Shoulder stiffness can disrupt the ability of the individual to perform various tasks at home and at work. The management for shoulder stiffness usually includes stretching exercises that helps increase the flexibility as well as the range of motion in the joint.
Depending on the treatment used, myofascial trigger point therapy can be used to relieve the symptoms of shoulder stiffness as well as massage. A doctor should be consulted so that the suitable treatment can be started.
What are the causes of shoulder stiffness?
Shoulder stiffness can originate from various causes including surgical procedures as well as work or sport-related injuries. The swelling and inflammation are often due to the formation of scar tissue in the shoulder joint which disrupts normal movement.
Muscular imbalance in the shoulders and upper back can also lead to shoulder stiffness. Even weakened or tight muscles can also affect the manner on how the upper arm bone sits in the shoulder socket, thus increasing the friction and pain. There are also certain conditions such as arthritis and diabetes that can lead to stiffness of the shoulder.
Physical therapy which includes stretching and specific exercises are commonly used in managing shoulder stiffness. Mild stretching focused on the shoulders and arms can prevent stiffness of the ligaments, muscles and tendons as well as increasing the range of motion.
Once the pain or discomfort subsides and a certain degree of range of movement returns, the doctor might recommend strengthening exercises especially if there is muscular imbalance.
The stretching routine might include shoulder flexion, external shoulder rotation and crossover arm stretch. The physical therapist might suggest pendulum exercises that are performed without weights. The individual can also pull the shoulder blades together and roll the shoulders since these are considered as gentle strengthening exercises. The physical therapist will gradually add resistance exercises.
What is myofascial trigger point therapy?
The myofascial trigger points are the contracted muscles that feel similar to knots. These trigger points develop in injured or stressed muscles and refer the pain to other parts of the body.
With this form of therapy, the practitioner presses on and around the trigger points that result to pain. Take note that this therapy can help reduce the shoulder stiffness and pain.
Other forms of therapy for shoulder stiffness
The other forms of therapy that are used in managing shoulder stiffness include general massage and ultrasound. These can help relieve the stiffness in the shoulder but might not provide pain relief or promote faster recovery.
In a study conducted, it was discovered that those who have exercise therapy with focus on joint mobilization experienced the successful relief and had the highest chance to regain range of motion. Among those who opted for massage and ultrasound, only 50% experienced any improvements