Pain coming from the shoulder joint is often poorly localised and not only felt in the region of the shoulder but also in the upper arm. Pain from the area between the neck and the shoulder, or from the shoulder blade region is generally not a shoulder issue but more a problem with the neck or upper back. Some common causes of shoulder pain are listed below:
Bursitis of the shoulder is a common complaint especially with overuse activities or heavy loading above head. Examples would be painting the ceiling and lifting weights above head. The bursa is a fluid filled sack that reduces friction where tendon runs against bone and can get compressed under an arch of bone in the shoulder called the acromion. This often occurs due to poor posture, such as rounded shoulders, which narrows the space the bursa has during the offending activities.
Physiotherapy can assist with shoulder bursitis by helping with postural improvement, control of the shoulder blade position, loosening of surrounding tight muscles and specific exercises.
The rotator cuff tendons can become degenerative with throwing sports such as baseball and javelin. The rotator cuff tendons also deteriorate with age.
Physiotherapy can help with shoulder tendinopathy by providing specific rehabilitation exercises and hands on loosening techniques to tight joints and muscles.
The medical name for a frozen shoulder is “Adhesive Capsulitis”. The capsule surrounding the shoulder becomes inflamed and contracts which then progressively restricts the range of motion of the joint.
In mild to moderate cases physiotherapy can be an effective part of treatment to stretch out the capsule and provide range of movement exercises. Often a cortisone injection is also required. The condition will generally take 1-2 years to fully resolve but milder cases can recover in just a few months.