Shoulder The Burden: How Physiotherapy Can Help Patients Suffering From Osteoarthritis Of The Shoulders

Health & Medical Blog

One of the main problems with treating a case of osteoarthritis is how diverse and widespread the damage it causes can be -- practically any joint in the body can be affect by the illness. The four joints that make up the shoulder can be particularly vulnerable to osteoarthritis, and if left untreated the damage caused can quickly make the affected shoulder(s) difficult and painful to use, particularly when carrying weights or raising your arms above your head.

Fortunately, the relative commonality of osteoarthritis damage in the shoulders means that medical professionals can offer a wide range of treatments, ranging from basic pain relief to sophisticated keyhole surgeries. Guided physiotherapy can be a particularly effective treatment, helping to relieve pain, improve mobility and promote healing of the damaged joints.

What does physiotherapy for arthritic shoulders involve?

The first part of your physiotherapy treatment is, naturally, finding a physiotherapist -- you can find one privately, or your GP can refer you to a suitable physiotherapist after assessing your needs and the scale of the damage in your shoulder. If possible, find a physiotherapist who specialises in treating musculoskeletal problems, as they will have exceptional knowledge and experience when it comes to treating osteoarthritis-related problems.

Once you see your physiotherapist, they will conduct a full and thorough assessment of the condition of your shoulder(s), including the amount of pain you experience and how much mobility has been lost. With the results of this assessment to work from, the physiotherapist will then put together a treatment plan, involving exercises and pain relief treatments that are tailored and scheduled to suit your individual needs. The following treatments can all form part of a treatment plan:

  • Pain relief can be provided in the form of standard oral medications, such as ibuprofen, as well as non-chemical treatments such as ice packs, heat packs and compression bandages. Some physiotherapists also offer pain relief in the form of ultrasound therapy or acupuncture. In cases of severe pain, your physiotherapist may be able to authorise corticosteroid injections  -- these injections are extremely effective but cannot be used as a long term solution.
  • Mobility exercises begin once the shoulder has healed to the point where it can be moved safely and with a minimum of pain. These generally involve simple stretching exercises which can be done at home, but your physiotherapist may also offer manual therapy, which involves moving and massaging the joints of the shoulder to reposition them and increase blood flow.
  • Strengthening exercises may also be used, particularly if you have suffered from shoulder problems for a long time. These exercises help restore strength to muscles that have atrophied due to atrophy or lack of use, and may involve free weights, resistance bands or other strength training equipment. These exercises are aimed at maintaining the shoulder's everyday effectiveness, allowing you to keep using it for strenuous tasks such as carrying heavy shopping.
  • Posture therapy may also be recommended if poor posture is exacerbating your condition, or if the pain and lack of mobility in your shoulder(s) has forced you to chance your posture. Physiotherapists will help yo to keep your spine and shoulders in the proper alignment, and will assess your walking gait to check for any abnormalities which may be placing increased strain on the shoulder(s)


26 August 2016

Picture Of Health: A Blog About Medical Matters

Hey there. My name is Wade, and I have been a first aid volunteer for the past twenty years. Most weekends you will find me at football games, rodeos, agricultural shows or fun runs. I really love being able to help at these events and provide the necessary level of assistance. As a first responder, my medical role is very limited, but, many injured people do contact me to give thanks after they recover. This has further sparked my interest in health and medicine. I love watching medical shows and reading basic texts to gain a greater understanding of particular medical problems. I'm sure there are others like me who take an amateur interest in health and medical matters. I started this blog to share intriguing information I come across. I hope you find my topics fascinating and instructive. Thank you for dropping by.