Pain and stiffness suffered in the shoulder, and sometimes into the neck and upper arm, is often due to a tendinopathy of the rotator cuff muscles – the deep muscles which help to control and stabilise the shoulder joint.
This condition can sometimes be referred to as supraspinatus tendonitis (or tendinopathy), sub-acromial bursitis, sub-acromial impingement or shoulder impingement syndrome and is often mis-diagnosed as frozen shoulder.
Rotator cuff problems tend to cause pain on general movements of the shoulder. If you’re having trouble raising your hand above your head, getting things out of high cupboards, putting clothes on and off etc. then you may well be suffering from a rotator cuff problem.
Rotator cuff problems can also be irritated by direct pressure onto the shoulder – such as lying on your side or carrying a heavy bag on your shoulder.
Rotator cuff problems can be caused by a one-off injury however they are often the result of a cumulative injury when the shoulder undergoes prolonged or repetitive activity.
One-off injuries or incidents include falling onto your shoulder or side, or a ‘wrenching’ of your shoulder such as when throwing a ball or a large dog pulling on a lead.
Cumulative injuries can be the result of prolonged use of the arms in an overhead position (plasterers, electricians etc.) or repetitive use of the arm in a single/fixed position such as those who spend a lot of the day in front of a computer.
Short-term (acute) rotator cuff problems, up to 2-3 months in duration, tend to respond well to hands-on osteopathic treatment, acupuncture, kinesio taping and exercise advice. These problems tend to resolve in 3-5 sessions.
Longer-term (chronic) rotator cuff problems can also respond well to the same treatment as the short-term conditions, however due to the likely structural changes to the tendons in the longer-term conditions they will often benefit from a course of Shockwave Therapy instead.
Contact us now to book a free 15-minute chat with an Osteopath to see if we could help with your shoulder problem.
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