People often don’t notice how much they use their shoulders until they’re acting up.
But they typically have a large range of motion in many different directions, so when your shoulders aren’t working the way they normally do, it’s pretty noticeable – and can be pretty painful.
While some shoulder pain can be caused by an acute new injury, other shoulder pain is chronic and develops over time.
Chronic pain physical therapy near me can help.
Shoulder injuries and shoulder pain can be particularly distracting because of how much we use our shoulders in our daily life.
For example, if you’re looking for shoulder pain relief from sports or running injuries, it may be different than if you’ve been in a car crash or you’re recovering from a workplace injury.
But regardless of what causes your shoulder pain, pain management physical therapy can help.
Read on to find out more about shoulder pain, and how a Washington DC physical therapist can help.
What Is Shoulder Pain?
To start, your shoulder is made of three parts: the humerus or funny bone (upper arm bone), clavicle or collarbone, and scapula or shoulder blade.
Any pain around these bones, or the joints, muscles, and ligaments around them, is considered shoulder pain.
Your shoulder has the largest range of motion of any area in your body.
Combine that with the fact that it’s also one of the most used parts of your body, and you can see why it’s particularly susceptible to pain.
Shoulder Pain Symptoms
Your shoulders are given their wide range of motion by a group of four muscles and their tendons, which together are called the rotator cuff.
Rotator cuff tears are fairly common, and are one of the more common reasons for shoulder pain.
If something is off with your rotator cuff, you may feel pain when you move it in certain ways.
When you put your arm up or behind your back, you might notice some stiffness or pain.
If your shoulder pain is caused by a sudden injury, there could be bruising and swelling.
You might even feel a tingling or numbness in your shoulder.
What Causes Shoulder Pain?
There are many causes of shoulder pain, though the most common cause is when the tendons in the rotator cuff get trapped under the bone in your shoulder.
In general, there are two types of shoulder injuries that cause shoulder pain: sudden injuries and overuse injuries.
Common sudden injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Bruising (from things like impacts and falls)
- Strained muscles (also known as torn muscles)
- Injured nerves
- Ligament or tendon injuries
Common overuse injuries include:
- Tendinitis (inflammation in the shoulder tendons)
- Muscle strain
- Frozen shoulder (range of motion gets stuck)
- Bursitis (inflammation in fluid sac that lubricates shoulder)
- Bone spurs
- Scapulohumeral rhythm impairments
- Scapulothoracic impairments
Physical Therapy Treatments For Shoulder Pain
If you’re dealing with chronic shoulder pain, physical therapy can help get your shoulder working as well as possible.
Your physical therapist will work with you to regain mobility, strengthen your shoulder, and prevent further injury.
Depending on the source of your injury, your physical therapist may also consider your home and workplace ergonomics as a preventative measure.
Here are some of the most common physical therapy treatments for shoulder pain:
1. Heat And Cold Therapy
Heat and cold therapy is the application of both heat and cold to an affected area to help reduce pain.
Using cold therapy, sometimes referred to as the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method, is good for acute injuries.
Ice will help reduce swelling and inflammation, which will usually assist in reducing your pain.
Heat therapy is best used when no swelling is present with chronic injuries and can help your muscles relax.
2. Manual Therapy
Manual therapy, also known as hands on physical therapy, will involve your physical therapist helping you relax your shoulder.
They’ll use their hands to guide your shoulder into certain positions to reduce stiffness in the joints and muscles.
The goal here is to help your shoulder regain its mobility and reduce pain.
3. Dry Needling
Dry needling is a technique for a cause of shoulder pain called “functional shoulder pain” which refers to pain that occurs when your shoulder has an imbalance.
Dry needling will create a muscle twitch, which will then relax and sort of “reset” your shoulder’s resting muscular state.
This will resolve a myofascial trigger point, or “hyperirritable” part of your shoulder.
Stretching is one of the most common treatments for shoulder pain because it will help you gently guide your muscles back to their full range of motion.
Your physical therapist will work with you to create a series of stretches that work best for your particular injury.
These exercises will target your specific shoulder muscles.
Because shoulder pain may be connected with neck pain, upper back pain, and other spinal issues, your physical therapist may offer stretches that target these areas as well.
5. Strengthening Exercises
Similar to stretching, your physical therapist may recommend strengthening exercises.
These are separate exercises, designed to strengthen your shoulder muscles and increase core strength.
This is a preventative measure, helping you to avoid reinjuring your shoulder.
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
Are you getting tired of your shoulder pain?
Physical therapy can help.
We’re here to help get you back to your full range of motion.
Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today to get started.
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005
9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC