Shoulder pain is a common musculoskeletal condition that up to 67 percent of people will experience at some time during their life. Just everyday pushing, reaching and pulling can take a toll on the shoulder. The shoulder is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Shoulder pain can also indicate a deeper injury. A physical therapist can help identify which shoulder structures are causing the pain. Here’s a list of shoulder injuries that can cause pain and impinge on your regular daily function.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is a set of four muscles and tendons that connect the humerus to the shoulder blade. Its function is to keep the humerus in the socket when using the arm. An injury to the rotator cuff can be due to excessive throwing, reaching or lifting. Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury can include pain over the top of the shoulder and weakness when moving the shoulder.
When the ball of the arm and the shoulder socket separate, there is a shoulder dislocation. Getting struck in a sporting activity or falling can cause this. If a shoulder dislocation occurs, there can be immediate pain and difficulty moving the arm. There may also be numbness, discoloration or a cold feeling in the arm or hand with a shoulder dislocation. An X-ray will have to be taken to ensure that you don’t have a fracture. If there is no fracture, a healthcare professional can put the shoulder back in place. Physical therapy can help inflammation, pain and range of motion.
A frozen shoulder is also referred to as adhesive capsulitis. Symptoms of a frozen shoulder can include pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. Physical therapy can help treat a frozen shoulder by helping you regain your motion.
Shoulder Replacement: It Needs a New One
People over the age of 50 can develop osteoarthritis of the shoulder, and a shoulder replacement may be needed. Post-surgery, a physical therapist can help ease the pain and regain motion of the shoulder.
The Role of Physical Therapy with Shoulder Pain
A therapist will evaluate your functional abilities and range of motion in order to create a personalized treatment plan to restore mobility and relieve shoulder pain. Treatments may include joint stabilization, strengthening and stretching. Ultrasound, heat, ice and electrical stimulation may be part of the treatment also. These passive modalities of treatment are effective in reducing pain, reducing inflammation, lessening muscle spasms and accelerating the healing process. A physical therapist may also give advice on workplace ergonomics and activity modification. Request a consult at Performance Rehab in Nashua, NH and start feeling better today!
Sprains and strains are among the most commonly experienced overuse injuries in the shoulder area. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched too far or torn. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched too far or torn. Strains and sprains can result in an ongoing shoulder pain that may make it difficult to partake in exercise or even daily tasks. If the strain or sprain is minor, it can sometimes be iced at home and healed with rest. More severe strains and sprains will often require physical therapy treatments. Additional shoulder injuries include a torn cartilage, dislocation, tendinitis, frozen shoulder, and arthritis.
Your shoulders can accomplish several physical feats due to their structure – however, this also means that they are susceptible to an increased risk of injury because of their complexity. If something becomes damaged in the make-up of the shoulders, pain and discomfort can develop. This pain may range from a dull ache to shooting pains, depending on the severity of the condition. If you are experiencing severe pain, or pain lasting three months or longer, it could be indicative of a deeper issue.
If your shoulder is causing you discomfort, physical therapy is the best way to ensure the highest rate of relief. Our physical therapists are highly trained to help improve the flexibility and range of motion in your shoulder, in addition to relieving your pain and discomfort. This will be done through an individualized treatment plan designed specifically for you, and may include any combination of treatment methods as your physical therapist deems fit, including manual therapy, ice and heat therapies, electrical nerve stimulation, or ultrasound. Your physical therapist will also prescribe targeted exercises and stretches to help regain your optimal shoulder function.
Two of the biggest goals of physical therapy are 1) to alleviate your pain and 2) to improve your function. Your physical therapist will work with you to make sure that both of these are achieved throughout your physical therapy sessions. Physical therapy has been proven to manage the pain of several conditions, and in many cases, it has even been proven to eliminate shoulder pain altogether, thus making the need for harmful drugs or surgical intervention obsolete.