Shoulder pain can be one of the most frustrating injuries to sustain. The inability to lift your arms above your head can make even simple tasks like getting dressed difficult ordeals. Shoulder pain also does not dissipate quickly and often lingers and causes discomfort for months or even years.
What are the risk factors for shoulder pain?
The biggest risk factor for shoulder pain is repetitive use, where the shoulder moves in a way it was not designed to. This is very common in sports such as baseball, basketball and football where repetitive throwing or shooting can place strain on the shoulder. The ball and socket design of the shoulder joint allows the arms to swing pendulum-like forward and backward from rest. However, throwing or shooting a ball overhand is not a natural motion for the shoulder and arm to undertake. Overhand throws put extra stress on the shoulder joint, and repeated stress can cause a rotator cuff or labrum tear.
What conditions commonly cause of shoulder pain?
The causes of shoulder pain are numerous and can be a result of injury or a degenerative disease, such as:
- Shoulder tendonitis
- Bursitis, or inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs between muscles
- Labrum tears
- Rotator cuff tear
- Dislocated or separated shoulder
- Strained or sprained shoulder
Can I treat my shoulder pain?
Minor shoulder pain can be treated with rest, ice or over the counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen. The most effective treatment is rest so that there is no risk of further damage to the shoulder.
When should I consider medical treatment or physical therapy for my shoulder pain?
- If the joint appears physically deformed
- Inability to move your arm above your shoulders or away from your body
- Intense pain that does not subside
- Swelling and warmth around the joint with tenderness
Physical therapy treatment options for shoulder pain
Patients recovering from shoulder surgeries such as rotator cuffs, torn labrums and joint replacements often find physical therapy critical to recovering quickly from the procedure. Recovering strength and range of motion are primary goals for physical therapy. When undergoing physical therapy sessions post-op, it is important to put your complete effort into the rehab program, as that increases the chances of recovering quickly and regaining a better quality of life.
Patients suffering from impingement, strains and bursitis may also benefit from massage therapy sessions in addition to range of motion and strengthening exercises.
Shoulder pain can be a difficult burden to bear. Though it may not show any outward symptoms, the pain felt by patients is all too real. You do not have to stop doing the things that you love just because of shoulder pain.
Our physical therapists at Back in Motion Physical Therapy want to help our patients improve their quality of life and, in turn, improve their happiness. If you are contemplating surgery or a course of physical therapy for your shoulder pain, please contact one of our patient coordinators today to set up your initial appointment and go over possible treatment options.
We have center and branch locations in Gorham, South Portland, Portland, Newport & Brewer, ME to better serve your needs.