Shoulder injuries caused by tendinitis or a tear in one of the rotator cuff muscles are relatively common with up to 25% of people over the age of 50 having some form of rotator cuff problem. But this type of injury is not the sole domain of older people, it can happen to young, fit and healthy people as well.
Your home is your castle
As long as people have been building roofs over their heads, they’ve been fixing them and there’s nothing unusual about anyone wanting to do their best to keep the place they live in looking tip top.
But maintaining one’s castle is not always as easy as Better Homes and Gardens would have you believe, it’s bloody hard work and there is always the risk of injury.
Jason, a frequent visitor of the gym and regular basketball player, discovered just that when he injured his shoulder earlier this year carrying out some maintenance work on his home
What have you done to yourself?
As Jason explains, the cause of his shoulder complaint wasn’t in doubt.
“I was outside using a sanding block to remove the flaking paint from the fascia boards.
“That’s when I felt the sharp and constant pains begin in my right shoulder.”
Rather than giving it a “she’ll be ‘right” attitude and struggling through day to day life with the pain and discomfort, as many people may be inclined to do, Jason went to see a specialist.
Jason spoke of some of the restrictions his injured shoulder was placing on him.
“When it first started it was quite a sharp pain.
“I couldn’t really reach above my head with that arm and certainly couldn’t bear any weight on it.
The first port of call for Jason was to see a physiotherapist and have his shoulder assessed.
Before the physiotherapist could settle on a diagnosis, Jason went through a series of physical tests on his shoulder to try and determine the specific area causing him pain.
“They got me to perform a range of movements with my shoulder and arm to try and determine in which directions and at which angles I was experiencing pain and reduced movement.
“They measured the range of movement available in my arm and shoulder when I raised it in an arc from down against my hip to pointing straight up in the air.
“My shoulder was limited to 135 degrees of movement and could not reach the full 180 degrees of a properly functioning shoulder.
“I was told the probable cause of my injury was a slight tear of one of the rotator cuff muscles.
“It was the tear and resulting inflammation that was creating the pain and reduced movement in my shoulder.”
Now the cause of the shoulder complaint had been located, Jason set about taking the necessary steps to treat it.
The physio informed him that the blame for the shoulder injury could not be placed entirely on the well-intentioned home renovation furore, but that it was in fact the result of another underlying problem.
“I have particularly bad posture and that causes me to have my shoulders in a position that continually adds stress and pressure on the rotator cuff muscle group.”
This poor posture essentially causes premature wear and tear on the muscles meaning that they now have to be exercised and strengthened in a specific way so Jason can bring everything back into alignment.
If Jason focused solely on treating his shoulder there is a chance that further complications may arise in the future because of the poor posture problem.
So what are you going to do about it?
Armed with a treatment and rehabilitation plan from the physiotherapist, Jason could now take those first steps towards recovery.
The treatment plan consisted of specific exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles plus a series of more general recommendations to help correct the bad posture that was contributing to the discomfort.
Jason had to carry out these exercises 3 to 4 times a day while also taking a break from working out, sports and – most obviously – home renovating.
After following the physio’s instructions to the letter for a month, Jason slipped into that all too familiar trap of deciding that she in fact would be ‘right. Potentially undoing all of his hard work, he went back to living life the way he wanted.
“When I returned to the gym and basketball I felt some mild discomfort but it wasn’t until the posture exercises started causing problems on my previously unaffected shoulder that I decided to get more treatment.”
Jason decided to visit a remedial massage therapist.
The therapist performed a deep tissue massage which Jason says can feel a little uncomfortable at times.
“In order to affect the deep tissue they have to use quite a bit of force.
“The massage was well worth it as I had some extra movement in my shoulder that wasn’t there previously.
“The massage therapist also suggested some more exercises I could be doing to strengthen the area.”
Taking care of business
Jason now had all the right exercises to help correct his posture and get his shoulder feeling good again. Much the same way a motor car can only perform at its peak when all of its components are working together harmoniously, Jason too had to service multiple parts of his body to return it to peak condition.
By carrying out the ongoing treatment regime of shoulder and posture correction exercises Jason continues to experience improvement in the function of his shoulder.
The key point Jason has learnt through this experience is to take more notice of your posture and the way it can affect different parts of your body.
“Correct posture will help keep all the muscles at the right strength and position to hold your joints more securely leaving you less prone to this type of injury.”
To anyone who is literally carrying a burden on their shoulders, heed Jason’s advice by seeking treatment that is as much a preventative as it is a cure.
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