How can osteopathy help with shoulder pain and injury?
The shoulder is a complex, well-used joint and a common source of pain for people of all ages and fitness levels. Whether your shoulder pain is caused from wear and tear, repetitive use or injury, Osteopathy is gentle and helpful treatment for many conditions of the shoulder including pain associated with AC joint and rotator cuff injuries.
Good shoulder function is essential for everyday movement and for many popular sporting activities such as tennis, golf, and ball sports. It’s not until we experience sudden or gradual onset of shoulder pain or injury do we realise how debilitating shoulder pain can be. The good news is osteopathy can effectively treat many forms of shoulder pain and injury to help relieve pain and discomfort.
What are the common symptoms associated with shoulder pain you should see an osteopath for?
Shoulder pain symptoms can present as a sharp and/or shooting pain in or around the shoulder joint or may be in the form of a dull ache, often felt between your neck and the tip of your shoulder. Pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint is felt most with arm movement or lifting. It’s common for shoulder pain to refer into the upper back and neck area. Pain can occur gradually and inconsistently, as can be the case with arthritic conditions or come on quickly due to sudden strain or traumatic injury, such as a dislocation or subluxation. In this case, you may feel an instability or hear a ‘pop’ or ‘click’ within the shoulder joint. Conditions of the shoulder may cause feelings of numbness or tingling down into the arm or hand.
What can trigger shoulder pain?
- Everyday movement of the arm particularly in overhead positions.
- Repetitive arm movement associated with everyday or sporting activity.
- High impact/contact sporting activity.
- Periods of prolonged rest, inactivity and sleeping position.
Common shoulder pain conditions we treat at our Camberwell clinic.
Clients who visit our Camberwell osteopathy clinic tend to be a rather active bunch. Repetitive movement from golf, sailing, swimming or home maintenance (painting and pruning) are commonly linked to rotator cuff tears and AC joint injuries. We also treat postural dysfunction, tendon impingement and acute soft tissue injuries.
Our approach to treating and relieving your shoulder pain?
As with all conditions, we take very personalised approach to treatment. Our first task is to conduct a physical assessment to determine exactly what is causing your shoulder pain or discomfort. Osteopathy is a gentle, hands on treatment for shoulder pain. Osteopathy uses a variety of techniques to alleviate muscle and tendon tension. We will match the pressure of massage and muscle manipulation to your pain tolerance. Our aim is to get you back on the road to recovery, enjoying the activities you love doing without discomfort. Together we’ll look at your lifestyle factors and identify the potential activities or triggers for your pain and work out a comprehensive recovery plan, including appropriate exercises you can do at home in between osteopathy appointments.
What can you do in between osteopathy appointments to help relieve shoulder pain/discomfort and aid in recovery?
Should you apply ice or heat to your shoulder?
Cool therapy is the method of choice for recent shoulder injuries. Applying an ice pack (according to instruction) within the first 24-72 hours, for up to 20 mins can help to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation. For shoulder pain where there is no obvious bruising or swelling, many clients find heat therapy helpful in reducing tension and discomfort. Heat packs can be applied 72 hours after injury.
Rest versus activity.
Returning to activity too quickly without giving your shoulder injury time to rest can seriously hinder your recovery. Pain is an important guide to understanding what your limit is. By speaking to your osteopath, we can advise you on the types of activity to help successfully rehabilitate your shoulder injury.
Gentle stretching to help with shoulder discomfort and tension.
If you are experiencing mild discomfort or shoulder tension, stretching can help release stiffness and aid movement. If you find the muscles are too tense and simply don’t want to release, this is when you’ll find treatment beneficial. Osteopathy helps to relax the shoulder muscles and tendons. This helps to restore movement and makes it easier and less painful to stretch.
Remember to seek advice on which activities are helpful and which should be avoided.
Watch Geoffrey, our Osteopath demonstrate these simple stretches you can do at home to help reduce muscle tension in the shoulder.