‘Exercise as Treatment Tool for Weak & Painful Shoulder ’

People can suffer from Different types of Shoulder Pain and Symptoms, hence each Shoulder problem needs to be correctly diagnosed and treated accordingly. Hence we need to classify Shoulder Pain into 3 different Groups;

  1. The Stiff and Painful Shoulder

  • such as Frozen Shoulders, arthritic shoulders or a Dislocated Shoulder

  1. Weak & Painful Shoulder

  • Subacromial Bursa issue, A Rotator Cuff tendon tear or Tendinopathy

  1. Unstable & Painful Shoulder

– Previous history of a Traumatic Shoulder Dislocation, Poor muscle control, Defects in the Shoulder complex since birth.

In this article we will focus on the ‘Weak & Painful Shoulder’ associated with Tendinopathy of the Rotator Cuff tendon group or an inflammed Subacromial Bursa of the Shoulder joint.

The Symptoms that a Patient would report are;

  • Difficulty & Weakness picking up a kettle

  • Arm can feel heavier when attempting to pick up simple things

  • Pain is eased with resting it or holding it still

Resistence exercise to Reduce Shoulder Pain

Adam Meakins, a renowned UK based Physiotherapist, has put forward a simple technique for treating the weak & painful shoulder. The use of Isometric strengthening exercises in the early stage can help to desensitize or decrease acute shoulder pain in many patients. Isometric exercises involves applying resistence to a muscle or tendon without any movement occurring in the joint so that there is no change in the length of the muscle or tendon. An example would involve, a patient sitting beside a wall with elbow bent to 90 degree and gently pressing the forearm against the wall. The duration can be held for 30 seconds and performed 4-6 times at numerous intervals throughout the day. On a pain-scale of 0-10, with 10 be excruciating pain, the patients pain should not be greater than 3/10. This exercise should only performed under the guidance of your Practitioner to ensure it is suitable for your shoulder condition and secondly that it being performed correctly.

Gripping or fist clenching during the isometric exercise is beneficial also as it serves to activate the rotator cuff tendons of the shoulder, which can help reduce pain sensitivity levels. Isometric exercise is a treatment tool, that where appropritate, can used alongside effective manual shoulder treatment. Patients must also continue their use of cold therapy and avoiding aggravating activities during this phase of shoulder pain.

Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy and is based in Thurles. Contact Number: 0504 26672 Email your queries to: tomaspryan@gmail.com

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Physiotherapy & Injury Rehabilitation Clinic in Tipperary

0504 26672


The Surgery, Fianna Road, Thurles


Riverside Medical Centre, 7 Upper

Irishtown, Clonmel

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Receipts are provided after each treatment for tax or health insurance companies.