Rest and activity modification:
Resting the shoulder and avoiding activities that aggravate the pain is often the first step in treatment. Depending on the cause of the pain, your physiotherapist may recommend specific modifications to your daily activities or sports to allow the shoulder to heal.
Hot and cold therapy:
Applying heat or cold to the affected shoulder can help reduce pain and inflammation. Cold packs are typically used in the acute phase of an injury, while heat therapy is beneficial for chronic conditions.
In certain cases, using assistive devices such as slings, braces, or splints may be recommended to immobilize the shoulder, provide support, or protect it during the healing process. These devices help relieve stress on the shoulder joint and promote recovery.
Making certain lifestyle modifications can also contribute to managing and preventing shoulder pain. This may include maintaining a healthy weight, improving posture, and avoiding repetitive overhead activities or movements that can strain the shoulder.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS):
TENS therapy involves the use of a device that delivers low-voltage electrical currents through electrodes placed on the skin near the painful area. The electrical stimulation helps to block pain signals, stimulate the release of endorphins (natural pain-relieving chemicals), and promote circulation. TENS can be used as a non-invasive, drug-free method to relieve shoulder pain.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS):
EMS, also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation, involves the use of electrical currents to stimulate muscle contractions. It is often used to strengthen weak or injured muscles around the shoulder joint. EMS can help improve muscle strength, increase blood flow, reduce muscle spasms, and enhance muscle recruitment and coordination.
Interferential Current (IFC) Therapy:
IFC therapy involves the use of two medium-frequency electrical currents that intersect and produce a low-frequency current within the body. The intersecting currents create a deeper and more comfortable penetration of the electrical stimulation. IFC therapy helps to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve circulation. It is commonly used for shoulder pain caused by conditions like tendinitis, bursitis, or muscle strains.
Ultrasound therapy utilizes high-frequency sound waves to generate deep heat within the tissues. It can help increase blood flow, promote tissue healing, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain in the shoulder. Ultrasound therapy is often used in combination with other treatments, such as physiotherapy, to enhance their effectiveness.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or cold laser therapy involves the use of low-intensity lasers to stimulate cellular activity and promote tissue healing. Laser therapy can help reduce pain and inflammation, improve blood flow, and enhance tissue repair in the shoulder. It is a non-invasive and painless treatment option.
A physiotherapist will prescribe specific exercises to improve the strength, flexibility, and stability of the muscles and joints surrounding the shoulder. These exercises may include range-of-motion exercises, stretching exercises, strengthening exercises targeting the rotator cuff muscles and scapular stabilizers, and functional exercises to improve shoulder movement patterns.
Manual therapy techniques involve hands-on interventions performed by a physiotherapist. These techniques may include joint mobilizations, soft tissue mobilizations, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and other specialized techniques to reduce pain, improve joint mobility, and address muscle imbalances or restrictions in the shoulder and surrounding areas.
Posture Correction and Body Mechanics Training:
A physiotherapist can provide guidance on improving posture and body mechanics during daily activities to reduce stress and strain on the shoulder joint. They can teach proper techniques for lifting, carrying, and reaching to minimize the risk of further shoulder pain.
Physiotherapists focus not only on reducing pain but also on restoring your ability to perform functional activities. They can provide specific exercises and activities tailored to your work, sports, or daily life demands to help you regain optimal shoulder function and return to your normal activities.
Education and Self-Management Strategies:
Physiotherapists play a crucial role in educating you about your condition, teaching you self-management strategies, and providing ergonomic advice to prevent future shoulder problems. They can guide you on home exercises, proper body mechanics, and activity modifications to manage your shoulder pain effectively.