Physical Therapy for Shoulder Pain | Ivy Rehab Network

Shoulder Pain

Why does my shoulder hurt?

The shoulder consists of multiple joints, muscles, and tendons which allow the arm to move freely. The shoulder is considered the most mobile joint in the body and gets its large range of motion from its bony architecture. The rotator cuff tendon is the most frequently injured part of the shoulder. Its function is to control and stabilize motion at the joint surfaces throughout the many different positions the shoulder can move. Any rotator cuff injury can cause pain when trying to move your arm around or lift your arm above your head. Pain at night, particularly when rolling onto the affected shoulder is a hallmark of rotator cuff pathology.

Shoulder injuries occur from a large variety of activities such as manual labor, sports, and even simple repetitive movement. Diseases of the neck, liver, heart, lungs, or gallbladder can also be disguised as pain in the shoulder. While surgery is sometimes required to treat certain conditions, shoulder physical therapy can be a highly effective way to treat shoulder pain.

Possible reasons for shoulder pain:

  • Tendon tear in the shoulder
  • Tendon inflammation/degeneration in the shoulder
  • Bursitis
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Tendinitis
  • Arthritis
  • Instability in the shoulder
  • Fracture or broken bone
  • Impingement
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Labral tear
  • Shoulder dislocation

Treatment for shoulder pain:

The treatment options for shoulder pain will depend heavily on the condition at the root cause of your shoulder pain along with your symptoms and personal goals. Some treatment options include physical therapy for shoulder impingement, rotator cuff physical therapy, and physical therapy for shoulder pain.

Your physician can help you determine the best treatment options for your shoulder pain. If you don’t have a prescription for shoulder physical therapy treatment from your doctor, you may still be able to schedule an appointment with Ivy Rehab physical therapist near you for your shoulder injury, depending on the rules of the state you live in.

 

  • Q: I hurt my shoulder recently playing sports. Do I wait it out or can physical therapy help me recover faster?
    Shoulder injuries can be complex - there are many structures that can be strained, sprained, or torn. It is always best to be evaluated to understand the extent and type of shoulder injury you are dealing with. If pain persists for more than a day or two and if pain is constant and there is ongoing inflammation, always seek an assessment by a physical therapist who can guide you on home remedies and exercises to hasten recovery.
  • Q: Are there any exercises I can do at home that would help with shoulder pain?
    Shoulder pain may come from many sources - directly from a problem in the neck or the shoulder. If the condition source is unclear and the wrong exercises are implemented at home, the pain could worsen. It is best to have a clear determination of the source of the problem, so the right home exercises can be prescribed. Many strengthening exercises can be done at home to help with various shoulder conditions, but it is important to know the correct exercises to do.
  • Q: I'm worried I may have injured my rotator cuff. Should I see a doctor or a physical therapist?
    Both a physician and physical therapist can start your process of recovery. Whether you have a rotator cuff injury or another type of shoulder condition, our physical therapists will work closely with your family doctor or orthopedic surgeon to keep everyone informed of your condition and plan of therapy. Early intervention is the key to shoulder pain relief - don't wait - get into either professional as quickly as possible to avoid secondary problems from a lingering shoulder condition.
  • Q: What sort of preventative care exists for shoulder pain?
    Shoulders are complex joints that move in many directions. Preventative health for any joint includes maintaining full motion, balanced strengthening, good posture and resting positions and also a balanced nutrition and hydration plan. Physical therapists can also help with making sure the neck and thoracic spine (middle of the back) are moving well, preventing referred problems or limitations in movement that affect the shoulder.
  • Q: Are there any temporary remedies to shoulder pain?
    If an injury is recent - within the last 48 hours - cold or ice packs may minimize swelling for the first 72 hours. If a shoulder is stiff with no clear injury, moist heat applied (caution with burns) for 15-20 minutes at a time to increase circulation. If there is no reason to immobilize the shoulder (such as pending xrays after trauma or dislocation) moving the shoulder in gentle circles (hand directed to the floor) without pain, can keep a joint moving until a physical therapist or physician can assess the shoulder.

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