Shoulder Pain Physical Therapy

Shoulder Pain Physical Therapy

Suffering from shoulder pain interferes with every aspect of life.  Your daily chores and activities become painful or impossible, you can't exercise and your sleep is affected.  There are also several different sources of pain in the shoulder.  Here are Change Sports PT we focus on getting to the source of the pain, while we also work on addressing the symptom.

Here are some common shoulder conditions we deal with:

  • Rotator Cuff Disorders:
    The rotator cuff is a group of tendons in your shoulder which surround the joint to provide stability and mobility.  Since the shoulder is used a lot, and very susceptible to postural issues, it is very common to get injuries in this area.  These injuries can range from tears (complete and partial) or overuse (tendonitis/tendonopathy).  If you have a complete tear, that is a condition you want to get surgical treatment for immediately.  The longer you wait to address a complete tear, the more difficult it will be to repair the tendon.  If you have a partial tear, or an overuse issue, there are several things which can be done in physical therapy to help with this condition.  After evaluation to find out what tissue is involved, we want to get after the root causes which are adding stress to this tissue.  This is where good physical therapy comes in.  The root causes are often postural issues, shoulder blade position and weakness, thoracic spine mobility, and shoulder joint mobility and stability issues.
  • Impingement
         There are several different types of impingements that can happen in the shoulder.  These can be classfied as primary or secondary and can also be labeled by the region being "impinged".  The basic explanation of impingement is that the shoulder complex isn't moving in the proper way and therefore causing one area to get pinched against another tissue.  In physical therapy we can find those movement impairments and give you the tools necessary to move the shoulder properly.  These tools involve adequate mobility and stability in the shoulder, proper neuromuscular control (how your body it programed to move your shoulder), postural corrections, activity modifications to avoid further stress on the tissue, and corrective exercises to keep you out of pain.
  • Scapular Disorder
        The scapula (shoulder blade) is the foundation from which the muscles which control the shoulder and the neck are based.  If you have issues with the mobility or stability of the scapula, you can easily develop pain and symptoms in the shoulder and neck.  It is also very common to develop pain in the middle of your upper back, right in between your shoulder blades.  Issues with the scapula can be addressed with treatment to chest muscle tightness, scapular stabilizing muscles weakness, neuromuscular training, thoracic spine mobilization, rib mobility, and general core stability.
  • Biceps Tendonitis
         Similar to issues with the rotator cuff tendons, the biceps tendon can become inflammed and irritated due to overuse- or "incorrect use".  The same factors which can affect rotator cuff disorders can also affect the biceps tendon.  In our experience, a postural deviation of "rounded shoulders" or slouched posture, is a primary driving force to induce biceps tendonitis.
  • Labral Tears
         The labrum is the thick tissue which surrounds your shoulder joint to provide more stability.  It is what makes the shallow "ball and socket" type joint of the shoulder, deeper and more stable.  The labrum can become injured and torn through several different mecahnisms.  If the tear is severe enough, then surgery will be a good option.  If the tear or injury isn't as severe, then physical therapy may be able to help.  The goal in therapy for this condition is once again finding the causes of stress to the shoulder and eliminating them.  One of the keys to treating labrum issues is to address shoulder blade and rotator cuff stability.  If these are functioning at their optimal capacity, then the stress on the labrum will be minimized.

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