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Relieving Shoulder Pain with Physical Therapy

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is the most complex joint in the human body. It has to move through more than 180 degrees of motion in many directions, rotate, slide and spin. There are a variety of muscles that have to work in concert to ensure the shoulder joint tracks properly with everyday activities. It is made up of the humerus bone, scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collar bone). There are technically 4 joints that make up the entire shoulder complex.

Poor posture, weakened muscles, injury and lack of proper range of motion can all factor into shoulder pain. Shoulder pain is typically felt in the muscles between the shoulder and neck, as well as the outside shoulder radiating down. Where your pain is can determine what structures are involved.


It is important to note that just because your pain is felt in one location, that is not usually the source of the trouble. For example pain on the outside of the shoulder can be from an impingement of the joint or problems with the rotator cuff muscles. However, this can be caused by poor positioning and functioning of the shoulder blade, which is the real culprit. Treat the source of the problem and the irritation will resolve.

How physical therapy helps

It is important that when you have shoulder pain, you have our experts evaluate your motion, strength, coordination and joint mobility. By determining the root cause of your pain, we can then treat it effectively for fast pain relief, improved motion, strength and return to normal activities. The goal is to restore your normal shoulder movement without pain.

What is a Shoulder Sprain / Strain?

A sprain in the shoulder involves the ligaments while a strain involves the muscles around the shoulder. A sprain / strain typically occurs because the tissue has been overstretched too quickly, resulting in micro-tearing of the tissue. This results in painful inflammation, typically increased with movement and use of the damaged tissue.

The damage from a sprain / strain can be minor or major, depending on the severity of the injury, person’s health and age. As we age, our tissue becomes less elastic and becomes more prone to tearing.

How physical therapy helps

Physical therapy is a very important part of the recovery from a sprain / strain. First the focus is on reducing pain and inflammation while maintaining or regaining range of motion. After the inflammatory phase is coming to an end the focus shifts to attaining full range of motion then gradual strengthening of the injured areas to regain normal strength. Towards the end of treatment, focus is shifted to the coordination of the shoulder joint and education towards preventing future injury.


If you have suffered a sprain or strain, call us today as soon as possible to start feeling relief and getting back to normal activities.


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