Shoulder Pain

The Shoulder is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body. As the shoulder has a large range of movement and is required to carry out many tasks, it takes a lot of strain. 

Shoulder pain and dysfunction can be caused from the structures that make up the shoulder or can occur as a result of issues outside the shoulder joint.

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Shoulder Tendonitis/Tendinopathy 

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Tendonitis, or now commonly referred to as tendinopathy, is localised pain in or around a tendon. Tendons are fiborous band that connects muscle to bone. 

Tendons can become damaged when overstressed from a specific injury event or repetitive overuse. This can develop into chronic degenerative changes in the tendon. Weakness, pain and reduced movement of the shoulder are common signs of this condition.

Shoulder Bursitis

A bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that act as cushioning between muscles and bones. These small sacs can become aggravated and inflamed causing stiffness and pain. Sleeping on your affected shoulder can be very painful and bursitis can affect your ability to use your shoulder and engage in work, sports and play. 

Rotator Cuff Tears

The Rotator Cuff is made up of 4 small shoulder muscles; Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Subscapularis and Teres Minor. The Rotator Cuff play a vital role in stabilising the shoulder, which allows movement and use of the arm.  Tears of the rotator cuff can result from a sudden injury or repetitive overuse. A tear can result in pain, reduced strength, reduced use of the shoulder and can worsen over time. 

Tears can be classified as partial thickness (small or part tear) or full thickness (complete tear of the tendon). Early diagnosis and treatment of rotator cuff tear is important - delay can result in retraction of the tendon which can impact on healing and recovery. 

Frozen Shoulder 

Adhesive Capsulitis, or frozen shoulder as it is commonly known, is a common cause of shoulder pain. It is characterised by shoulder stiffness that becomes progressively less movable and more painful overtime.

 

The exact cause of this condition is still not fully understood but it results in inflammation and thickening of the shoulder capsule. Commonly affects people between the ages of 40-60 years and affects women more often than men. 

This condition can be divided into 3 stages;

  • Stage 1 (Freezing) = Initial pain around the shoulder followed by progressive loss in range of movement.

  • Stage 2 (Frozen) = At this stage, stiffness is predominant however, painful symptoms may improve. Performing daily activities can be very challenging and the functional limitations can be severe.

  • Stage 3 (Thawing) = Shoulder motion slowly begins to improve and functional use of the shoulder gradually improves.