Get Rid of Shoulder Pain Today!
Physical Therapy Can Help Your Shoulder Pain
Shoulder dysfunction can take many forms – it can show up when you’re reaching toward the top shelf to put dishes away or when you’re struggling to find a comfortable position to sleep in without feeling a dull aching pain in your shoulder and neck.
It can show up as a result of an injury, making you feel as if your shoulder is immobile. The severity can range from the temporary discomfort of a pulled muscle to the agonizing bone-on-bone friction of arthritis. Whatever the case may be, we are dedicated to helping you regain your full range of motion and strength to perform functional activities.
Why do I have shoulder pain?
Your shoulder is capable of accomplishing many physical feats and has the greatest range of all the joints in your body. However, with its complexities also comes several sources of pain and discomfort. It is a “ball-and-socket” joint, meaning the head of the upper arm bone, or humerus, fits perfectly in the corresponding space within the shoulder blade or scapula. The ends of the bone are protected by a thick layer of cartilage, protecting the bones from rubbing together.
Fluid-filled sacs called bursae also protect the tendons from rubbing against the bones. Tendons attach the bones in the shoulder to a set of muscles, known as the rotator cuff. Injury to one of the structures of the shoulder joint can lead to decreases in function due to the complex relationships needed to maintain mobility and stability.
The type of pain you feel in your shoulder can vary, depending on what is causing it. Pain from impingement, for example, typically occurs as you raise your arm up, and begins at a certain point in the range of motion. Shoulder pain resulting from the normal aging process may create persistent aches every time you move your arm in certain directions. Acute injuries can result in sudden and intense pain that makes it impossible for you to move your shoulder at all.
The most common cause of shoulder injuries…
Your rotator cuff includes the muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint. Sometimes, the rotator cuff can become torn or injured, due to repetitive overhead motions performed in sports (such as tennis) or jobs (such as carpentry). Those who experience rotator cuff tears generally report a dull ache deep in their shoulder, arm weakness, difficulty reaching behind their back, and inability to sleep on the painful side. Our physical therapists and physical therapy assistants partner with you to create a treatment plan using non-invasive methods to help relieve your shoulder pain and improve your quality of life.
While rotator cuff injuries may require surgery if severe enough, there are several cases where physical therapy treatments can work just as well (if not better) than surgery. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “A recent study from Finland asserts that when it comes to the treatment of nontraumatic rotator cuff tears, physical therapy alone produces results equal to those produced by arthroscopic surgery and open surgical repair.” In this same study, a follow-up on 167 patients receiving physical therapy alone for their rotator cuff injuries, demonstrated that conservative treatment, such as physical therapy, should be considered as the primary treatment for this condition.
Our physical therapists will conduct a thorough examination to determine if you do have a rotator cuff tear or another shoulder injury, and we will design a personalized treatment plan based on the needs of your diagnosis.
Do you have one of these conditions?
The complexities of the shoulder joint present many opportunities for pain-causing conditions. Some of the most common causes of shoulder pain include:
Tendons connect muscles to bones. In the shoulder common areas for tendonitis are the rotator cuff tendons (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) and longhead of the biceps tendon. Pain can be felt deep in the shoulder joint or in the front of the arm/shoulder. Pain is usually felt as a sharp, catching sensation with certain movements.
Tendonitis occurs when the shoulder joint is overused typically due to the demands of a laborious job, overhead activity, or sport. Furthermore, poor posture can be a contributor to tendonitis, as this alters the normal forces on the tendons, and causes muscles to work overtime. Pain from tendonitis is most often felt when moving the arm out to the side or overhead.
The two main forms of arthritis that affect the shoulder are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the shoulder joint experiences significant “wear and tear,” typically due to age or excessive overuse. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system decides to attack the body’s own tissues. In the shoulder (and other peripheral joints), the tissue involved is the synovium or joint capsule, resulting in pain and inflammation. Both of these result in a painful loss of motion, weakness to the shoulder muscles, and difficulty performing normal, daily tasks.
Impingement (literally “to encroach or infringe) describes a painful condition in the shoulder that is created by a decrease in the space between the humerus and the end of the scapula (acromion process). Impingement generally causes pain moving the arm overhead as the tissues that live in the space between these bones become pinched. Impingement is typically caused by a weakening of the rotator cuff muscles that may be caused by a tear, overuse, or poor posture.
Adhesive Capsulitis, or “frozen shoulder” is a painful shoulder joint condition. How or why frozen shoulder occurs is a bit of a mystery, however, it typically occurs after a trauma or repetitive injury to the shoulder. Women in the pre and post–menopausal age range are more likely to experience frozen shoulder, however men can experience frozen shoulder as well.
With adhesive capsulitis, the thick capsule of tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint becomes chronically inflamed. The body begins a cycle of inflammation of the capsule (capsulitis) and scarring (adhesions) that causes the capsule around the shoulder joint to become limited in its flexibility and range of motion.
At the beginning of frozen shoulder it is very painful and range of motion may be severely limited. After that, motion is very limited in the shoulder, but often not as painful. Depending on the severity of the condition, it can take up to 2 years to achieve full resolution of adhesive capsulitis.
Rotator cuff tear
The rotator cuff includes 4 muscles, tendons, and soft tissue that surround the shoulder joint. The job of the rotator cuff is to correctly guide the movement of the shoulder joint. With injury, overuse, poor posture, or even age, the rotator cuff can be partially or completely torn. Depending on the severity and situation, sometimes surgery is needed, but often the correct physical therapy treatments can help reduce pain and restore strength to the rotator cuff to compensate for the partial tear. If surgery is needed, physical therapy is an integral part of the rehabilitation to a full recovery.
What will a treatment plan for shoulder pain look like?
Out physical therapists are movement experts, trained to pinpoint the cause of your pain through a variety of diagnostic techniques. During your evaluation, we will examine your range of motion, strength, coordination, medical history, joint mobility, and mechanics of your joint motion.
Physical therapy is a natural, easy, and comfortable way to find relief for shoulder pain, without the need for harmful drugs or invasive surgery. Our Gainesville & Newberry, FL physical therapists and physical therapy assistants have treated a number of conditions resulting in shoulder pain, with patients finding improvement and relief after just a few sessions – and sometimes less!
Once we have discovered the cause of your shoulder pain, we can create a specialized combination of physical therapy methods to manage and relieve your pain. Manual therapy helps to restore normal joint movement, ease soft tissue restrictions, and promote circulation, while specific therapeutic exercises restore strength, and the correct sequence of muscle activation around the shoulder joint. Finally, we teach you techniques to enhance your strength and prevent the recurrence of future shoulder problems.
Get shoulder pain relief today!
Don’t let your shoulder pain limit your physical abilities any longer! Our Gainesville & Newberry, FL physical therapy practice will get you the help you need to start living your normal life once again. Contact Us to speak to a patient care coordinator or request an appointment today and get started on your path toward pain relief.