All About Shoulder Pain: Causes and Symptoms

If you have shoulder pain, it can be the result of many causes. Possible causes of shoulder pain are injury to the rotator cuff or soreness coming from the subacromial bursa. This is a sac of fluid under the high part of the shoulder. Other causes of shoulder pain include bony abnormalities, injuries, osteoarthritis and thickening of the ligaments in the shoulder area. There may be soreness after playing a sport or lifting items. Sports enthusiasts often incur shoulder pain due to repetitive motions. Just about anything that requires you to lift the arms can cause pain or soreness. Shoulder pain can be enough to keep you up at night.

The Rotator Cuff: What It Is

The primary joint in the shoulder is formed by the shoulder blade and arm bone. It’s the joint socket that allows a wide range of motion. The rotator cuff itself is comprised of four muscles, which surround the arm bone. It keeps the shoulder steady when the arm is in motion. The rotator cuff can even be torn. The supraspinatus muscle sits on top of the shoulder, and its tendon extends under the outside of the shoulder bone. Because of its location between bones, it’s a common injury. The tendon can become sore and swollen when it gets pinched between the bones. The subacromial bursa sac can also get damaged.

Frozen Shoulder: How It’s Caused

Frozen shoulder is another name for adhesive capsulitis. It’s a shoulder condition that limits the range of motion. It can be caused by long periods of inactivity, diabetes or surgery. Scar tissue may even form. As a result, the shoulder joint does not have proper space to rotate normally. Symptoms typically include stiffness, pain or swelling in the shoulder. Gradually, the ability to move the shoulder becomes less and less. Reaching for an item may even become impossible.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Physical therapy is a common and effective treatment for pain in the shoulder and shoulder rotator cuff pain. It’s also a non-invasive form of treatment. Our physical therapist will perform a comprehensive evaluation that includes strength and motion tests and check for any weakness in the shoulder. Any findings from your physician such as X-rays or MRI will be used in conjunction with our comprehensive evaluation to determine the cause of your pain and dysfunction while assisting in developing a customized treatment plan for you. Your treatment plan may include manual therapy, range-of-motion exercises, functional training, and strengthening exercises. You may also receive passive treatments such as, electrical muscle stimulation, massage, myofascial release, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, dry needling, cold laser and heat or ice therapy.

Depending on the type of shoulder injury and the extent of the injury, physical therapy may be needed for months. Our physical therapists also help to educate patients on how to improve posture, improve gait and avoid future injury to the shoulder. Often, patients are given a home exercise program for lifelong protection and health of the shoulders.

The goal of our physical therapist is to provide shoulder pain relief, improve range of motion, improve flexibility and improve daily function.