The shoulder consists of the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula). They form a ball and socket type joint with the ball being the end of the humerus fitting into the scapulas socket. There is a group of muscles which protect and control movement of the shoulder called the rotator cuff.
Injury Process – Four stages
- Stage One: Pain is present with normal movement- the beginning of the inflammatory process
- Stage Two: The shoulder capsule becomes swollen and thickened and consequently movement becomes restricted. Pain becomes more intense and can move down arm and into hand.
- Stage Three: This stage can last for months where if left alone the inflammation can continue leading to scarring. This is why even when pain is gone movement restrictions may remain.
- Stage Four: Scarring gradually stretches and in 90% of cases full movement returns
Signs and Symptoms
- Gradual onset of soreness
- Limited movement of the shoulder
- Worse at night
- Constant pain
Cause is unknown but it is an inflammatory process of the glenohumeral joint
Commonly no trauma associated
- Non steroidal anti-inflammatories
- Avoid sporting and aggravating activities during the inflammatory stages of the condition
- Once inflammatory cycle resolves then a specific stretching program can be instigated
Often physiotherapy treatment following a cortisone injection into glenohumeral joint can accelerate the recovery process but should be discussed with your health professional.