Overview of Shoulder Physical Therapy:
If you’re having shoulder pain, stiffness, or even difficulty raising or reaching your arm overhead or behind your back then you may benefit from shoulder physical therapy. In this article, we’ll disclose the most common shoulder conditions that can be treated conservatively without injections or requiring surgery.
Shoulder Conditions Physical Therapy Can Help With:
Rotator Cuff Tears
A rotator cuff tear involves a partial or full thickness tear of your rotator cuff. The rotator cuff consists of four muscles that help control the movement of your shoulder in the ball and socket. When injured, they can make it difficult to raise your arm overhead.
Shoulder Tendonitis or Tendinopathy
Similar rotator cuff tear, you can also have inflammation of the bicep tendon and the rotator cuff tendons. This is called shoulder tendonitis. Similar to tendonitis, you can also cause degradation of the shoulder tendons called shoulder tendinosis.
A shoulder labral tear involves the tearing of the cartilage of the shoulder joint. The labrum helps keep the humerus inside the socket of the glenoid. Sometimes, granted, this cartilage can be torn and cause a labral tear.
Have pain when raising your arm overhead? You may be suffering with shoulder impingement. This is a condition where the humerus (shoulder bone) is compressing the supraspinatus muscle and surrounding soft tissue.
As we age, our shoulders may develop arthritis. With arthritis, you may hear clicking, grinding, or a clunking sound when moving your arm.
Signs & Symptoms That You May Need Shoulder Physical Therapy:
- Reduced range of motion
Shoulder Physical Therapy Treatments:
Treatment # 1: Strengthening Exercises
If your shoulder is weak, specific exercises to strengthen your rotator cuff and surrounding shoulder muscles is important. Quite frequently, the muscles on the back of the shoulder blade such as the trapezius and rhomboid need the most strengthening work.
Treatment #2: Mobility Exercises
Shoulder stiff? Mobility exercises to stretch the shoulder joint may be indicated. Mobility exercises for the shoulder consist of stretching the shoulder into flexion, internal rotation, and shoulder external rotation most commonly.
Treatment #3: Massage & Myofascial Release
When our muscles become tight or adhered, myofascial release or massage may be indicated. Myofascial release involves releasing the muscle and fascia with a skilled physical therapist’s hands.
Treatment #4: Patient Education
Sometimes, granted, shoulder physical therapy can just consist of educating the patient what he should or shouldn’t be doing or how to do it more efficiently. For instance, many golf advocated may be swinging the club incorrectly and damaging their shoulder. Correcting their golf swing may be the best way to put an end to their shoulder pain or stiffness.
Treatment #5: Joint Mobilization & Manipulation
When a shoulder is in pain or stiff, shoulder manipulation may be the best form of treatment. When the shoulder joint is manipulated it releases endorphins and can reduce pain. Similarly, shoulder manipulation can improve joint range of motion. Beware, though, you’ll need to see a highly trained physical therapist for this technique. Not all physical therapists can perform this treatment.
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What You Can Expect:
An Accurate Diagnosis
Getting an accurate diagnosis of exactly what is going on with your shoulder is the first step when coming to shoulder physical therapy or rotator cuff physical therapy. A physical therapist can take you through an examination process where they’ll discern your strength, range of motion, listen to your story, but also pin-point what is causing your shoulder troubles. For instance, a shoulder physical therapist can discern if you have shoulder impingement, a rotator cuff tear, or if you’ve strained a muscle, etc.
Fixing the Cause & Not Just the Symptoms
Seeing a qualified shoulder physical therapist can also detect why your shoulder injury occurred in the first place. Is it poor posture? Reduced strength of your adjacent muscles? Etc.
How You Can Get Started With Shoulder Physical Therapy
To get started by seeing one of our shoulder specialists and to see if shoulder physical therapy is good for you, you can call us directly at 239-223-0484 or you can click here.
About Author: Dr. Scott Gray
Dr. Scott Gray is an internationally recognized and expert physical therapist specializing in sport, athletic, and back and neck injuries. He is the inventor of a revolutionary form of treatment called the GRAY METHOD. This type of treatment unlike others, addresses the CAUSE rather than just your SYMPTOMS with a full body approach. For more information on how to ease or overcome your injury, go to www.backinmotionsspt.com.