Case Study - A Lady With Long-Term Bilateral Shoulder Pain

NDO is a 79 year old lady with a long term history of lower back pain and bilateral shoulder pain, mostly due to OA and age-related changes.  She was a professional volleyball and softball player in her youth so her shoulders were worked hard for many years.

11 years ago she tore the rotator cuff in her right shoulder and had surgery to repair it; unfortunately, due to a fall this re-tore 2 years later and has caused pain and reduced range of movement since.  Further surgery was not an option.

On assessment she had limited lumbar range of movement in all directions, making it difficult to do daily tasks such as putting on socks and picking things up from the ground.  Both shoulders had reduced range of movement and strength with the right more affected than the left.  This again limited her ability to do normal activities of daily living such as getting dressed, reaching overhead and pushing open heavy doors.  Her main goals were to be able to use her arms functionally and to help manage the pain she was experiencing.

NDO found exercising in water much more comfortable than on land, the water helped support her arms whilst exercising, allowing her to work through greater ranges of motion.  Exercising in the deep well also helped to relieve some of her back symptoms by offloading the pressure through the spine. Aquatic therapy has provided NDO with a way to manage her symptoms on a long term basis.

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