Pain stories from lockdown: lets start with shoulders.

Ok, so it has been 5 weeks now since we opened back up our doors at David Lloyd Club in Peterborough for our physiotherapy and sports massage service after the COVID-19 lockdown period in the UK.  During the “great pause” of the lockdown period for many, we continued to see our patients virtually and I hope to blog more on what we learned about that time, alongside our patients, in future blogs. Since we have returned to face to face practice, however, I have been staggered by the demand for our service.

So what have we heard and seen most of during the time we have been back?  People with stories of shoulder pain and how it is affecting their day to day life.

I suspect the patients we have seen so far are just the tip of the iceberg in the mountain of shoulder pain that’s out there post lockdown. I’m hoping this blog will help people out there to understand they are not alone and encourage them to seek help if shoulder pain is affecting how they do the things they love.

What I have noticed post lockdown is just how many people have similar stories about how their own shoulder pain has come on, how it presents, and how it bothers them.

Think of pain as an “alarm system”.  The sensitivity of that “alarm system” can be raised by many factors; activity levels, sleep, stress, hormonal issues, mood, social isolation and loneliness, other medical conditions, inflammatory factors (including the link with obesity), beliefs about your body, previous injuries, previous ways in which you have learnt to deal to behave when you have pain…..the list goes on….

How many people have seen their activity level on a daily basis change during the lockdown period?  What I have been hearing is that many individuals have been working from home, or at least confined to it, and so their normal average movements have been significantly reduced.  Getting out and about in society gets our minds and bodies active. A change brought on as a result of lockdown can be potentially a real shock to the system.  Inherently, its very human for such a change to alter our survival response, increase our threat level and therefore alter our sensitivity to pain. I’m hearing stories of people suddenly working from their home office (aka their sofa!) and putting in exceptionally long hours in one position clued to a screen.  Maybe with a bit of home schooling stress thrown in.  Worry about loved ones associated with the threat of COVID-19 (throw in watching the news; enough to send even the most chilled individuals into a state of mind blown panic).  Many people have done their best to keep active outside of their work time, but often by doing excessive activity in small windows of opportunity.  DIY, garden projects, Joe Wicks.  Activity is great, of course, but if the level suddenly increases, it can be a real trigger for pain.  Throw in a change in sleep pattern…….do you see the theme? The perfect storm for pain has been set. Pain often emerges at a time of life change and those shoulders have taken a bit of a hammering of late.

Shoulder pain can be caused by a range of reasons. Our team of Chartered Physiotherapists are trained medical professionals experienced in diagnosing and treating shoulder pain.  The majority of shoulder pain can be managed with physiotherapy and, with us, you are safe in our hands.  Our role is to help you make sense of your shoulder pain and collaborate with you with a physiotherapy programme to reduce your pain and get back your function.   We work closely with local NHS services, GP and Consultants so if, after assessment, we think you need some additional help from our medical colleagues, we can help you navigate where to go next.

If you are in pain and its affecting what you do, get in touch to make an appointment.  Easiest way is to book online or by calling 01733-565911, or emailing