Shoulder and arm pain overview
Shoulder pain is an extremely common condition and is one of the most common reasons someone will visit their doctor for a musculoskeletal complaint (muscles and joints). The most common causes of the shoulder pain are rotator cuff problems, impingement syndrome or acute strains. Our shoulders are made to move, and are in fact the most mobile joint in the body. Our shoulders need to be mobile in order for us to be able to complete all the normal tasks of daily living. When we think about it, even waving to a friend across the road requires a huge amount of shoulder joint motion, muscle strength and coordination.
So where does it all go wrong? How do we get shoulder pain? Well with lots of movement comes lots of opportunities to irritate and annoy. You see, the shoulder moves through a huge total range (arc) of motion and along this course, if not stabilised properly, it has the ability to bump into boney structures of the shoulder (impingement) or rub and compress soft tissues in the joint such as bursae and other tendons and ligaments (Subacromial pain syndrome – SAPS).
This friction, compressing, rubbing and impingement if done with high enough stress, torque, force or repetition eventually leads to the accumulative stress in our shoulder that typically starts with pain. It would be nice to always blame our joints, bones and muscles for being weak, overactive or under-active however must of the problems with shoulders are a product of what we do (overload), what we don’t do (motion keeps joints healthy), how long we do it for (accumulative stress) and how well we do it (coordination/motor control). Shoulders are complex and so is their diagnosis, treatment and mechanisms of injury.
No truer words have been said about the shoulder like this, “first move well, then move often”. Unfortunately, the moving well part is often forgotten.
By far the largest cause of shoulder pain is repetitive stress injuries where a movement, motion or activity is simply performed too much. This can include anything from gardening to playing tennis. Generally speaking, shoulder pain can be classified in three easy ways.
- The unstable painful shoulder (dislocations or genetically loose)
- The weak painful shoulder (rotator cuff problem)
- The stiff painful shoulder (osteoarthritis and frozen shoulder)
If you are experiencing any of the above categories of shoulder pain and it remains persistent it is best to consult a chiropractor or physiotherapist with a clinical interest and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of shoulder pain.
The key to getting the right treatment or referral for your shoulder problem is seeking help from a chiropractor or physiotherapist who knows the shoulder well. At Sydney Spine Sports Centre (S3C) we have a passion for fixing joint and muscle problems and the shoulder is of particular interest for us. We use evidence-based treatments to reduce shoulder pain and improve shoulder function. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists use the latest and highest standards in national and international guidelines to ensure you get the absolute best.
The following is a list of conditions that our chiropractors and physiotherapists in Balmain and Rozelle treat
- Frozen shoulder
- Rotator cuff tear
- Biceps tendon tear in shoulder
- Chronic shoulder instability
- The unstable painful shoulder
- The weak painful shoulder
- The stiff painful shoulder
- Shoulder impingement
- Dislocated shoulder
- SLAP tears of the shoulder
- Arthritis of the shoulder
- Biceps tendinitis of the shoulder