Shoulder Pain

 

What causes shoulder pain?

Our shoulders are designed like a ball and socket, very different from the deep sockets that hold our hips. In fact, many compare shoulder sockets to a golf ball sitting on a tee. 

Because these sockets are so shallow, our shoulders rely more on the muscles and ligaments around them, like the rotator cuff and shoulder blade muscles. These are what we use to maintain the balance between mobility and stability. 

“The shoulder is one of the most neglected joints in our body. Yet it’s one we use throughout the day. We not only help our patients get relief from shoulder pain, but we also show them how to avoid it in the future.” - Craig O'Neil

If any of these structures in our body become imbalanced, it can lead to a condition called Impingement. This happens when the rotator cuff tendons or the bursa that lie next to them become pinched. The imbalance can be caused by repetitive motion, overuse, or something as simple as years of poor posture.

When shoulder pain becomes an issue, the first step is to determine whether it’s a simple matter, like a strain, or something more complex. The symptoms are similar for each.

How many suffer from shoulder pain?

It’s estimated that 60 to 70 percent of us will deal with shoulder pain at some point. Typically, it happens in our 40s or 50s. 

In the case of Primary Impingement, patients first notice pain in either the front or outside of their shoulder or upper arm. This can cause difficulty sleeping on the affected side and difficulty reaching, whether behind the back, over the head, or out to the side. Some patients present with just a feeling of decreased strength in the arm.

Another form, called Secondary Impingement, usually occurs in younger patients. It’s often caused by overuse, such as repetitive throwing, which creates muscular imbalance involving the shoulder blade. In both forms, there is inflammation and pain, not only limiting movement but also increasing stiffness and weakness in the shoulder.

What happens if it isn’t treated?

If Impingement isn’t treated, the inflammation can become chronic. This causes significant pain and limits daily and recreational activity. If tendons are pinched over time, they can tear – either partially or completely. A complete tear of the rotator cuff requires surgery to repair it. That’s why it’s important to address shoulder pain before it reaches this point. 

Results’ Physical Therapists are some of the most educated and trained in the field. Our therapists receive two to three years of advanced training in order to become Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapists (COMT) and receive four times the required amount of continuing education. Only 10 percent of therapists nationwide hold this certification, while 75 percent of Results’ therapists already have it.

The best type of treatment for shoulder pain

Quality, hands-on, manual physical therapy can break the cycle of Impingement and restore normal muscle balance. Studies show that hands-on treatment of shoulder joints, the neck, and upper back, coupled with specific exercises, relieves pain quickly and restores normal function significantly. 

When properly assessed and treated by a Physical Therapist, the factors that contribute to shoulder pain can be addressed and surgery can be avoided.

How Results treats shoulder pain

Our advanced, hands-on approach to treatment focuses on stretching, reducing pain, and increasing the range of motion. This results in a quicker transition into a specific exercise program and better long-term outcomes. Research has shown that this is the most effective form of intervention, in many cases as good or better than surgery.

Here, patients see a licensed Physical Therapist at every visit. This allows us to assess them each time they come in. Other providers don’t utilize this treatment model.

Recognizing a shoulder problem early and receiving the proper treatment for it is key to achieving the best outcome and avoiding further problems. Fortunately, most health insurance now allows patients to undergo Physical Therapy without a referral from their doctor.

"I spent months not being able to sleep on my left side because of the pain. After only a couple of visits to Results, I was able to go back to sleeping the way I always had."Schedule an appointment to get your shoulder checked out

Many times, shoulder pain isn't serious, and can be successfully treated with manual physical therapy techniques. But if you ignore the pain, or take pain killers, your shoulder pain will almost certainly get worse, which could lead to a serious injury that could require surgery. Insurance almost always covers physical therapy for shoulder pain, so you have nothing to lose by scheduling an appointment with a Results physical therapst. We have over 140 clinics throughout nine states, and we almost always can get you in within two business days.

Take 60 seconds and fill out the short form, below. Someone will contact you within one business day at the clinic nearest you with a therapist who is trained to diagnose all shoulder pain conditions.

 

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