The shoulder provides a versatile range of motion and is comprised of three bones: the humerus, the scapula and the clavicle. Its joint is the most mobile in the human body and allows circular, forward and backward movement. This wide range of motion is due to the rotator cuff, which is four tendons that connect the muscle to the bone.
What Causes Shoulder Pain?
There are a number of conditions that can cause shoulder pain. The most common cause is a rotator cuff injury. A rotator cuff injury can be due to tendinitis, bursitis or tears. Those who have to reach overhead repeatedly usually incur a rotator cuff injury like painters and tennis players. Bursitis is caused by an inflammation of its fluid-filled sacsRotator cuff tears or strains can occur after a fall or car accident. Any type of shoulder injury will typically cause a lot of pain.
Other causes of shoulder pain include a pinched nerve, frozen shoulder or a dislocated shoulder. A pinched nerve is when another structure is impinging on a nerve. It’s quite painful. A frozen shoulder is where muscles, ligaments and tendons stiffen and become difficult to move. Activities are generally limited. With a dislocated shoulder, the ball of the humerus comes out of the shoulder socket. And with age, the soft tissues around the shoulder can degenerate and cause pain. Most people will incur some type of shoulder pain in their lifetime.
Diagnosing The Cause of Pain In The Shoulder and Treatment
Your physician will take a medical history and do a physical exam to determine the cause of your shoulder pain. An assessment of joint stability and range of motion will also be performed. An MRI or an X-ray may also be done to help with the diagnosis.
A physical therapist can help evaluate and treat a shoulder injury. The initial evaluation will be a thorough assessment about the nature of your pain. A goniometer may be used to measure shoulder motion, range of motion and strength of the shoulder. Specials tests will also be done to determine which structure is causing the pain. For example, the Yergasons’s test is done to diagnose bicipital tendonitis, and the Empty Can test is a screening tool for injury to the shoulder’s tendons or muscles.
A physical therapist uses different treatments and modalities to treat shoulder conditions. Exercises will focus on strengthening shoulder scapular stabilization and rotator cuff muscles. Other modalities of treatment may include manual therapy to restore joint mechanics and release tight tissue, dry needling, and taping. Your physical therapists will also instruct you in home exercises to enhance recovery from a shoulder injury. With physical therapy, healing is faster, and you won’t have to rely so much on pain meds.
Have you suffered a shoulder injury?
Do you have shoulder pain and don’t know why? Get the answers and treatment you need to get on the path to recovery. Contact us at Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, East Kalamazoo, Holland, Mattawan, Midtown, Plainwell, Portage, Richland and Schoolcraft centers for a personalized consultation and effective treatment plan. Our certified and skilled physical therapists have helped many others recover from a shoulder injury and can help you too. Recovery is just a phone call away.