As physiotherapists, we see a lot of patients with painful shoulders. Usually this pain has been around for some time and is not getting any better. Often our patients have been elsewhere and tried trigger point releases, massage, and even some theraband exercises but frustratingly they are still in pain. Unfortunately, too often we hear from patients that they have been told their shoulders are just “tight”. Sure they might be, but fixing the tightness won’t offer a long term solution (you might liken it to simply putting a bucket under a leaking tap). In our clinic we often talk about how when it comes to shoulders, two shoulders with the same “diagnosis” can require two different treatment and rehabilitation plans.
Some patients have a great outcome from a cortisone injection, many do not. Some patients respond well to trigger point releases around the shoulder, some do not. But the common theme we do see is that all shoulders need some form of strengthening (and by shoulders, we mean more than just the rotator cuff). Exercises done in shoulder rehabilitation need to be more than just therabands. This is a good start in a lot of cases but we need to think more functional and think about pull, push and press movements in addition to rotation.
Where the challenge lies is that a loading protocol that works for one patient, might not work for another. But the good news is we keep adjusting until we find the sweet spot. So if you have been struggling with shoulder pain; been told that your pain is due to “tightness” and perhaps even tried cortisone injections to no avail, then we need to chat so that we can start loading the shoulder again and remember, a strong shoulder is a healthy shoulder.
Yours in health