If your shoulder becomes injured, it could greatly impact your physical performance.
The shoulder is an important part of your body for several different sports. It is used to make a free throw, swing a club, serve a tennis ball, or pass a football for the winning touchdown.
Common injuries and conditions (such as frozen shoulder, osteoarthritis, or a rotator cuff tear) can place drastic limits on your life.
Common shoulder pain conditions
The shoulder is an incredibly flexible part of the body, due to its complex arrangement of bones, cartilage, soft tissues, and friction-reducing sacs known as “bursae.” When any part of this complex and delicate system becomes damaged, the entire shoulder can experience pain.
Some of the most common conditions resulting in shoulder pain include:
- Frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder can occur if the shoulder has experienced prolonged immobilization, such as being in a sling following an injury or surgical repair. When the shoulder doesn’t move for extended periods of time, the connective tissues within it can become thick and stiff. Anyone can be affected by frozen shoulder, but diabetics have a higher risk of developing it.
- Rotator cuff injuries. The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles that allow your shoulder joint to rotate in all directions. The rotator cuff can become damaged from excessive repetitive motions, such as those in swimming, tennis, baseball, or golf, causing micro-tears in the tissue. The injury can become worse with time if left untreated, causing the damage to accumulate, and the pain and inflammation to worsen. Immediate tears are also possible, which can result in severe pain.
- Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions your joints begins to diminish, due to “wear and tear.” This can happen either as a result of old age or excessive overuse. The extreme demands of athletic training, competitive sports or a previous injury can hasten this process, as well. When the cartilage wears down, the bones begin to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
How can physical therapy help my shoulder pain?
Physical therapy is a safe and effective way to treat shoulder pain. It can provide relief, improve shoulder function, and may even prevent the need for invasive surgery. At your first appointment, your physical therapist will evaluate your pain patterns, range of motion, medical records, and lifestyle habits in order to determine the best treatment plan for you. Afterward, a personalized combination of passive and active therapies will be created for the needs of your condition.
Your treatment plan may include, but is not limited to:
- Doorway stretches, lawnmower pulls, reverse fly exercises with light weights, and side-lying external rotation exercises with light dumbbells. These will restore strength to a damaged rotator cuff.
- Pendulum stretches, cross-body reaches, armpit stretches, and fingertip walks. These will relieve the stiffness of a frozen shoulder.
- Moist heat exercises, to boost circulation and ease inflammation.
- A combination of shoulder stretches, light aerobics, and shoulder-strengthening exercises. These will enhance blood flow to the shoulder and help manage the pain of osteoarthritis.
- Passive techniques, such as massage therapy, ultrasound therapy, or other non-invasive methods. These will relieve pain and promote healing.
Find relief today
If your shoulder pain has been limiting you from achieving your physical goals, contact Fit 4 Life today. We’ll help you get back on track to living the active life you want, free from pain!