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Physio Shoulder FAQs


Shoulder impingements are a very common cause of shoulder pain. Typically pain is over the top of the shoulder and often into the middle of the upper arm.
Most commonly the pain is due to inflammation or thickening of the tendons that move and support the shoulder (these are 4 muscles that work together and are collectively called the Rotator Cuff). These cuff muscles lie between an arch of bone at the top of the shoulder of the arm bones. When you lift your arm the 2 bones compress the tendon and in time this can cause irritation and pain. The other tissue that can be affected is known as a bursa. This is a protective sack of fluid that lies between the cuff tendon and the bones – it too can be inflamed by the compression of it during lifting of the arm.
It can come on very gradually or quite suddenly e.g. after trauma or such as throwing a ball for the dog! Symptoms include:- · Pain over the top and outer shoulder · Pain on lifting and above your head · Pain on dressing or reaching behind your back · Pain at night – sleep disturbance is very common · Feeling of arm weakness or heaviness · Pain can extend to the wrist and you may even experience pins and needles
Avoid activities that provoke pain, such as repeated over head lifting/swimming/tennis. Do not however stop moving your arm completely – try to continue with normal daily activities. Use an ice pack (frozen bag of peas) wrapped in a damp t-towel for 10 minutes x 3 times a day. Seek GP or pharmacist advice on medication such as simple analgesia or anti-inflammatories. Seek Physiotherapy advice for appropriate Rehabilitation.