Shoulder Pain Relief
Wave Goodbye to Your Shoulder Pains!
Shoulder pain 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. It can show up as a result of an injury, making you feel a dull aching pain, or even make you feel as if your shoulder is immobile.
There are numerous reasons why you may be experiencing shoulder pain, and 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, Respire Physical Therapy is dedicated to offering you natural pain management modalities that can give relief to your shoulder pain quickly.
Why am I experiencing shoulder pain?
Your shoulder is capable of accomplishing many physical feats. It also has the greatest range of motion compared to all the joints in your body. However, with its complexities also comes the increased possibility of injury that causes shoulder pain and discomfort. As a “ball-and-socket” joint, the head of the upper arm bone, or “humerus,” fits perfectly in the corresponding space within the shoulder blade or “scapula.” Fortunately, the ends of the humerus 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 bones, known as the rotator cuff. If something goes wrong with the intricacies that make up the mechanical interplay of the shoulder, pain can result.
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. Pain resulting from a degenerated shoulder may create persistent aches every time you move your arm in certain directions. Acute injuries can result in sudden and intense pains that make it impossible for you to move your shoulder at all.
A common injury – rotator cuff tears
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 like those performed in sports like tennis or certain jobs like carpentry. If you are experiencing a rotator cuff injury or “torn shoulder”, you will generally feel a dull ache deep in your shoulder, arm weakness, difficulty reaching behind your backs, and disturbed sleep due to pain. At Respire 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 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 Respire 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.
What’s causing my 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:
- Impingement. Impingement typically occurs because of abnormal movement and tracking of the humeral head as you lift your arm overhead. Pain typically starts when lifting your arm at or above 90 degrees.
- Arthritis. 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 pain, loss of motion, weakness to the shoulder muscles, and difficulty performing normal, daily tasks.
- Tendinitis. 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.
- Frozen shoulder. 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. It results in a painful loss of motion in the shoulder with a tightening of the shoulder joint that severely limits motion. There are some ethnicities that are more predisposed, and women tend to have more instances than men. Frozen shoulder is more common in women in the 40-60 years of age.
- 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 pre and post-surgical rehabilitation for a full recovery.
Find relief for your shoulder pain today:
Physical therapy is a natural, easy, and comfortable way to find relief for shoulder pain, without the need for harmful drugs or invasive surgery. The physical therapists at Respire Physical Therapy 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!
Our Falls Church, VA 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, our physical therapists 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.
Don’t let your shoulder pain limit your physical abilities any longer! Our Falls Church, VA physical therapy practice will get you the help you need to start living your normal life once again. Contact Respire Physical Therapy in Fall Church, VA today to schedule your appointment and get started on your path toward pain relief.
Sprains and strains are among the most commonly experienced overuse injuries in the shoulder area. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched too far or torn. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched too far or torn. Strains and sprains can result in an ongoing shoulder pain that may make it difficult to partake in exercise or even daily tasks. If the strain or sprain is minor, it can sometimes be iced at home and healed with rest. More severe strains and sprains will often require physical therapy treatments. Additional shoulder injuries include a torn cartilage, dislocation, tendinitis, frozen shoulder, and arthritis.
Your shoulders can accomplish several physical feats due to their structure – however, this also means that they are susceptible to an increased risk of injury because of their complexity. If something becomes damaged in the make-up of the shoulders, pain and discomfort can develop. This pain may range from a dull ache to shooting pains, depending on the severity of the condition. If you are experiencing severe pain, or pain lasting three months or longer, it could be indicative of a deeper issue.
If your shoulder is causing you discomfort, physical therapy is the best way to ensure the highest rate of relief. Our physical therapists are highly trained to help improve the flexibility and range of motion in your shoulder, in addition to relieving your pain and discomfort. This will be done through an individualized treatment plan designed specifically for you, and may include any combination of treatment methods as your physical therapist deems fit, including manual therapy, ice and heat therapies, electrical nerve stimulation, or ultrasound. Your physical therapist will also prescribe targeted exercises and stretches to help regain your optimal shoulder function.
Two of the biggest goals of physical therapy are 1) to alleviate your pain and 2) to improve your function. Your physical therapist will work with you to make sure that both of these are achieved throughout your physical therapy sessions. Physical therapy has been proven to manage the pain of several conditions, and in many cases, it has even been proven to eliminate shoulder pain altogether, thus making the need for harmful drugs or surgical intervention obsolete.