Shoulder Impingement: what is it and how do I get rid of it?

The shoulder joint is composed of three bones: the humerus (top of the arm bone), the clavicle (collarbone) and the scapula (shoulder blade). 

The shoulder joint is extremely mobile and the bones are held in place by the rotator cuff and shoulder blade muscles. There are over fifteen muscles that must work together to move the shoulder normally.

Shoulder impingement happens when the muscles are imbalanced in strength and/or flexibility and it leads to a decreased amount of space between the bones as you elevate your arm. This creates pain as the structures (bursa/tendons) are pinched. Postural problems may contribute to faulty positioning of the shoulder joint. Previous injury to the rotator cuff muscles may also pre-dispose an individual to shoulder impingement.

If you have pain or difficulty with elevating your arm, lifting an object away from you or throwing overhead you should see a physiotherapist as soon as possible. If you let your symptoms go on for a long time it is more difficult to reverse the damage done. Your symptoms could progress to pain at rest and aching during the night. See your movement specialist (physiotherapist) to assess the problem and give you the correct course of treatment to fix your problem. You do not require a doctor’s note to see a physiotherapist.

Manual therapy is effective in controlling pain and improving range of motion for knee arthritis

If you have osteoarthritis (OA) it is not a prescription for misery and chronic pain.

Research has shown that manual therapy techniques used by physiotherapists are very effective in pain/swelling control and in increasing range of motion in patients with knee osteoarthritis.  Patients treated 2-3 times a week by a physiotherapist and those who maintain their benefits with a home exercise program have the best outcomes.  Physiotherapists have the knowledge to educate patients with OA on pacing, gait aids, ergonomics and activity progression.


IMS (Intramuscular Stimulation)/DRY NEEDLING:   How can this help me recover from recurrent pain and injury?

This treatment resets a super-sensitive nervous system. The super-sensitivity can develop from repetitive strain, postural stress, trauma or inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. The muscles supplied by the dysfunctional nerve become shortened, tight, weak and painful. These muscles feel chronically tight and don’t seem to relax no matter how often you stretch.

IMS/Dry Needling Technique:

The physiotherapist inserts a thin acupuncture needle (0.30 mm width) into the affected muscle to reset and lengthen it. This restores the normal muscle and nerve function and RELIEVES pain. Healing is also stimulated. Once the normal functioning of the muscle-nerve loop has been restored, the client can then resume his/her rehabilitation exercises with better success.


Falling injuries

Falling is a leading cause of injuries for seniors.  It is estimated that 1 in 3 adults over 65 years of age will suffer a fall each year, and that half of those will suffer significant injury.  Many of these injuries, which often lead to a loss of independence, can be avoided.  Have a look around your home.  Make sure hallways and paths are clear of clutter, loose rugs, low furniture, and electrical cords.  Have your physician review any medications you may be taking if you feel your balance is worsening.  There are specific exercises that can help improve balance.  A physiotherapist can assess to determine what is contributing to your falls and what areas need improving.  You may require more core or leg strength or more mobility in your legs. The physiotherapist will prescribe appropriate exercises for you to work on at home.  The physiotherapist may prescribe a walking aid like walking poles which can provide good fitness, posture, and balance support.
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