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Shoulder Pain

Your Tissues and You:

Your muscles are made up of many small, thin fibers that contract on command, working together to mobilize your muscle groups. These muscles are attached to your bones by connective tissues, called tendons, enabling them to move your body parts.  

The shoulder is a “ball-and-socket” joint, which means that the tio of the upper arm bone fits perfectly into the corresponding space within the shoulder blade (AKA the “scapula”), and the ends of the bones are protected by a thick layer of cartilage, preventing bone friction and allowing for multi-directional movement.

Shoulders are made up of a large amount of connective tissue, due to the fact that they can rotate, and move your arm in almost any direction. This kind of torsional tension can leave the joint susceptible to injury. Especially injuries of the Rotator Cuff.

Rotator cuff injuries, also known as “torn shoulders,” are commonly associated with deep shoulder pain, arm weakness, difficulty reaching behind the back, and difficulty sleeping due to pain. Depending on the severity and situation, surgery may be required, but physiotherapy can often help reduce pain and restore strength to the rotator cuff in order to avoid surgery.

If surgery is required, physiotherapy will be an important part of the recovery process. According to the American Physiotherapy Association, “a recent Finnish study asserts that when it comes to the treatment of nontraumatic rotator cuff tears, physiotherapy alone produces results comparable to arthroscopic surgery and open surgical repair.”

How can one treat Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can be treated using a variety of techniques, with many of our patients experiencing improvement and relief after only a few short sessions:

Massage Therapy
Massage therapy can reduce muscle tension, improve blood circulation, and enhance the flexibility of the shoulder joint, aiding in pain relief and faster recovery.

Acupuncture can alleviate shoulder pain by targeting specific points to reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and stimulate the body's natural healing processes.

Ice Therapy
This therapy is also known as RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method, encouraging the cooling of injured spots for acute cessation of swelling and inflammation, promoting healing and pain reduction.

Heat Therapy
This should only be used after the first 72 hours since applying Ice Therapy, which should be used immediately, it helps muscles to relax and promotes blood flow, which in turn promotes healing.

This is more hands-on, where the physical therapist uses pressure in specific directions on the affected tissue to help it regain some of its natural mobility.

Stretching and Exercise
This is a common type of treatment used for gently pushing your muscles further and further until you regain your full range of motion. Exercises are often incorporating a variety of neck and spine stretches along with the shoulder, depending on the injury.

Overall, for shoulder pain relief, there are a variety of modalities at a therapists disposal that we can use to acutely and quickly treat and relieve stubborn joint pain and stiffness within the shoulders.

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