Shoulder Pain Treatment
Shoulder bursitis, impingement syndrome and rotator cuff tendonitis are all common sources of shoulder pain.
- Bursitis is an inflammation in a connective tissue structure called a bursa in the shoulder.
- Impingement syndrome implies some faulty mechanics when you lift your arm are producing a pinching effect on tissues in the shoulder.
- Rotator Cuff tendonitis is usually a degenerative process where the small shoulder muscles get damaged over a long period of time and become inflamed.
- Rotator Cuff Tears are a collection of conditions, usually started off by trauma, but not always, in which the stabilising muscles around the shoulder are torn.
- Shoulder Dislocations are a condition where a force through the arm causes the ball from the ball and socket joint of the shoulder to dislocate out of place
These conditions can occur in combination or alone. An impingement issue might begin after a minor injury and progress to bursitis or tendonitis.
Pain in the shoulder is the cardinal symptom of the above three conditions. Classically impingement syndrome causes a sharp, pinching pain that’s felt when you move the shoulder up. Patients often have trouble putting on coats, combing and drying their hair or lifting objects above their heads. Cuff tendonitis and shoulder bursitis are harder to differentiate. The pain is usually duller and can be felt over more of the shoulder. Patients will often have trouble sleeping on the affected side, and will aggravate the shoulder when performing planking exercises or push-ups. Dislocations and acute rotator cuff tears are traumatic injuries that often need a sling initially then progression through a graded exercise program to restore strength and stability.
The causes are many and varied, but shoulder problems often develop after a poorly healed innocuous injury that develops over time.
Poor upper body strength and some types of upper back postures – that are commonly seen in desk workers – can put someone at risk of developing shoulder injuries. Participation in contact and throwing sports also increase the risk of shoulder injury. Some people have particularly mobile shoulders which can predispose them to muscle tears and/or dislocations.
Shoulder Pain and Osteopathy
An Osteopath will do a full clinical examination to isolate the issue and cause. Initial hands on therapy techniques can provide some pain relief. You will then be graduated to a graded exercise regimen to increase the strength of the shoulder muscles and tissues over time. Sometimes an Osteopath will use adjunctive measures like tape or dry needling to help you complete certain activities.