Shoulder Pain

Shoulder injuries are quite prevalent and can stem from various sources. Participating in sports and occupational activities that involve repetitive overhead movements, as well as everyday tasks like carrying a baby or engaging in gardening, can contribute to shoulder injuries.

 

 

Some of the most common shoulder conditions that can be addressed by osteopaths include:

  • Rotator Cuff Injuries: The rotator cuff comprises a group of muscles responsible for stabilizing and facilitating movement in the shoulder joint. Injuries like tears or strains are common and can arise from factors such as trauma, as seen in sports-related incidents, overuse, or the natural ageing process,
  • Shoulder impingement: This condition occurs when the tendons surrounding the shoulder experience irritation or compression within the shoulder joint. It is often linked to repetitive overhead arm movements, such as those seen in sports like swimming, volleyball, tennis, or cricket bowling. Impingement can also be provoked by injuries like falling onto the shoulder or an outstretched hand, or it can be related to age-related wear and tear,
  • Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder): Frozen shoulder is characterized by a gradual decrease in shoulder mobility and stiffness, accompanied by pain. Its exact cause is not always clear, but it can be linked to prior injuries, surgeries, or medical conditions like diabetes,
  • Tendonitis: This condition involves inflammation of a tendon, often affecting the rotator cuff tendons within the shoulder,
  • Bursitis: Bursae are small sacs filled with fluid that act as cushions between tendons and bones. When these bursae become inflamed, it results in bursitis, which can be quite painful,
  • Overuse/Repetitive Strain Injuries: These injuries are typically a consequence of recurrent overhead movements, which are common in certain sports and occupations,
  • Nerve Compression: Nerve compression may occur in the shoulder or neck, leading to shoulder pain and potential weakness,
  • Arthritis: Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can impact the shoulder joint, leading to discomfort and reduced shoulder functionality,
  • Referred pain: On occasions, pain felt in the shoulder may originate from other areas, such as the neck, spine, heart, or gallbladder.

 

How can an Osteopath help?

In the treatment of shoulder injuries, osteopaths prioritize addressing the root cause of pain. During our evaluation of your injury, we thoroughly assess not only the affected shoulder but also your spine, pelvis, and neck. Our examination may reveal that the source of your discomfort lies beyond the shoulder, potentially in the surrounding structural elements.
We employ a range of hands-on osteopathic techniques as part of the treatment process. Additionally, we might recommend adjustments to your lifestyle and targeted exercises designed to enhance the strength of the muscles around the shoulder joint, improve stability, and promote a speedier recovery.
The timing and nature of your recovery depend on various factors, including the duration it took to seek treatment and the type and severity of the injury. Each individual's situation is unique, and thus, treatment options will be tailored to meet specific needs.

Imaging

In cases where a recent and severe muscle or ligament tear or fracture is suspected, the osteopath may suggest an X-ray or ultrasound imaging to further evaluate the condition. If additional investigation is warranted, we can facilitate a referral to an orthopaedic specialist for an MRI and more advanced management.

When should you seek treatment?

Shoulder injuries come in various forms with a range of causes and levels of severity. Consequently, achieving an accurate diagnosis and providing suitable treatment is essential for the successful management of such injuries. If you find yourself grappling with enduring or intense shoulder discomfort or if you have a prior unresolved shoulder injury, it is highly advisable to seek a comprehensive evaluation and treatment from your osteopath. This proactive approach can help ward off potential complications.