Shoulder Injuries in Australia

Australian man with shoulder injuries

How common are shoulder injuries in Australia?

Shoulder injuries in Australia are a common condition according to Musculoskeletal Australia and occur in all ages. Younger individuals with shoulder pain have likely been involved in an accident on an injury. As people get older, there is more wear and tear that occurs in the shoulder joints and rotator cuff tendon.

What are shoulder injuries?

Shoulder injuries are a super common condition and can have many different causes.

From the WPH Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Centre, the signs of a shoulder injury include: 

  • Pain at night and difficulty sleeping on the affected side
  • Feelings of stiffness in the shoulder
  • Discomfort with overhead activities, or reaching behind your back
  • Feeling as if the shoulder could pop out of its socket
  • Problems with everyday activities due to lack of shoulder strength or flexibility

Shoulder problems vary in seriousness and can be acute with a sudden onset or be chronic and develop over time. It is important to recognize the signs of a shoulder injury before they get worse.

What are the related symptoms of a shoulder injury?

From Dignity Health, pain is a symptom of almost every shoulder problem. The pain can range from dull and achy to sharp and severe. The specific location of pain within the shoulder can help your doctor diagnose the problem.

Along with shoulder pain, other signs and symptoms include stiffness, weakness, and an inability to rotate or raise your arm through a normal range of movement. Your shoulder may also feel loose like it could pop or slide out of place. For fractures and dislocations, the shoulder may appear deformed.

What are the causes of shoulder injuries?

According to Health Direct, are many causes of shoulder injuries, including but not limited to:

  • General wear and tear with increasing age
  • Poor posture
  • An injury to the shoulder (tears or strains, dislocation or fracture)
  • Arthritis
  • A frozen shoulder (when the tissues harden around the joint)
  • Overuse (for example, during certain sports or other activities that involve continual or repetitive use of the shoulder)
  • Inflammation in the fluid sacs in the joints called bursitis
  • Weakness or overuse of the muscles around the shoulder called the rotator cuff
  • Inflammation of the tendons called tendonitis
  • Problems with the muscles, ligaments and tendons around the shoulder
  • Pain from a problem in the neck or spine
  • Nerve pain
  • Pain after surgery
  • An underlying medical condition

What help is available for Australians with a shoulder injury? 

From Better Health, there are many treatments for shoulder pain, including:

  • Physiotherapy: One of the first treatment approaches for shoulder pain involves physiotherapy and modifying the activities that aggravate the pain. Physiotherapy exercises will aim to fix problems such as stiffness and weakness. 
  • Occupational therapy: They can help you learn better ways to carry out daily activities such as bathing, dressing, working or driving. They can also provide aids and equipment to make everyday activities easier.
  • Heat and cold packs: help provide you with temporary relief of pain and stiffness.
  • Medication: Medications such as paracetamol and low-dose anti-inflammatories can be helpful in controlling pain while you work to maintain and restore movement and function. 
  • Surgery: The work that you have already done to try and resolve your shoulder pain (such as physiotherapy) is important when facing shoulder surgery. Being informed, and maintaining muscle strength and range of motion leads to better results after surgery. Post-surgery rehabilitation is also important for good results.
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