Being one of the most mobile joints in the body makes the shoulder more susceptible to injury. The rotator cuff, the four main muscles that move the shoulder, surround a number of bones known as the clavicle, scapula and humerus. Between the cuff and the clavicle is a nerve and subacromial bursa (cavity) and when the shoulder function gets impaired from either trauma or repetitive movements, this gap can reduce and cause pinching on the nerve or swelling of the bursa.
Symptoms: Pain can be felt in the shoulder joint and when lying on it whilst in bed. You have restrictive movement and are unable to lift your am above 90 degrees without experiencing pain. You are unable to put your arm behind your back.
Treatment: Treatment of impingement syndrome involves figuring out the cause for the dysfunction and strengthening the muscles that are weak. Massage and mobilisation can help resolve problems.
Prognosis: The recovery from this injury can take 3-18 months. A very small proportion may take longer but it depends merely on what is causing the pain.
Biceps tendinopathy creates pain usually in the front of the shoulder and is caused by the biceps tendon becoming inflamed. Inflammation can be from a trauma or can be from repetitive strain.
Symptoms: You may just wake up with pain in the front of your shoulder or it can be made worse by lying on it and by reaching overhead.
Treatment: This can include strengthening the tendon to allow it to cope under increased loads as well as massage and mobilisation techniques to provide as little tension as possible on the tendon.
Prognosis: The majority of these injuries can take anything between 4-12 weeks to improve.
Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)
A frozen shoulder has three stages, the first involving a lot of pain and not much stiffness, the second stage involves equal amounts of stiffness and pain and the final stage, mainly stiffness with little pain. This condition can be self-limiting and can start after trauma or after surgery.
Symptoms: Pain and stiffness is experienced around the shoulder joint with a restriction of all shoulder movement. You are unable to reach above your head.
Treatment: Using conservative treatment involving mobilisation, can improve the range of motion. Massage and exercise, along with lifestyle advice, will also help deal with the condition.
Prognosis: Frozen shoulder can take between 4 months - 3 years to improve and will be dependant on sticking to exercise regimes and adhering to lifestyle changes.