Fixing Shoulder Pain: A Physio Guide
Along with the back and knees, the shoulder is one of the most common conditions we treat here at the clinic.
Shoulder pain can affect us at any stage of life.
It can be a direct injury.
Or one that develops over time.
It can commonly become injured if we fall onto an outstretched hand or if we lift something too heavy.
But it can also be caused by repetitive tasks such as painting, hairdressing or even sitting at your computer!
Injuries can range from slight muscle strains to ligament injuries, dislocations or fractures
What to do for a direct shoulder injury
With acute traumatic injuries the first few days post injury may involve the use of a sling to support the weight of the arm, resting from painful activities and using ice or other pain related modalities.
Scans may be useful for some, generally depending on the type of injury.
A significant proportion of first time shoulder pain will take anywhere from 6-12weeks to recover, again depending on what is injured and the severity of the injury.
Some conditions can require surgery early on, such as traumatic injuries like a dislocation, whereas other require a modification of activity and then a gradual return to activity.
Keep in mind though that surgery even after large traumatic injuries will also depend on other factors such as age, other conditions, activity levels and goals.
Physio for acute shoulder injuries
Just as we limp when we roll an ankle, we also “limp” when we hurt our shoulder.
We change how we move it to avoid causing further pain. This may involve hitching the shoulder or avoiding moving it all together.
This is fine for the initial period but is something that needs to be addressed before the new pattern hangs around for too long.
Once the acute pain has settled it is then important to get it moving again and start to load the muscles and tendons to make them strong and robust again.
Physiotherapy is targeted at decreasing these compensatory movement patterns and getting you moving in a way that puts less strain on the injured structures.
Stay tuned on the blog for all things shoulders!
If you didn’t get around to checking out my Free Shoulder Pain E-Book you can check it out here.