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Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain Relief

Is shoulder pain stressing you out?  Or even preventing you from living your life at times?  When you’re dealing with a shoulder injury, even ordinary tasks like closing a door, brushing your hair, or carrying grocery bags can become a miserable burden.  Shoulder injuries can be as complicated as they are painful, and the most effective way to ensure proper recovery is to work with a physical therapist who will help your body heal itself.  Contact us anytime to start a personalized physical therapy program to correct your shoulder injury and live a pain free life.

What is Shoulder Pain?

According to the National Institute of Health, shoulder pain is the result of soft tissue breakdown within the shoulder joint. Such degeneration can affect your ligaments, joints, tendons, muscles, and all other tissues in the region.  Shoulder pain may stem from a variety of causes, the most common including:

  • Frozen shoulder: a frozen shoulder, as the name implies, is frozen in place; you cannot move your arm without pain. Frozen shoulder pain is usually persistent and may consistently ache.
  • Dislocated shoulder: a shoulder dislocation involves a full separation of the shoulder socket from the head of your upper arm. This is often due to impact during sports accidents or falls.
  • Rotator cuff injury: if your rotator cuff is damaged, you’ll experience severe pain throughout your shoulder. Rotator cuff injuries can include muscle tears, bursitis, tendinitis, and other less common causes.
  • Arthritis: arthritis involves inflammation and degeneration within a joint. Our shoulders are joints which are particularly susceptible to developing arthritis and its accompanying pain. This pain may be dull, consistent, and chronic. If you suffer from arthritis, we are here to help.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can happen for many reasons.  If you suffer from a chronic illness like arthritis, your shoulder pain may develop slowly and then worsen over time as the damage within your shoulder progresses.

In other cases, an acute shoulder injury may be in the form of a simple strain.  For example, if you play a sport like basketball, the repeated trauma of overhead arm movements may cause a strain or tear.

Many shoulder injuries develop suddenly from impact during physical activity or tripping and breaking a fall.  If you’ve ever had an injury that required shoulder immobilization, you may also be at risk for developing a frozen shoulder or arthritis.

No matter the cause, shoulder pain is not something you have to live with.  Physical therapy provides a non-invasive solution, and facilitates the return to pain free shoulder movement!

How Physical Therapy Can Help Shoulder Pain 

Your physical therapist will begin by doing a full evaluation of your current range of motion, strength and shoulder functionality.  This simple exam provides the information necessary to customize a treatment plan that will eliminate pain and get you back to full function.

Physical therapy focuses on reducing muscle spasms, decreasing painful inflammation, and expediting the healing process.  A multi-modal approach has been shown to be the most effective measure, and your multi-modal treatment plan will typically include:

  • Strengthening exercises at our facility under the guidance of your physical therapist
  • Customized exercise prescriptions that you can do at home
  • Manual therapy to mobilize, stretch or release tight muscles or joints
  • Heat pack application to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Ice pack application to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Ultrasound therapy to reduce swelling and accelerate healing
  • Electrical muscle stimulation to reduce pain and muscle spasms
  • Class IV laser for pain relief

A customized physical therapy program will help you to fully recover, without the need for potentially dangerous narcotics or surgery. Physical therapy focuses on completely healing your shoulder injury, both long-term and immediately to relieve your pain now and into the future.

Ready to beat shoulder pain for good? Get shoulder pain relief with physical therapy. Contact our office now to schedule your visit. We look forward to helping you! Visit us at Healing Hands Physical Therapy 58 Parkland Plaza, Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI 48103.


What is the most common shoulder injury?

Sprains and strains are among the most commonly experienced overuse injuries in the shoulder area. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched too far or torn. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched too far or torn. Strains and sprains can result in an ongoing shoulder pain that may make it difficult to partake in exercise or even daily tasks. If the strain or sprain is minor, it can sometimes be iced at home and healed with rest. More severe strains and sprains will often require physical therapy treatments. Additional shoulder injuries include a torn cartilage, dislocation, tendinitis, bursitis, frozen shoulder, and arthritis.

How do you know if my shoulder injury is serious?

Your shoulders can accomplish several physical feats due to their structure – however, this also means that they are susceptible to an increased risk of injury because of their complexity. If something becomes damaged in the make-up of the shoulders, pain and discomfort can develop. This pain may range from a dull ache to shooting pains, depending on the severity of the condition. If you are experiencing severe pain, or pain lasting three months or longer, it could be indicative of a deeper issue.

How do I get my shoulder to stop hurting?

If your shoulder is causing you discomfort, physical therapy is the best way to ensure the highest rate of relief. Our physical therapists are highly trained to help improve the flexibility and range of motion in your shoulder, in addition to relieving your pain and discomfort. This will be done through an individualized treatment plan designed specifically for you, and may include any combination of treatment methods as your physical therapist deems fit, including manual therapy, ice and heat therapies, electrical nerve stimulation, or ultrasound. Your physical therapist will also prescribe targeted exercises and stretches to help regain your optimal shoulder function.

How can physical therapy help with shoulder pain?

Two of the biggest goals of physical therapy are 1) to alleviate your pain and 2) to improve your function. Your physical therapist will work with you to make sure that both of these are achieved throughout your physical therapy sessions. Physical therapy has been proven to manage the pain of several conditions, and in many cases, it has even been proven to eliminate shoulder pain altogether, thus making the need for harmful drugs or surgical intervention obsolete.

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