Musculoskeletal disorders are commonly experienced by older adults and are directly related to a decline in general health and reduced quality of life, with the shoulder joint commonly being affected. Studies have revealed
that the prevalence of shoulder pain in the general adult population ranges from 6.9% to 31%; however, the prevalence of shoulder pain peaks in individuals aged 45 to 64 years. It’s not just shoulder pain that poses an issue
with aging; shoulder range of motion is also affected. It has been found that the shoulder range of motion decreases by approximately 6 degrees per decade in both men and women aged 55 to 86 years.
Common Shoulder Issues in Older Individuals
Your shoulders are integral for your mobility and independence – healthy and pain free shoulders are critical for positioning your hands to do everyday tasks such as combing your hair, putting on or taking off a shirt, driving a car, lifting groceries, etc.; therefore, keeping your shoulders healthy as you age is critical to experience an optimal quality of life.
Each shoulder joint includes the shoulder blade, humerus (upper arm bone), and clavicle (collarbone). The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that help you rotate and raise your arm, while the bursa is a small cushion that protects the shoulder joint by reducing friction between the bones and the tendons of the shoulder. Over time, wear and tear of the joint can result in arthritis, as well as rotator cuff tears. Additionally, inflammation of the protective bursa and tendinitis can occur when the joint is overloaded, experiences a trauma, or repetitively works with poor mechanics, or as a result of poor body posture.
Physiotherapy for Healthy Shoulders
Physiotherapy can help to maintain the health of your shoulders as you age. After a thorough assessment of your shoulder joint, which always includes examining your neck and back posture, your physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan that may involve a variety of therapies. These may include manual therapy, modalities such as ice and heat, as well as exercises to stretch and strengthen the shoulder joint and improve posture.
Simple Shoulder Exercises
Below are a few simple shoulder exercises that your physiotherapist may recommend to keep your shoulders healthy as you age. These exercises are for examples only. Exercise prescriptions are based on each patients condition - contact us for advice prior to beginning any exercises on your own.
Shoulder Pendulum - this one is especially great if you have an acute injury or a stiff shoulder
Isometric Shoulder External Rotation
Isometric Shoulder Internal Rotation
If you’re looking to keep your shoulders healthy as you age, you may benefit from physiotherapy, which will involve an individualized treatment plan that is tailored specifically to your shoulder symptoms. You will work with your physiotherapist to set goals and track your progress as you work through your treatment plan.
Undergoing a physiotherapy assessment is one of the best ways to keep your shoulders healthy as you age. After the assessment, our physiotherapists will create a program that is specific to your needs and set you on the right path toward optimal functioning of your shoulder joints.
ProActive Rehab & Sport Injury Centre is your centre of choice for effective injury management and prevention in a professional, relaxed, motivating environment. We will guide you along your way to reaching your full potential! ProActive Rehab is a multidisciplinary rehabilitation facility located in the heart of downtown Huntsville Ontario. We offer a wide range of services including physiotherapy, massage therapy, occupational therapy, aquatherapy and post-rehab aquacise, cardiac rehabilitation, custom foot orthotics, braces, supports and rehab products. We pride ourselves in being the centre of choice in north Muskoka for exemplary customer service, professional and effective rehab programs and experienced staff all in a relaxed and motivating environment! Shop on our online store click here