Shoulder pain is one of the most commonly diagnosed problems in the US today. It is one of the number one reasons people miss work and one of the most common on the job injuries. But why is the shoulder so vulnerable to injury? Keep reading to find out 4 things you didn’t know about shoulder pain and how physical therapy can help you to feel better.
- The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. It moves up, down, rotates in and out in all planes. Because the shoulder is more mobile, it is less stable. This makes it more susceptible to injury. This also means that rehabilitating after an injury can be quite difficult because all of the available motion must be restored to have a properly functioning shoulder without pain.
- Women in their middle years are more susceptible to Frozen Shoulder. No one really knows why, but women between the ages of 40 and 65 have a greater incidence of frozen shoulder. In some cases it is caused by a trauma to the shoulder, and in others it occurs without injury or incident. Frozen shoulder refers to a process by which the capsule of the shoulder joint becomes adhered to itself, limiting range of motion. It is often painful and associated with other shoulder problems such as bursitis, tendonitis, and rotator cuff injuries.
- Shoulder pain is often caused from imbalances between the muscles of the front of the shoulder and the back of the shoulder. Because the shoulder is so mobile, most of it’s support comes from the muscles that surround the shoulder joint. These include the deltoid, the rotator cuff muscles, the biceps and triceps, and the pectoral muscles. Most of what we do during the day puts us into a slumped forward position. Sitting at the computer, driving, reading, cooking, etc... They are all in a position where the shoulders in a forward position. The causes the pectoral muscles to be tight and the rotator cuff and muscles attached to the scapula and back of the shoulder, to be weak and over stretched. This will often cause the ball of the shoulder joint to be pulled up and in to the bone at the top of the shoulder, the acromion, pinching the tendons of the rotator cuff and biceps. This is called an impingement syndrome and is the number one cause of shoulder pain.
- Physical Therapy for shoulder pain is often better than surgery in reducing pain and restoring function! Recent research is showing that physical therapy is the preferred treatment for shoulder pain and that long term outcomes for pain reduction and restoring function are the same as for surgery. Why go through the pain of surgery when a conservative approach, physical therapy, has the ability to get you to the same point, without the money, time off of work, and yes, physical therapy after surgery?
Physical therapists are uniquely qualified to assess, diagnose, and treat the shoulder joint. We are experts in the biomechanics of the joint ( how it is supposed to function and move) and in restoring the proper range of motion, strength, and coordination of the muscles while reducing pain and preventing interruption of your daily activities.
Maybe you are not experiencing shoulder pain. GREAT! You should see your physical therapist too! PT’s can tell you if there are muscle imbalances present that may lead to shoulder pain in the future. You can prevent future pain by correcting those imbalances now with a specific exercise program prescribed by your physical therapist.
Penrose Physical Therapy has a plan to manage your shoulder pain. We offer FREE consultations for people who are not sure if they would benefit from physical therapy; a $30 Wellness Assessment for identification of muscle imbalances and instruction in an individualized exercise program; and a traditional physical therapy evaluation and treatment plan for people who are suffering from shoulder pain currently. Our physical therapy evaluation and treatment plan is carried out in one-on-one treatment sessions with the same therapist throughout the program. Your treatment will include evidence based care applied through unique manual therapy treatments, and a focused exercise program, to help you achieve your goals of a fully functioning, pain free shoulder!