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Healthy Living Blog

Tips and News for Healthy Living from the Active Health Institute


Snow Shoveling and Shoulder Pain

It’s that time of year when everyone begins their battle with winter. A time when nagging or old injuries can once again start disrupting your daily activities. Physiotherapy can be a preventative tool or treatment for many of these types of injuries.

Shoulder pain is a common complaint once shoveling has been added to the long list of daily activities. Heavy or light, the repetitive nature of shoveling can lead to pain in the shoulder, upper back and arm often revealing an underlying weakness or issue, such as tendonitis, that has been keeping itself under the radar. People frequently describe a poor night sleep, limited range of motion, difficulty with basic household activity and even neck pain and headaches.

“Tendonitis”, “frozen shoulder” and “Rotator cuff” are terms generally used in the diagnosis of shoulder pain but sometimes a diagnosis is more of a description of the symptoms rather than revealing what is the true cause of the pain. Most of theses types of shoulder injuries occur because of issues with posture and shoulder weakness that lead to irritation, pinching and eventual inflammation. While  anti-inflammatories (Advil ® / Aleve ®  / Aspirin ® ), ice and rest can help, as can an injection, they don’t address the underlying problem and the pain usually returns over time. Instead you should think Physiotherapy.

Frequently, most shoulder injuries can be resolved by visiting a Physiotherapist for a thorough assessment, postural and rotator cuff retraining, stretching and specific muscle strengthening.  Coupled with other treatments such as manual therapy, therapeutic ultrasound and acupuncture, recovery is often quick and painless.

The most important reason for following a treatment plan devised by a physiotherapist is that you can return to ALL of your activities.  The next time that sore shoulder gives you a wake up call, let our physiotherapists at the Active Health Institute help relieve that pain and find the root cause , so that you can be ready to shovel all of that lovely white stuff we enjoy every year here in Ottawa, (Barrhaven).

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