Updated: Feb 9
When your shoulder sustains an injury, it hampers your ability to move freely and limits some daily activities. Getting dressed, taking a shower or reaching to retrieve something suddenly becomes a challenge. What could be causing pain in your shoulder?
1. Rotator Cuff Injury
The shoulder joint is subject to strain if held in poor alignment, such as the common high and forward posturing of the shoulders. This posture is often due to muscle tension, habit and an imbalanced gym program. Add to this, the demands of overhead sports, such as golf and tennis, a heavy upper body workout, lifting, carrying, or a mouse and keyboard that are inappropriately placed. The combination of poor alignment and repetitive shoulder movements can lead to a cycle of pain and muscle imbalance around the shoulder joint.
Poor movement patterns are reinforced, leading to overuse of the rotator cuff muscles, tendonitis, impingement of tissue against bone and further pain. Physiotherapy breaks the vicious cycle by correcting posture and muscle imbalance. This is addressed by restoring the precise rhythm of movement between the shoulder blade and shoulder, through scapular stabilization and rotator cuff strengthening exercises.
2. Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is characterized by pain, stiffness and loss of motion in the shoulder. It is more common in women between the ages of 40 and 70. The causes are not fully understood. What starts as inflammation leads to thickening and contracture of the shoulder capsule. Initially, pain relief methods are necessary. As pain becomes under control, heat, mobilization techniques, stretching and range of motion exercises restore mobility and range of motion.
3. Shoulder Subluxation/Dislocation
A large force or fall onto the shoulder can cause partial (subluxations) or complete shoulder dislocations. People with loose, unstable shoulders are more prone. Contact sports such as rugby and football increases the risk. Physiotherapy rehabilitation involves strengthening the muscles around the shoulder that add to its stability, including the scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff muscles.