The shoulder is an extremely complex joint system. While this allows us to perform activities with a huge range of motion, when an injury occurs in the shoulder simple daily tasks can become incredibly difficult.
In its simplest form the shoulder is a ball and socket joint comprised of three major bones, the scapula (shoulder blade), clavicle (collarbone) and humerus (upper arm bone). These bones are surrounded by four tendons (the tissue that connects muscle to bone), making up the rotator cuff, that allow your shoulder to move and rotate as the most mobile joint in the body.
Most injuries to the shoulder occur through either repetitive movement or a single traumatic event like a sports injury. Pain in the shoulder often comes as a result of damage or tear to the rotator cuff creating sharp and somewhat severe pain in the area. Repetitive movement in the same motion, like that of a painter, can cause wear and tear to the rotator cuff that progressively gets worse over time. Sudden aggressive movements of throwing a baseball can also cause immediate damage to the rotator cuff. An obvious injury like a shoulder dislocation, separating the ball of your arm from the socket, results in an abundance of pain and requires immediate medical attention as well as rehabilitation after your joint has been reset.
Other common causes of shoulder pain include inflammation of the rotator cuff called tendonitis and what is referred to as frozen shoulder, when the muscles, ligaments, and tendons stiffen and become very difficult to move, resulting in a constant ache.
Your All Star physical therapist will complete a thorough evaluation of your shoulder that may include measuring your range of motion, functionality, and strength. The goal of physical therapy will be to decrease pain while increasing the range of motion through hands-on therapy, stretching, and exercise. In addition, heat, ice, ultrasound, and electric stimulation may be used to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Whether your shoulder pain is dull or sharp, varying or constant, physical therapy will provide the strength flexibility to achieve pain-free, full range of motion to your shoulder.