How physiotherapy can help seniors with shoulder pain
Picking up a bottle of milk from the shelf, mopping the floor, hanging up the washing, showering or even combing your hair may seem like common tasks that we don’t think twice about.
However, for people with shoulder problems, everyday activities can become dreaded, painful tasks that may even become avoided as pain worsens.
Our shoulders are needed in so many daily activities, even a minor problem can have a big impact on our lives.
It’s important to understand the cause of shoulder pain and what you can do about it, so you can get on with life without thinking twice.
Common causes of shoulder pain
Our shoulder is a complex part of our body made up of different structures including bones, ligaments, muscles and bursae (fluid-filled sacs that enable shoulder movement and reduce friction).
When we move our shoulder, these structures work in collaboration to create smooth, pain-free movement. However, when there is a problem with just one of these structures, our movement can become restricted or painful.
There are many common causes of shoulder pain, including:
- rotator cuff problems (the muscles that stabilise the shoulder),
- bursitis (inflammation of the bursa),
- tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon),
- dislocations, and
- tendon tears.
Sometimes we hear advice such as “move it as much as you can and it will get better”. This can sometimes be unhelpful for a shoulder problem. Due to the complexity of the shoulder and its structure, you need professional advice to manage the shoulder problem.
What does physiotherapy for my shoulder pain involve?
A physiotherapy session for your shoulder pain would begin with a thorough assessment of your shoulder to find out what the problem is.
This could include:
- A number of questions about your pain
- Questions about the activities you engage in and what movements make the pain better or worse
- An examination of the shoulder, where you may be asked to move the shoulder while the physio looks for things such as movement limitations, the presence of swelling and which movements are painful
- Hands-on palpation of the area by the physio may be necessary at times, but in many cases visual examination will provide enough information. Hence, a shoulder problem can be diagnosed and treated effectively with an online consultation.
Treatment for shoulder problems depends on the cause, but physiotherapy can often mean pain management therapy, gentle exercises and stretches to restore normal movement, strengthening of the muscles involved in shoulder movement, gradual reintroduction of normal activities and – if relevant – carefully monitored return to active pursuits, including sport.
A pain-free shoulder makes a huge difference to your quality of life.
Physiotherapy sessions both in-person and via online consultations are effective, so if you or your loved one is experiencing shoulder pain, get in touch today with The Physio Co. We’d love to help!
Alternatively, we are available for online consultations (also known as telehealth) appointments.
Article written by Kenneth Hartono, TPC team member