Shoulder Pain Slowing You Down? Physical Therapy can Get You Moving Again
There are numerous reasons why someone may experience shoulder pain, and the severity can range from the temporary discomfort of a pulled muscle to the agonizing bone-on-bone friction of arthritis.
Shoulder pain 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.
Whatever the case may be, Activa Physical Therapy is dedicated to offering you natural pain management modalities.
How will physical therapy relieve my shoulder pain?
Our 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, your medical history, joint mobility, and mechanics of your joint motion.
Once we have established the cause of your shoulder pain, we can create a specialized combination of physical therapy methods to manage and relieve your pain. Gentle 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 to prevent the recurrence of future shoulder problems.
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 Naperville and Burr Ridge, IL physical therapists have treated a number of conditions resulting in shoulder pain, with patients finding improvement and relief after just a few short sessions – and sometimes less!
The most common cause of shoulder pain – rotator cuff injuries
Your rotator cuff is comprised of 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 injuries or “torn shoulders” generally report a dull ache deep in their shoulder, arm weakness, difficulty reaching behind their backs, and disturbed sleep due to pain. At Activa Physical Therapy, our natural and non-invasive methods can help relieve your shoulder pain and heal your rotator cuff injury.
While rotator cuff injuries sometimes require surgery if they are 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.
At Activa Physical Therapy, we will conduct a physical evaluation and diagnostic tests to determine if you do indeed have a rotator cuff tear, and we will design a personalized treatment plan based on the needs of your diagnosis.
Additional causes of shoulder pain
The complexities of the shoulder joint present many opportunities for pain-causing conditions. Some of the most common causes of shoulder pain include:
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 membranes surrounding the shoulder joint, 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.
Also known as “adhesive capsulitis,” frozen shoulder can occur if your arm has been in a cast or sling for a while, or if you have been bedridden for an extended period of time. Furthermore, there are some ethnicities that are more predisposed, and women tend to have more instances than men. It is more common in women in the 40-60 years of age. Frozen shoulder results in a painful loss of motion in the shoulder with a tightening of the shoulder joint that severely limits motion.
Tendinitis occurs when the shoulder joint is excessively overused typically due to the demands of a laborious job, overhead activity, or sport. Furthermore, poor posture is a major contributor, as this alters the normal forces on the tendons, and can set you up for tendon injury. This causes the tendons to undergo ongoing inflammation, resulting in swelling and painful impingement when raising your arm.
Rotator cuff tear
The rotator cuff is comprised of 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.
Impingement typically occurs because of abnormal movement and tracking of the humeral head as you lift your arm overhead. Pain typically occurs when lifting your arm at or above 90 degrees.
So, what’s causing my shoulder pain?
Don’t let your shoulder pain limit your physical abilities any longer! Our Naperville and Burr Ridge, IL physical therapy practice will get you the help you need to start living your normal life once again.
Call Activa Physical Therapy today at Naperville & Burr Ridge, IL to schedule your appointment and get started on your path toward pain relief.