitation.
Treatments for shoulder injuries may be composed of a combination of any of the following:
- Cold therapy (ice pack application/ice massage)
- Hot pack application
- Immobilisation (splinting/bandaging)
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Ultrasound (US)
- Dry Needling
- Soft tissue mobilisation (massage)
- Shoulder joint mobilization
- Physiotherapy exercises
- Range of motion exercises
- Stretching or flexibility exercises
- General conditioning exercises
- Shoulder muscles strengthening exercises
- Patient education
- About the patient’s particular shoulder problem
- Precautions and activity modification
- Self-care of symptoms
- Home exercise program
- Shoulder injury prevention
- Return to work or sports rehabilitation program
Physiotherapy treatment and advice can dramatically improve the treatment and prevention of shoulder pain.