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Common shoulder injuries and how physiotherapy can help

Published: 28 October 2021

Whether you’re a professional athlete or weekend warrior, injuries are bound to happen – including injuries that involve the shoulder.

Our shoulders are used in almost every sporting activity in some form, so shoulder injuries can be very annoying and unfortunately, very common.

They can occur during activities such as swimming, weightlifting, contact sport or any other upper body activity where the shoulders are heavily used. Unfortunately, you can also sustain a shoulder injury at work if your job is labour intensive!

So, what can we do about shoulder injuries when we experience one?

In some cases, surgery is required to repair the ligaments as they don’t naturally heal by themselves. However physical therapy can greatly improve the strength and mobility of the shoulder pre or post-op!

Let’s look at some common shoulder injuries. 

Shoulder sprain:

A shoulder sprain occurs when a ligament in your shoulder is stretched or torn. Sprains are graded from Grade 1 to Grade 6, depending on the injury.

This injury can occur from trauma (such as falling on an outstretched arm or direct contact such as a tackle) or wear and tear over time.

Regardless of the severity of the injury, it is important to apply the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, as his will help the initial swelling and pain.

Once the swelling has reduced, regularly seeing a physiotherapist can help regain the strength and mobility of the joint, to assist in the overall rehabilitation of the injury.

Rotator cuff tear:

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder in place and allow you to freely move your shoulder joint. 

Rotator cuff tears are a common shoulder injury. They can occur during activities such as baseball, swimming, heavy weightlifting, contact and collision sports, or any other strenuous upper-extremity activity including falls or trauma.

Rotator cuff injuries generally require surgery to get back full strength and mobility. However, for those who do not opt for surgery, physiotherapy can be an effective way to maintain strength, increase mobility and minimise pain.

If you do have surgery, it is important to consult with a physiotherapist to work together on a rehabilitation program to regain your strength and mobility. You don’t want your shoulder to heal without full range of motion and a strong base for strength otherwise you might experience mobility issues later in life.

Shoulder injuries may improve over time, however regularly seeing a physiotherapist will provide you with a good opportunity to manage pain and improve mobility so you can keep doing what you love.

If you’re experiencing a shoulder injury, get in touch for a Free Initial Assessment with a Back In Motion physiotherapist today!           

Free Initial Assessments terms and conditions apply.