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Shoulder and Elbow Pain

Your osteopath can help with aches and pains in the shoulder and elbow. You don’t need a referral to see us: we can diagnose and treat your problem from the first appointment.

Shoulder Problems

A shoulder ailment that people are often familiar with is Frozen Shoulder. However, not everyone knows the signs. Not all stiff shoulders are frozen, the name actually refers to one specific condition: adhesive capsulitis. This is where the capsule, which is the layer around the ball and socket joint, becomes restricted. Often this happens for no apparent reason, but there are connections to diabetes and some medications. You are also more likely to develop frozen shoulder in the other side if you’ve had it already in the last seven years.

Moving away from the shoulder joint itself, aches and pains are common in the shoulder muscles. When the muscles blending into the neck are affected, you might develop headaches. These might be resolved by treating the shoulder to get to the root of the problem. Sometimes the original cause goes even further back than that, lying instead in the diaphragm. Your osteopath will take a detailed case history at your first appointment to help to identify any factors causing your pain. Sometimes a stressful period causes changes in breathing, which in turn affects the shoulder.

Shoulder and Elbow

Elbow Problems

We see fewer elbow problems than shoulder problems, but that’s not to say there’s any less we can do for it.

Tennis Elbow is one of the more common elbow conditions we see in clinic. It often starts as a muscular strain, but through repeated irritation, the join between muscle and bone becomes inflamed. This causes pain, which may counterintuitively encourage the muscles to tighten even further. Breaking the cycle can be hard on your own, but your osteopath can help. The muscles involved actually work on the wrist, not the elbow. Tennis elbow is a condition of the wrist extensors, whereas Golfer’s Elbow affects the flexors. The two conditions are otherwise very similar: we can help with treatment and advice for both.

Bursae are little fatty pads found all over the body. Their role is to minimise friction between tendons and bone, but they can themselves be irritated too. When this happens and they become inflamed, it is called bursitis. There is a bursa at the point of the elbow, which serves to protect the bone from injury from external forces. Like other bursae, this one is subject to inflammation under the right conditions. The colloquial name for bursitis here is “student’s elbow” as it can be brought on by the repeated pressure of a desk. Some cases are completely painless, but either way the bursa can become very swollen. It can come as quite a shock, and you may prefer to see your GP when you notice it. Your osteopath can help support its recovery by reducing pressure from other structures. We can also advise you with your ergonomics to help you keep your elbow off the table until it heals.

Osteopathy for Shoulder and Elbow Problems

Whether your pain is local to the arm or not, we can assess, diagnose, and devise a treatment plan. Some arm problems are caused by something in the neck or upper back, and we can identify these and help you to manage them. Other conditions not mentioned above, such as other sports injuries, are also within our remit. If in doubt, get in contact before booking in.

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