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What we’ll cover
  1. How does a shoulder move?
  2. What causes shoulder stiffness and pain?
  3. How can I improve my shoulder mobility?

Why is my shoulder pain not going away?

Shoulder stiffness is a common issue that we see at Malvern East Physiotherapy. Our shoulders are one of the most versatile joints in the body, in that it moves in 360°; in all planes of movement. All upper limb movements requires the shoulder to work in some capacity. That is why understanding what influences shoulder mobility is ultra-critical for healthy shoulders. Our physiotherapist Vernon Mittal looks into how the shoulder works and what might be causing your shoulder to be painful or stiff.

How does a shoulder move?

The shoulder joint is comprised of not only the “ball and socket” joint called the Glenohumeral joint, but also our shoulder blade (i.e. Scapula). All movement of the shoulder also takes into account movement at the shoulder blade, and this is called “Scapulohumeral rhythm”.

A crucial aspect to shoulder mobility that is often forgotten about is the movement that occurs at the Thoracic spine (i.e. upper back). It may seem that this area of the body is far away from the shoulder joint, however upper back stiffness can contribute to shoulder stiffness.

As you can see in the below pictures, being “rounded/stiff” in your upper back limits how much you ran raise your arm/flex your shoulder (first picture). Reducing your stiffness and standing in more extension allows for more movement of your arm (second picture). This is why thoracic stiffness cannot be forgotten with shoulder movement.

Rounded or stiff upper back
Flexible and mobile upper back.

What causes shoulder stiffness and pain?

Because our shoulders can do so much; push, pull, carry, rotate, flex and elevate, it can get worn down over time if we don’t keep them strong and mobile, with a higher risk of injuries. As we get older, degenerative changes i.e. normal age-related changes are more prone to occur, which plays a large role in contributing to shoulder stiffness.

Of course, after any previous surgeries or significant shoulder-related injuries, the rate of this degeneration increases which can unfortunately fast-track shoulder stiffness and potential pain.

However, despite this, regular strength and mobility exercises can significantly slow down the rate of degeneration and allows you to have a strong and mobile shoulder, without necessarily having any pain.

How can I improve my shoulder mobility?

Physiotherapy can greatly assist to improve shoulder mobility. Your physiotherapist will be able to assess and identify what particular factors could be affecting your shoulder mobility. An individualised treatment plan can then be implemented which may include joint mobilisations, soft tissue work, dry needling and exercises to improve your strength or flexibility.

If you are suffering from shoulder stiffness, please book online or call our team today. Our physiotherapists will perform a thorough and full assessment which will assist to keep your shoulders mobile. Often, pain can accompany stiffness, so it is critical that you reach out for help. We use our shoulders 24/7, so keeping them healthy must be a priority!

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Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone. Shoulder impingement can be incredibly frustrating and painful. 

Tony has been working closely with our physiotherapists Vernon and Dilen to get on top of his shoulder pain. His treatment plan has included hands-on physiotherapy and individualised exercises in our hydrotherapy and strength programs.

You Deserve to Feel Good.

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