Shoulder Pain

There can be a lot of reasons that could be causing shoulder pain, but whatever the cause may be, the nature is the same: it is the pain that arises from a group of joints, tendons, and ligaments that exist near the shoulder. 

This pain greatly affects the full range of motion of the joint and hampers daily functionality as you struggle to do your tasks. So whether it is doing something as simple as scratching your back, or hitting that perfect smash while playing badminton, shoulder pain can seriously rain on your parade.

It is important to recognize the fact that mobility comes with a price and as we grow older, the wear and tear in our shoulders gives rise to pain.  Increasing problems related to impingement or instability of the bony structure may be a reason behind that sudden sharp pain in your shoulder.

This pain might be chronic or recurring, sensitive to touch and movement, depending upon the cause. The shoulder pain might need proper medical intervention and your doctor shall suggest proper treatment plans depending on the cause of your injury.  It might also be treated by physiotherapy for shoulder pain which includes therapeutic exercises for the shoulder.

Symptoms of Shoulder Pain

  • A dull ache in your shoulder joint, or in and around the shoulder and upper arm. 
  • Reduced range of motion in your upper arm. 
  • General discomfort related to performing your day-to-day tasks. 
  • In case of injury to the rotator cuff, it may be difficult for you to reach overhead or raise your arm above your head. 
  • Swelling and inflammation near your shoulder joint. 
  • The injured area is red and sensitive to touch.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

There are underlying factors behind the causes of shoulder pain and these may be inextricably linked to age, occupation, sports, and pre-existing health conditions. Your family and genetic history may also be behind your shoulder pain. Age is an important factor as your tendons, muscles, and ligaments get weaker and looser with age. The protective gel-like layering between your soft tissues and bones starts drying up, thus causing friction and pain in your shoulder. Conditions like osteoarthritis may also be a reason behind your shoulder pain. 

If you are regularly playing a sport or in an occupation that requires heavy use of your arms and shoulders, the shoulder pain may be due to the normal wear and tear process. Overuse of the shoulder is the contributing cause behind muscle tears and pain in your shoulder. 

Bursitis

Bursitis usually takes place due to the swelling of the bursae. Bursae are found in the joints all over your body including the shoulder. These are tiny, fluid-filled sacs that are found between the joints of the shoulder and act as a protective layer or cushioning between bones and soft tissues. This helps to prevent friction between the soft tissues and muscles and bone. Bursitis usually happens because of overuse of the shoulder that leads to the inflammation of the bursae between the shoulder blade and rotator cuff which is commonly called bursitis. 

Instability

Dislocation of the shoulder is a common phenomenon and happens because of injury, sudden impact or even age. Dislocation happens when the upper arm bone comes out of the socket due to a sudden impact. It can be either partial or full- and partial dislocation is called a subluxation. Dislocation can also happen due to age- as we grow older and the tendons, ligaments and muscles around the shoulder become weaker and looser. This also causes chronic pain and instability which can affect daily functionality and range of motion. Instability may make it difficult to raise your arm, or scratch your back. Recurrence of instability may also cause arthritis. 

Arthritis

Arthritis is an age-related cause behind shoulder pain. The most common type of arthritis that may be causing your shoulder pain is osteoarthritis. This wear and tear type of arthritis is most commonly seen in the aged population as their muscle strength decreases and joints and ligaments become looser. The symptoms of osteoarthritis start presenting from middle age and they look like swelling, pain and stiffness. It can happen over time due to sports-related or occupation-related overuse of the shoulder that leads to chronic pain, loss of range of motion and recurring pain.  

Fracture

Broken bones in the shoulder, or in fact any part of the body is called a fracture. A hairline fracture or crack are essentially referring to the same phenomenon of a broken bone. In the shoulder, a broken bone can refer to the scapula, clavicle, or humerus. In young patients, fractures are usually caused due to accidents, or intensive physical activities like playing a sport. For the older population, this happens because of a fall from a height.

Also Read: How To Examine Your Shoulder to See What’s Troubling You!

Therapeutic Exercises For The Shoulder

Physiotherapy for the shoulder is one of the most popular methods of treatment for pain in the shoulder, and in any type of treatment, it will be custom-designed for you and your needs whether it is recovering from an injury, combatting regular wear and tear, or suffering from osteoarthritis. The assigned physiotherapist plans unique home-exercise routines to stop recurrence and to maintain mobility post-recovery. 

Physical therapy is also a great alternative to surgery and invasive procedures which come with a set of risks that can be easily avoided with physical therapy. A boon for older adults and pregnant women, physiotherapy is a great alternative to excessive reliance on pain medications that can be a risky choice for such populations. Therapeutic interventions help the patients regain their independence and learn techniques to manage their pain on a long-term basis! Therapeutic exercises for the shoulder are also a great rehabilitative technique post-surgery to regain functionality. Your physiotherapist may suggest the following rehabilitative techniques to help you with your pain- 

Stretching

This is a great exercise to help release tension and stress build-up in the shoulder. Stretching is a great technique that works on your back, shoulder, arms, and neck and helps you regain your range of motion. A great tool for working adults who are in the same position for prolonged hours can use this technique to help with the stress build-up. A simple seated stretch, or across the chest stretch can help you relieve the stiffness near the shoulder joints. 

Strengthening

Strengthening your shoulder muscles is a great way to keep the pain from recurring and is a long-term solution to your shoulder pain. Practicing strengthening exercises recommended by your physiotherapist can help you stay stronger before your injury to help prevent its recurrence. This also includes strengthening your core, as total body strength is important in maintaining strength in the shoulder. 

Hands-On Therapy Exercise

This kind of therapeutic exercise for the shoulder hands-on therapy as the name suggests requires your physiotherapist to help you relax your injured or affected shoulder. With their expertise, the physical therapist uses pressure to target specific muscles in the shoulder to bring back original mobility. 

Joint Mobility Exercise

In this kind of therapeutic exercise for the shoulder, the physiotherapist suggests corrective exercises that aim to increase the shoulder’s mobility by stretching the joint capsule to relieve pressure and bring back original functionality and range of motion. 

Kinesiology Taping

Athletic taping is aimed at restoring movement in the shoulder to help it heal, while kinesiology taping helps you to bring back movement in your shoulder in a safe and secure way to bring back normal functioning.

Also Read: Top Exercises for Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Conditioning

For more information about physiotherapy for shoulder pain, head over to Phyt Health. Phyt Health is India’s first digital physiotherapy platform using 3D Imaging and Artificial Intelligence to accurately capture your movements and recommend relevant treatment plans.  On the physiotherapy app, you will find a wealth of exercises that are curated by expert physiotherapists that you can perform in the comfort of your own home.
Book your video consultation today!