Ideal when you have severe shoulder pain, the right therapist should be able to get to the root of the problem, which can then be corrected through a number of methods including a strengthening program, stretching and a regular exercise routine. Ideally, in fact, sooner is usually better before starting physical therapy and seeing a specialist for your shoulder pain as soon as possible. This is particularly important if you think you could be suffering from a more extensive overuse injury, that does not become apparent until it is much worse.
The shoulder joint is made up of four bones – the humerus, pectoralis major, minor, and teres minor. If one of these bones becomes overused or becomes overly strained, it can result in a range of shoulder problems such as tears, strains, spurs and spasms and, in more extreme cases, a complete tear down the humerus.
The shoulder physical therapy specialist will look to see if the problem lies more in a stress or strain on the shoulder than a tear or damage to the shoulder itself. The shoulder can be injured as a result of repetitive movement, such as lifting heavy objects, twisting, lifting improperly, or using the muscles that lift the arms.
If there are no obvious signs of a tear or other damage to the shoulder joint, then there is probably no cause for concern. But in order to diagnose a shoulder physical therapy problem properly, your physiotherapist will want to carry out an assessment. This will involve looking at your physical exam, asking questions to establish what type of shoulder pain you are suffering and determining if the pain is caused by a rotator cuff injury.
Your rotator cuff is a group of four shoulder muscles that make up the shoulder joint and help stabilise the shoulder joint. A rotator cuff injury is the result of a tear in the rotator cuff ligaments between the humerus and pectoral muscle and the shoulder joint. Once a tear has occurred it can lead to a number of shoulder problems, including pain in the shoulder joint, shoulder stiffness, shoulder dislocation and even dislocations. Some people will experience a loss of motion, with the shoulder moving slightly forward or back, although there may also be a loss of strength in the shoulder.
The best way to identify whether you have a shoulder physical therapy problem is to ask for a list of symptoms, and go to a physiotherapist who specialises in treating shoulder pain. This person will be able to identify the problem and therefore be able to suggest the best way to correct the problem to improve your shoulder’s range of movement.