If you have shoulder pain or recently just had surgery on your shoulder, you may be referred to physical therapy. Similar to the hip, the shoulder is a complex ball and socket joint. It is made up of your scapula (shoulder blade), clavicle (collar bone) and the humerus (arm bone). The shoulder is an extremely mobile joint, but with this mobility comes a risk of instability. Pain in the shoulder could be caused by poor posture, repeated overhead movements which can cause pinching of the rotator cuff tendon or biceps tendon, or even trauma from a fall or an accident.
Common Shoulder Problems
- Biceps Tendonitis – The biceps tendon offers stability to the front of the shoulder and often times with repeated overhead motion, the tendon can get pinched causing tendonitis.
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis – The rotator cuff which is a group of 4 muscles which help with the support and movement of the shoulder. The rotator cuff is meant to hold the ball within the socket during arm movement. At times, the tendons of the rotator cuff which attach to the arm bone can get pinched and become sore and painful causing tendonitis.
- Shoulder Bursitis – A bursa lies between the humerus and the shoulder blade. A bursa is a fluid filled sac which helps smooth gliding of structures within the joint.
- Frozen Shoulder – This is also known as adhesive capsulitis which is affects the capsule that encloses the shoulder joint. The condition results in severe pain and a major loss in motion.
- Shoulder Fracture – Typically happens after significant trauma. One of the most common causes of a shoulder fracture is falling on an outstretched arm. The arm bone, shoulder blade and even the collar bone can be injured as a result of this.
How can Physical Therapy help you?
The physical therapist will perform an initial evaluation to figure out your baseline range of motion and strength. They will look at the quality of your motion and use special tests in order to check the integrity of the structures within your shoulder. Once your physical therapist figures out what your ailment is, they will choose the necessary manual treatments, modalities and exercises to control your pain/inflammation.