Are you having trouble completing everyday activities such as carrying the groceries or reaching into overhead cupboards? Does your shoulder feel unstable?
Shoulder pain is quite common in Australia in both younger and older people, however the causes are often different. Should pain in younger people tends to be more likely from an accident or injury. However, for older people suffering shoulder pain it is often from natural wear and tear in the shoulder joint and the rotator cuff tendon. Overtime this can become more persistent.
Your shoulder is made up of three bones:
- your upper arm bone (humerus),
- your shoulder blade (scapula), and;
- your collarbone (clavicle).
The head of your upper arm bone fits into a rounded socket in your shoulder blade. This socket is called the glenoid. A combination of muscles and tendons keeps your arm bone centred in your shoulder socket. These tissues are called the rotator cuff. They cover the head of your upper arm bone and attach it to your shoulder blade.
What can cause shoulder pain?
Shoulder pain can be a result of injury or disease of the shoulder joint. Injury can affect any of the ligaments, bursa or tendons surrounding the shoulder joint as well as the cartilage, menisci and bones of the joint. The design of the shoulder joint is such that it sacrifices stability for mobility. As an extremely mobile joint that plays a central role in the action of a major extremity, the shoulder is at risk for injury.
Shoulder pain is commonly caused by any of the following conditions and injuries:
Bursitis/Rotator cuff tendonitis
Rotator cuff strain/tear
Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)
Labral Tear (cartilage injury)
What are the symptoms?
Pain in the shoulder when reaching overhead
Feeling of instability
Loss of range of movement
Loss of strength
Clicking in the shoulder with movement
Recent history of a fall
What leads to these problems?
Many factors can lead to shoulder dysfunction and pain. These can include:
Tight structures/muscle spasms
What can I do help fix the problem?
Shoulder pain is often caused by an underlying dysfunction in the way the joint moves making it very common for the pain keep coming back and not settle on its own.
A trained physiotherapist can provide an accurate diagnosis of the problem and identify the underlying problems that have led to your shoulder pain. They will then design a structured rehabilitation program that will first aim at relieving the pain you a currently experiencing and then use a combination of manual therapy and exercise to resolve the contributing/causing factors, resulting in a pain free and non-recurring problem.
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