Shoulder pain is the 3rd most commonly experienced musculoskeletal pain (exceeded only by low back and neck pain), with over 10% of the general adult population experiencing an episode of shoulder pain in their lifetime. Your shoulder is an extremely mobile joint! It is the joint with the greatest range of movement, more than any other joint in the body by a country mile. This increased mobility comes as a result of a small contact surface area between the humerus (upper arm) and the scapula (shoulder blade). The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. It has a big ball, and a very small socket – quite like a golf ball and tee, but pick it up out of the ground and tip it on it’s side. Got the picture? The result of this relationship is increased movement (especially when compared to the hip – another ball and socket joint), and poor stability. Many cases of shoulder pain are the result of dysfunction or weakness in the stabilising muscles of the shoulder, your rotator cuff.
We at Evoker are ‘1st point of call’ experts in the assessment and treatment of all types of shoulder pain – from desk related overuse to elite throwing athletes & swimmers.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Shoulder pain can develop slowly and manifest over a period of time, or, it can be the result of a traumatic injury, such as a fall onto an outstretched hand or via direct contact to the point of the shoulder (generally the shoulder will come into contact with the ground first in a rugby tackle, or via a ‘dumping’ in the surf). These ‘direct trauma’ injuries are often considerably painful, and are often accompanied by large degrees of movement limitation.
CAUSES & DIAGNOSIS OF SHOULDER PAIN
Given that the shoulder joint is highly unstable, again – similar to a golf ball on a tee, it is the task of your rotator cuff muscles to keep that ball (your humeral head) centred on the tee (your glenoid) whenever your deltoid is activated and you move your arm. If the function of these rotator cuff muscles is anything less than perfect, you will be placing other structures in your shoulder at a higher risk of pain, injury and inflammation.
Common shoulder injuries and pathologies include:
TREATMENT OF SHOULDER PAIN
Given that we are all constantly using our arms to accurately position our hands throughout the day, be it simply using the keyboard and mouse at work, or lifting/moving heavy and bulky items, good shoulder function is critical to a happy and healthy life. We at Evoker take great pride in thoroughly assessing the cause of your shoulder pain – commencing with a detailed history of your current injury and all previous shoulder pains, establishing the mechanism (if any), identifying all aggravating and easing factors, trawling through the 24 hour pain patterns of this injury, and we follow this with a comprehensive physical examination.
With a shoulder assessment at Evoker you will receive:
Whilst we excel in improving patient outcomes in the above mentioned ‘common conditions’, Physiotherapists at Evoker also have a special interest in assessing and treating those ‘hard to find’ injuries. We have a saying around here: ‘make sure you see the injury before it sees you!’
Some of these ‘more obscure’ conditions include: