Having trouble reaching behind you or reaching up?

Deborah Chen

By Deborah Chen

Registered Physiotherapist (APA Member)

Posted on: 20/03/2015

Rotator CuffShoulder pain can be a very annoying pain in your neck – quite literally. There are numerous reasons for your shoulder pain which can include

  • Referral pain from your neck
  • Stiff upper back (thoracic spine)
  • Rotator cuff tears / inflammation / impingement
  • Bursitis
  • Frozen shoulder

Shoulder pain often starts as a slight ache in the front of your shoulder or a sharp pain in your shoulder with particular movements like reaching behind yourself to put on your belt or do up your bra, reaching up to a high shelf, washing your hair or putting on your seat belt. As the pain worsen it often radiates down the back or front of your arm and can start to feel like elbow pain. It may also start to feel like you have a cramp in your upper trap or muscles around your neck.

We develop a number of compensatory movements when our joint mechanics are working correctly. For shoulder pain this can include using / hitching your upper trap to help lift your arm or twisting your body around to put on your seat belt.

Injury to the rotator cuff and bursitis in the shoulder are the most common reason for your shoulder pain. The shoulder is a very shallow ball and socket joint and the upper arm is connected to the body via the four rotator cuff muscles. It is very important for these muscles and joints to work together in a particular rhythm call the scapulohumeral rhythm. Perfect rhythm allows for pain free movement however other factors such as your posture can hinder this.

At Inspired Physio there are a number of ways to treat your shoulder pain including dry needling and soft tissue release to loosen up any tightness through the shoulder, upper back and neck. As the full range of movement returns we add in strengthening exercises in neutral positions then progress to more functional positions which may include working in ranges to improve your golf swing! Most will also require some education in regards to your posture as the neck and upper back are the foundation for movement for the arm and some may also require some taping methods to increase the stability of the joint.

Don’t suffer more then you have to! Let us help you return to your full potential.

Deb Chen, Physiotherapist

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