Unlike any other joint of the body, The shoulder is comprised of a ball and socket, several tendons and muscles which synergistically move the arm allowing a wide range of motion; from reaching the last box of chocolate in the top shelf of your cupboard to scratching your back when finding that itchy, irritating spot ( I know, always hard to find!).

However, this great mobility has unfortunately a huge price to pay. As an example, When moving the arm in different directions, several tendons, bone and muscles can be compressed internally. These compressions can result in swelling, inflammation, and ultimately PAIN!

Today we will go through some of  the common causes of shoulder pain and I will provide few tricks and tips on how to identify these sources of discomfort. However, lets briefly introduce some info regarding how is the shoulder structured and how it works. Home Visit Physiotherapy

Anatomy of the shoulder

Your shoulder is made up of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle).

When you have a healthy shoulder, the head of your upper bone arm is fitting tight into the rounded socket of the shoulder blade. Moreover, muscles and tendons  are also working hard in keeping this ball and socket together when moving your arm in different directions.

However, what do you think might happen if these muscles are not keeping the shoulder ball and socket tight together? Here’s below some answers for you :

Number 1 Cause:  Impingement

healthy shoulder vs shoulder impingement

healthy shoulder vs shoulder impingement

Shoulder impingement happens when the muscles around the head of your humerus (arm bone) are not strong enough to keep your ball and socket together. As results, the arm bone will drive superiorly when moving your arm, pinching internally tendons and structures on the top of your shoulder joint.  Pain usually occurs when driving, lifting your arm or reaching out for objects, like hanging your clothes.

Symptoms at early stages are mild, although they can worsen through time and end up with the following characteristics :

  • Pain at night
  • Loss of strength and motion
  • Difficulty doing activities that place the arm behind the back, such as buttoning or zippering

Number 2 Cause : Tendinitis

Sudden, excruciating shoulder pain after carrying that heavy bag or lifting weights at the gym like a beast? Well, you probably have tendinitis!

Tendinitis happens when we excessively utilise one or more of our shoulder tendons, which results in a sudden inflammation and inability to lift or move the arm without screaming out pain.

Usually the pain is located at the front tip of you shoulder, although he can be sometimes internal due to the massive inflammation happening in the joint.

Symptoms generally include acute pain when using the arm or reaching, lifting and carrying objects. Even though I will explain treatments plan in my next article, I’ll give you a quick tip : if it’s painful don’t neglect those symptoms and REST! ( and apply some ICE, why not).

And now , the last and my favourite cause of shoulder pain: Frozen Shoulder

Number 3 Cause : Frozen shoulder

Watch out ladies, if you are around 40, have been experiencing regular, severe pain and unable to move your shoulder, you are a good candidate for frozen shoulder. In fact, research has shown that this condition is more likely to affect women aged between 40 and 60 (Happens in Men as well, don’t get me wrong!)

Why do we call it “frozen shoulder” ?

Have you ever immersed your arm in icy water and trying to move it straight away ; well that is how it feels, STIFF!. This is because the shoulder capsule ( thick band of tissue wrapping the ball and socket) becomes super stiff, inflamed, which unfortunately leads to  formation of adhesions.

This condition is quite long to resolve and usually takes up to 18 months, but symptoms vary during the course of healing: here are some different stages which have been identified among a vast sample of population :

Stage 1: Freezing

In the “freezing” stage, you slowly have more and more pain. As the pain worsens, your shoulder loses range of motion. Freezing typically lasts from 6 weeks to 9 months.

Stage 2: Frozen

Painful symptoms may actually improve during this stage, but the stiffness remains. During the 4 to 6 months of the “frozen” stage, daily activities may be very difficult.

Stage 3: Thawing

Shoulder motion slowly improves during the “thawing” stage. Complete return to normal or close to normal strength and motion typically takes from 6 months to 2 years.

To  summarise, shoulder pain can be caused by a huge variety of injuries and conditions, although the one highlighted above tend to be quite common and I often see them at my practice .

Well thanks for this article but,  how do you fix these injuries?

No worries! In the next blog I will share with you all my secrets and exercises which will enable you to go back to your normal life & favourite activities,  pain free and stronger than ever.

However, if you are unsure about your symptoms, Please book online at New Age Mobile Physio Sydney  to discuss your specific needs.