Physiotherapy for Shoulder Pain – My Own Experience

Physiotherapy for Shoulder Pain - My Own Experience

As a registered acupuncturist and TCM practitioner, I see a lot of patients with shoulder and neck/upper-back pain, which oftentimes are all related. The best things I can offer them (in addition to acupuncture) are exercises I’ve learned working with some of our excellent physiotherapists at Yellow Gazebo. This post in fact, was inspired by a recent visit with Alice Li - one of those very physios.

Now, my shoulder/upper back concern was not severe and was likely even something most people would ignore. And it would have disappeared on its own I’m sure, but it also would have reappeared eventually because that’s exactly what it seemed to be doing.

Specifically, my left shoulder had some pain sort of at the upper part of my shoulder blade, and the pain seemed to be radiating into my neck and even a little down my left shoulder. It was pretty bearable for the most part, but definitely made it difficult to drive easily and to help manage my two little toddlers at home.

Alice was great at massaging and manipulating the muscles around the affected area, and this brought me a lot of relief. But what has helped for the most part and kept the pain from coming back for weeks, were the few exercises she gave me to do. Now, I’m not going to be specific here about what Alice showed me to do because these exercises may not be right for you in terms of your own concerns, but suffice it to say she had to test my proprioception with my left arm vs. my right arm. This involved me moving my left arm to and from certain positions, and comparing these movements with that of my right. Not surprisingly, my right arm was much better than my left (I’m right handed after all, and also don’t usually experience pain in my right shoulder).

Learning about this imbalance reinforced something I’ve been coming back to repeatedly for many years now, and that’s the importance of muscular balance is in the body and how important it is to strive to achieve this balance. We go to the gym or exercise in other ways usually doing the same movements on each side, to the same degree and with the same motion, weight, etc. This helps us get stronger and for the most part helps us feel and look good. Then when we get aches and pains we see a massage therapist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, acupuncturist (can’t leave myself out!), and ask them to ‘fix’ us.

Hey, we love getting your money, but to be honest we’d rather be treating you for things you CAN’T prevent or treat on your own. And with a lot of types of pain, e.g. shoulder pain, you CAN prevent issues by seeing someone such as a physiotherapist to learn the right exercises. For me it’s taken many attempts over the years to learn what works best, and I always seem to learn more and more. These days if you see me at the gym, I’m mostly doing exercises to prevent aches and pains and to improve my overall posture and bodily function.

But it’s a learning experience, and I strongly believe that good muscular balance will help me into old age, where our bodies don’t recover nearly as well as they do when they’re young. It’ll be much easier to work with an 80 year-old body that’s been doing muscular-balance exercising for 50 years than one that hasn’t been, so that’s what I try and remember day-to-day.

So I suggest you do have some sessions with a physio, just make sure they happen BEFORE getting injured. It doesn’t have to be a weekly thing like you’d have with a personal trainer, and your sessions with a physiotherapist can help improve your body’s functioning ability tremendously.

Have a question? Feel free to reach out to me directly at

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