Shoulder pain has become increasingly common among the UK population throughout 2020 and now into 2021, but why? Many of us are now suffering with a persistent shoulder pain and asking ourselves this exact question. The truth is, there are many reasons you may be suffering with shoulder pain and one of the main ones we are seeing right now is ‘stiff/tight shoulders’ due to lock-downs.
Tight shoulders can also cause pain or stiffness in your neck, back, and upper body, and limit your daily activities. Your shoulders may feel tight and stiff as the result of many things: stress, tension, overuse or underuse. Tight shoulders are mainly caused by sitting for extended periods, which is why we are seeing a huge rise in the numbers of patients with shoulder pains due to working from home. Tight or stiff shoulders can also occur from incorrect sleeping positions, and injuries. Poor posture and improper alignment of your body can also play a part.
Improper posture and sitting for extended periods go hand in hand as lock-downs and our new routines of working from home has left many of us unequipped with inadequate work stations. These DIY work stations are usually being formed of dressing tables/ dining tables and dining chairs, some of us may even be sitting on sofas. All of which are not the correct and advised home office ergonomics and are now having a detrimental effect on our posture with improper alignments and heights. Dining chairs offer little to absolutely no back support which then forces our backs to curve and slouch resulting in our shoulders being in improper alignment.
By now we all know that sitting at an improper work station can cause extra shoulder aches and pains that we didn’t have before, but not only this… you could also cause a serious injury. Shoulder injuries and pain are common in people who work at home. The abnormal posture when someone slouches over a laptop for several hours each day can leadto tendonitis, bursitis and impingement of the shoulder. This is the altered mechanics around the shoulder, which result from this abnormal posture, and can lead to injuries when people then go on to play sport or train in the gym. This now leads us on to our second most common type of shoulder pain, the ‘coming out of lock-down’ shoulder pain.
Many of us have now decided to head back into the gym or start playing the organised outdoor sport that we used to love pre-lockdown such as tennis or golf. However, after such an extended amount of time with our bodies stagnant without our usual routines and sports keeping us fit and our joints supple, our bodies are not quite ready to return to this. This is why many of our patients are coming in with sport related shoulder pain and injuries after pushing themselves a little too hard. It is easily done for many of us as we are familiar with our old sporting activities and so we assume this time off won’t make a difference but it does. At ALO we are encouraging that if you are going back into the gym after this time or want to start getting back into your usual sport again that you allow yourself a 2-day rest break between each activity. This allows time to ease back into it and avoid injury or pain. We also advise that you work out or play your sport for just half of the time you used to initially. For those of you who perhaps never played tennis or golf in the past but are looking to try it now since we are out of the lock-down…DON’T! The main source of injuries at the moment is of patients diving into a new sport they have never played before and shocking their body resulting in injury. We recommend starting with a sport that you used to play but performing the tips above before moving onto any new sports or gym routines.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain due to any of the reasons above then seeing a physiotherapist will enable you to recover quickly and get back to sports, work and the things you enjoy most.
How a physiotherapist can help
We will ask you in detail about the symptoms and assess the biomechanics of how you move, your posture and the function of your muscles, joints and ligaments.
We will then diagnose the cause of the neck pain; this may include identification of a number of factors which have contributed to the pain starting.
We will formulate a treatment plan and discuss this with you. Treatments will first be targeted at reducing pain and then rehabilitation to maximise functioning of the affected area. Treatments may include:
- Manual Therapy
- Rehabilitative exercise
To book in for your free initial assessment please call us on: 0207 636 8845