The shoulder joint is classified as a ‘Ball & Socket’ joint which is the same classification as the hip joint, but with one distinct difference. The hip joint consists of a bony ball (the head of the femur) and a bony socket (the Acetabulum of the pelvis). The shoulder on the other hand has the same type of bony ball (the head of the Humerus) but the socket is composed of a group of the ligaments of four muscles collectively known as the Rotator Cuff. These are the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor and Subscapularis and are also referred to as the acronym ‘SITS’ group. There are two bony articulations as well, the Acromion and the Glenoid Fossa, but these are small when compared with the soft tissue structures of the SITS muscles that make up the majority of the socket.
The differences in structural composition between these two joints accounts for why we can dislocate our shoulders more easily than our hips!
The most common conditions that cause shoulder pain include:
- Rotator cuff tear (more often Supraspinatus)
- Cartilage damage
- Bony spurs
- Tendinitis (Biceps tendon is very common)
- Nerve pain from the neck or the shoulder joint
The causes of these conditions vary, from old untreated injuries to accidents and falls to RSI and other repetitive strain injuries as experienced by cricket bowlers, baseball pitchers, swimmers.
So what should we do if we are experiencing any shoulder pain?
Firstly we should apply our R.I.C.E.R regime (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral) and if it has not settled down within 48 hours, seek some professional advice.
As Soft Tissue (Remedial Massage) Therapists, we will take a thorough history of how this happened including any previous episodes of shoulder or neck pain. This will be followed by a series of orthopaedic tests that will include range of motion (both active and passive), resistance and strength tests to help ascertain which tissues are involved. We may at this stage assess as well as whether or not we need to refer you to another Allied Health Professional for further assessments that may include X-rays, Ultrasound etc.
It is not uncommon for clients to have some treatment but then fail to follow through with the recommended exercises or stretches etc to return the joint to its pre-injury status only to return a few months later with the same issue, if not worse! It is very important that whatever rehabilitation program is set for you that you are compliant and progress as advised. It should also be noted that in most cases you should have a graduated return to any relevant sport or workplace duties if they involve repetitive use of your arms and shoulders.
Contact us today on 4952 3003 if you have any shoulder pain that you would like to discuss with us.