Painful shoulder conditions that limit movement are very common, and are caused by injuries affecting the shoulder joint, muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. As the shoulder has a high degree of flexibility, it is therefore less stable and more prone to injuries than other joints of the body.
Since the nerves that supply the shoulder and arm originate from the neck and upper spine, conditions such as Vertebral Dysfunction commonly contribute to pain in the shoulder.
In order to determine the cause of your shoulder pain, your Physiotherapist will conduct a full physical, orthopaedic and neurological examination of the shoulder, cervical and thoracic spine.
You will be asked to perform shoulder range of motion and muscle strength tests. Where the pain is felt, both at rest and during movement of the shoulder, provides important clues as to the cause of the shoulder pain. It may also be necessary to undergo specialized diagnostic tests such as XRay, Ultrasound and/or MRI scans.
The initial objective of all shoulder injuries is to relieve pain and inflammation. Whilst many doctors will recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and swelling, the benefit obtained by applying ice-packs can be equally, if not more beneficial.
As your shoulder begins to heal, it is vitally important to restore range of movement, and later to improve muscle strength so as to stabilize the shoulder and help prevent further injury and aggravation.
Your Physiotherapist will be able to assist you with suitable shoulder range of motion exercises and shoulder strengthening and rehabilitation exercises during your recovery.