The shoulder is a mobile joint that helps us reach and move in many directions. However, this great degree of motion has a trade off; the stability of the shoulder is dependent upon the surrounding soft tissue and can result in a larger number of problems not faced by other joints supported by bony structures. A healthy shoulder can be damaged by disease or injury, resulting in severe pain, muscle weakness and an inability to use your arm for simple daily tasks..
If you’ve sustained an injury to your shoulder, it’s highly likely that your Orthopaedic Physician will prescribe a round of Physical Therapy (PT) as either a non-surgical intervention or for post-surgical treatment. If you need an injection in the shoulder, Physical Therapy after the injection can restore range of motion and assist with strengthening in order to avoid future problems. And, if surgery is required, MAKE SURE to follow your surgeon’s directions closely to protect the shoulder. Post-operative Physical Therapy can help regain normal motion and strength after your surgery.
Your PT program will likely start with an initial evaluation – during this assessment, the therapist will ask you questions about the nature of your pain and the aggravating and relieving factors. They may take measurements of the range of motion and strength of your shoulder, as well as monitor the quality of your shoulder motion. This is all done in an effort to help determine which structure is causing your pain to help guide treatment.
After your initial evaluation, treatment can begin. Your therapist may choose to use therapeutic modalities to help control pain or inflammation, and you may be instructed to perform home exercises to help improve strength and mobility. Remember…it’s VERY important to follow your Physical Therapist’s advice and instructions closely – by keeping your shoulder mobile and strong, shoulder pain may quickly be abolished and future episodes of pain can be avoided.