We recently had a competitive swimmer through the doors of Wellness Embodied who was struggling with persistent shoulder pain. This patient had seen two other physiotherapists who treated her shoulder locally with mild improvement, but the pain kept coming back when she returned to swimming. On assessment we did find a local impingement at the shoulder, but as the patient reported other physios found and treated the shoulder we decided to look for the root cause. The shoulder is a complex joint with many moving parts and relies on part on good mobility through the neck and upper back.
A full body assessment revealed a marked restriction of thoracic rotation, which was more pronounced on her painful side. When we broke it down to swimming, the patient was unable to rotate far enough to clear her arm from the water, so was compensating at the shoulder, overreaching and causing an impingement. Targeted joint manipulation, mobilisation and soft tissue release improved her thoracic rotation, and facilitated muscle activation restored her shoulder-blade mechanics and prevented impingement at the shoulder.
We provided a structured, progressive exercise program to maintain the improvements in range of movement and optimal muscular activation and guided our happy client back to the pool where she began gliding through the water pain free!
At Wellness Embodied we will always take the time to find the root cause of the problem, and not just treat symptoms.