How to recover from a shoulder injury

You’ve been told you have a shoulder injury; it hurts to move, and the pain is getting in the way of your daily activities. Now what? Here are a few things to consider as you begin your journey to recovery:

  1. It is important to have a thorough assessment of your shoulder by a rehab professional to determine the cause of your pain and suitable treatment. Physiotherapists are trained to help you create the best plan of action for your recovery as well as provide you with evidence-based education to guide your treatment. Receiving accurate information can help you understand why you are experiencing pain, and help you navigate how to overcome it.   

  2. Many factors can contribute to shoulder pain: past injuries, spinal issues, the sports and activities you do, your stress levels and even the quality of  your sleep. Your rehab professional will be able to determine the root cause of the issue, and guide you to recovery.

  3. Create  healthy habits while you are dealing with your injury. Good nutrition, adequate sleep, and stress management contribute to healthy recovery.

  4. Research has shown exercise is an effective short and long-term approach to treating shoulder injuries.  It’s also considered a preferred course of treatment before surgery. A recent study states that there is no conclusive evidence that surgical intervention is more effective than conservative treatment. Discuss an active treatment approach with your rehab professional to help get you started.

  5. Continue moving! Gentle movement is important. Multiple studies have shown that the tissues of the shoulder respond positively to mechanical load. This means movement is good! Remember that motion is lotion and rest is rust. Work with your physiotherapist to determine the most appropriate exercise program, and discuss strategies for working with your shoulder pain.

Shoulder injuries are common and are likely to recover with some guidance and evidence-based treatment strategies. For more information, contact us to set up an appointment.


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By Ali Alexander, Physiotherapist