All About Shoulder Pain: Causes and Symptoms
If you have pain in a shoulder, it can be the result of many causes. However, the common causes of it are an injury of the rotator cuff or soreness of 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 the shoulder top, 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 for Shoulder Pain
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. A physical therapist will perform a comprehensive exam along with an evaluation that includes strength and motion tests and check for any weakness in the shoulder. X-rays may also be taken to identify other conditions, such as arthritis. X-rays are a tool that helps determine the root cause of shoulder pain.
Physical therapy services may include manual therapy, range-of-motion exercises, functional training, soft tissue massage and strengthening exercises. Manual techniques may include therapeutic modalities like ultrasound and iontophoresis. Depending on the type of shoulder injury and the extent of the injury, physical therapy may be needed for months. 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.