The pain from a shoulder injury can interfere with everyday activities, such as reaching up to a high shelf, pulling on a coat, or lifting heavy objects. When mobility is impaired that we realize what a huge impact its loss has on daily life.
Your shoulder is made up of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle).
The head of your upper arm bone fits into the socket in your shoulder blade. A combination of muscles and tendons called the rotator cuff keeps your arm bone centered in your shoulder socket. They cover the head of your upper arm bone and attach it to your shoulder blade.
Because the shoulder is made up of so many different parts, it is vulnerable to several different types of problems and injuries. Most shoulder problems fall into one of the following major categories:
1. Tendon inflammation.
This could be caused because of bursitis, tendonitis, or a tear in the tendon. If tendonitis is allowed to progress it becomes very painful and difficult to move the shoulder, especially when reaching up. In more severe cases the shoulder becomes “frozen” and the person loses some or all of their range of motion. Bursitis is similar to tendonitis, but it is caused by an irritation or inflammation of the fluid filled sack called the bursa which cushions the tendons and joints. Bursitis can cause a painful and stiff shoulder.
2. Postural Dysfunction
The increased use of computers and sitting for long periods of time can often cause a muscle imbalance in the shoulder to develop. Over time this imbalance leads to injury and pain.
This common shoulder condition is caused by the bones of the shoulder pinching the shoulder tendons and bursa. This condition can also be called swimmer’s shoulder or thrower’s shoulder as it is a common cause of pain is swimmers and ballplayers. Impingement often leads to pain when lifting, carrying, or reaching above your head.
This condition occurs when the cartilage which protects the joints wears down and causes the joint to become inflamed. It becomes harder to move the affected joint due to pain or stiffness.
5. Rotator Cuff Injury
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that encircle the shoulder joint and hold the ball of your upper arm bone firmly within the socket of the shoulder. When these muscles are injured or torn it causes weakness, pain, and loss of motion.
The best solution to your shoulder pain depends on the cause and type of injury.
In cases of injury or persistent pain, it is best to visit your doctor or a physical therapist to receive a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment.
At the outset, most cases of shoulder pain should be treated with a brief period of rest to let the healing process begin. Applying cold packs for 15-minute intervals can also help decrease pain and inflammation in the affected area.
Physical Therapy is an Excellent Treatment for Many Different Types of Shoulder Pain.
Physical therapy encompasses many different aspects such as hands-on treatment to loosen stiff muscles and joints, exercises and stretches to restore range of motion and build strength, training in proper posture and body mechanics to decrease pain. In addition to these hands-on techniques, therapists can use modalities such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and dry needling.