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Causes of Shoulder Pain

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shoulder pain

Good shoulder function is vital for most sporting and working tasks. This means shoulder pain can cause significant loss to quality of life. Causes of shoulder pain range from major injuries like dislocation and fracture to slow starting pain that increases over years.

The shoulder is the one of the most complicated joint in the body because it is composed of five separate joints. Due to its complicated anatomy the shoulder is more susceptible to injury. The key to effective treatment lies in accurate diagnosis following a thorough movement assessment.

The assessment usually involves looking at your neck and spine to ensure your shoulder pain is not referred pain as well as performing a movement analysis of your shoulders and common movement patterns such as reaching, lifting and hanging.

Finding the underlying cause of the shoulder problem is what determines what treatment methods are used.  The most common reasons for shoulder pain are: weakness in the stabilising muscles of the shoulder blade and lack of range before starting repetitive activity such as reaching or lifting overhead, doing pull-ups or push ups.

Common Treatment Techniques for Shoulder Injury

• Mobilisation of the shoulder joint or any tight structures around the shoulder

• Soft tissue treatments to any areas of tension and spasm (trigger points)

• Strengthening any weak muscle groups around the shoulder. Mostly in the scapular stabilisers

• Treatment to your thoracic spine (the area of you back between your shoulder blades).

• Identifying and correcting any abnormal movement patterns of the shoulder that place unnecessary stress on the 
shoulder structures.

• All treatment programs will include some form of home exercise; either a strengthening program to improve the control of the shoulder or exercises to work on reducing stiffness in the area depending on your condition.

• In some cases it may be necessary to conduct x-rays or ultrasound scans to help establish the exact cause of the symptoms; this will be discussed with you if required.

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis).

Frozen shoulder is a condition where the shoulder (gleno-humeral) joint becomes stiff amd painful. Cause. There may be a history of trauma but not usually. Whilst the exact cause is unknown  It is known that 3 percent of the population will incur this affliction and a majority will be female. Most commonly found in liddle age, The course of the disease will encompass 3 Phases. 1. The freezing phase (2-9 months) involving early onset pain gradual stiffening. 2. Frozen Stage (4-12 months) including pain easing  however stiffness remaining. 3. Thawing which involves a gradual resolution of symptoms over 1-3 years.

Non-pharmaceutical management involves

1. Therapeutic ranging exercises.
2. physiotherapy.
3. Local heat and or TENS applications.

Prognosis is good over time.