Shoulder Pain

There are many structures in and around the shoulder that can refer pain to the shoulder region. One of the most important roles of the physical therapist is to determine if the shoulder pain is coming from a structure in the joint itself or from another area, most commonly the neck. Once the proper diagnosis is made we can then design a specific treatment plan for your shoulder pain.

How can physical therapy help?

Your physical therapist will evaluate your shoulder, neck and spine to make the correct diagnosis for your shoulder pain. A proper shoulder diagnosis is key to treating this area correctly. Exercises will often include strengthening and stretching of the rotator cuff and scapular muscles as well as education on posture to minimize stress in this area.

Rotator Cuff (RTC) Injury or Tear

An RTC tear is a very common diagnosis and is actually found on MRI in 30% of the population over the age of 30 (without any prior pain) and 60% of the population over the age of 70! The more common thinking in the medical community is that RTC tears are actually a normal part of the aging process.

Frozen Shoulder

A frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is more commonly seen in women than men but often follows a set pattern, which starts with pain and limited mobility for up to 9 months as the shoulder “freezes”. This is when the, normally thin joint capsule, thickens up and tightens down preventing normal joint mechanics.