The shoulder is an extremely mobile joint. It relies heavily on the surrounding soft tissues and muscles to function normally. It is often an issue with these muscles that cause symptoms in the majority of shoulder pain presentations. A summary of the most common shoulder conditions we see and treat in the Bodyphysio clinic is provided below.
The rotator cuff refers to a group of important shoulder muscles that act to ensure normal shoulder movement. They can often become injured following trauma such as a fall or after lifting something heavy. They are also frequently irritated by unusual or repeated shoulder movements. Rotator cuff injuries can be viewed along a continuum where at one end there is mild irritation of the muscles and tendons which should settle with appropriate physiotherapy, and at the other, more significant injuries which may require surgical input. Both Luke and George have extensive experience in assessing shoulder pain including rotator cuff injury. Once a working diagnosis has been established, individually tailored treatment can begin.
Frozen shoulder, more recently re-named ‘Frozen shoulder contraction syndrome’ is a relatively common cause of shoulder pain in people between 40-60 years old. Whilst many people are often told they have a frozen shoulder, the large majority have in fact rotator cuff injuries. Diagnosis of frozen shoulder can be made following specialist clinical examination. The condition is divided into the initial painful phase and the subsequent stiffness phase. Treatment will vary depending on the phase and nature of your presentation but will often include education regarding the nature of the condition and timescales for recovery, hands on mobilisation and shoulder manipulation and targeted exercises to maintain the benefits of treatment in clinic.
Due to the degree of mobility at the shoulder, pain can often be caused by a lack of muscle control during movement. Whilst some people may experience this following an injury where they dislocated their shoulder, others may have been born with naturally mobile and bendy joints. For the vast majority of patients with shoulder instability appropriate physiotherapy is the management of choice. This will usually focus on retraining the important rotator cuff complex and surrounding muscles via specific and individually tailored rehabilitation programmes.
As with all shoulder injuries it is essential that a comprehensive assessment be completed to ascertain the main causes of symptoms before effective treatment can be started. In the clinic we frequently see patients whose shoulder pain has failed to get better despite previous treatment. We often find the main reason for this is that their past treatment has adopted a standard ‘one treatment fits all’ approach.
If you would like to arrange a specialist assessment appointment regarding shoulder pain please contact us via telephone: 07517 338 380 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.