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Physiotherapy to reduce shoulder pain

Physiotherapy is a medical treatment which includes rehabilitation, injury prevention, healing, as well as holistic well-being. The most common reason for the popularity of physiotherapy is its ability to provide relief from long-lasting pain, which could have restricted mobility due to several factors. The pain or discomfort could be caused due to an injury, trauma, accident, frozen shoulder, incorrect posture, or any other external reason. Physiotherapy not only helps to minimize pain and restore mobility and function, but it also is very effective in recognizing warning signs and helping prevent a problem from occurring.

Some of the common reasons for which the doctors recommend physiotherapy include:

  • Relieve muscle and joint pain such as shoulders, neck, arms, etc.
  • Alleviate general pain from other areas
  • Prevent injuries
  • Correcting posture
  • Post-operative healing
  • Management on disease
  • Improve mobility impacted due to causes such as accidents, trauma, etc.
  • Improve functioning restricted with increasing age
  • Facilitate flexibility and proper functioning of joints, tendons and muscles

Benefits of Physiotherapy

For patients who suffer pain, injury, restricted mobility, wrong posture issues, or other related problems, the doctors might recommend regular physiotherapy to ease the discomfort and enhance functioning. It also improves fitness levels and helps the patient lead an active and healthy life. Some of the benefits of physiotherapy include:

  • Relief from long-lasting pain: The body can suffer aches or pains due to various causes such as frozen shoulder, shoulder injury, trauma, back pain, ankle injury, etc. The pain tends to provide discomfort and also hamper the normal course of life. Regular physiotherapy sessions help to mitigate the pain and reduce dependency on painkillers which can prove very harmful in the long-run.
  • Prevent surgery: Apart from cases, where surgery is completely unavoidable, regular physiotherapy sessions can help improve the condition and eliminate the need for surgery. Using a combination of therapies and exercises, physiotherapy sessions can be aimed to improve mobility, reduce pain and increase the overall fitness of the affected area. Also, in cases where the patient has undergone the surgery, physiotherapy sessions help to regain the strength of the affected parts and joints, as well as provide flexibility.
  • Improve mobility and balance: For people who have undergone surgery, maintaining balance and getting back on their feet can be quite challenging. This is possible with the help of certain directed physiotherapy exercises, which helps regain lost muscle strength, and improvise coordination.
  • Manage-age related impact: In some cases, physiotherapy helps to reduce complications which develop with age such as bone loss, muscle loss, joint pain, etc. Physiotherapy is also included as a treatment for conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis. It also assists in pain recovery after a hip replacement or other joint replacement surgery.

Reasons for Physiotherapy

A person with the below conditions or symptoms should consider benefits from physiotherapy to improve the condition. These include:

  • Shoulder pain or any other joint or muscle pain
  • Restricted mobility
  • Posture problem
  • Joint injuries or trauma
  • Recovery or rehabilitation post a surgery involving joints, tendons, ligaments, spinal cord, or other reconstructive surgeries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Bruising, swelling or edema
  • Medical conditions such as cervical spondylosis, musculoskeletal
  • Sprains and strains
  • Neurological conditions
  • Post-natal term
  • Slip disc
  • Stroke
  • Management of overall diseases such as diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, or other heart-related disorders
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Pregnancy-related issues in joints and muscles

Physiotherapy for shoulder pain

For patients experiencing chronic shoulder pain, physiotherapy sessions can help minimize the ache and also improve the functioning of the shoulder. Physiotherapy involves directed exercises, therapies to contain and reduce pain and help the muscles gain required strength.

Shoulder pain can be caused due to multiple reasons such as day-to-day wear and tear, overuse, an isolated injury, trauma, wrong posture, etc. The pain can be sharp and rising, intermittent, dull, or consistent and spreading to the arm. Should pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal issues as per the World Health Organization (WHO). It is more commonly found in people who are engaged in sports or athletics.

A physiotherapist is a trained medical professional who can treat a variety of shoulder pain causes such as frozen shoulder, dislocated shoulder, shoulder tendonitis, shoulder bursitis, shoulder impingement, and shoulder tendon tears. A physiotherapist also helps to determine the cause and exact source of the pain, which can include:

  • The weakness of the shoulder muscles or the rotator cuff
  • Damage caused by arthritis
  • Weakness in the shoulder blade muscles
  • A stiffened shoulder joint
  • Imbalance of the shoulder muscle groups which cause poor arm and shoulder blade movement
  • Poor posture
  • Tensed muscles between the neck and shoulder
  • Trauma or injury such as accident or fall involving the arm

A physiotherapist will assess the pain via a physical examination and determine the cause of pain. The patient will be asked to perform active movements, which will be monitored by the physiotherapist to observe the shoulder, its blades, scapula or the overall positioning. Moreover, apart from the range of motions, the strength of the shoulder is also tested via some exercises involving slight resistance. In some cases, a joint glide test will be done to assess the performance of bones forming the shoulder joint, with each other. Once the diagnosis has been completed, a customized treatment plan which will involve targeted therapies and exercises will be formed.

Overall, a physiotherapist, depending on the pain and underlying condition of the shoulder, will help in the following ways:

  • Guide on appropriate exercises and helpful treatment options such as manual therapies, soft tissue releases, etc.
  • Determine the cause of the pain, preventive measures, and activity modification to improve pain and enhance recovery.
  • Allow for a more phased return to normal activities by primarily focusing on reducing pain and then rebuilding shoulder strength.

On the whole, physiotherapy is a great method to reduce shoulder pain caused due to a variety of reason which primarily affects the joints, muscles and tendons. However, it must be undertaken after a recommendation from the doctor.

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