Recovering from Shoulder Joint Pain: The Role of Physical Therapy
Shoulder joint pain is a common type of shoulder issue that can be caused by activities like sports, certain work-related tasks, or a fall. Unfortunately, such pain can drastically reduce your shoulder’s range of motion and make it very difficult to do everyday activities. Physical therapy is an essential part of treating shoulder joint pain and can help you regain strength, mobility, and function in your shoulder.
Physical therapy for shoulder joint pain involves a specialized plan designed to restore the anatomy and biomechanics of the shoulder so that it works properly. Your physical therapist will evaluate your condition and whether it is related to any underlying issues like an impingement or tendon tear. From there, they will develop a personalized treatment plan to help you reach your goals for recovery.
What to Expect at Physical Therapy
During physical therapy for shoulder joint pain, various treatments are provided to help reduce pain and muscle spasms, strengthen specific muscles around the shoulder joint, and improve flexibility. Manual therapy techniques can be used to decrease pain and increase range of motion. These techniques can take the form of massage, mobilization, or manipulation of the soft tissues around the joint.
In addition to manual therapy, strengthening exercises tailored to the rotator cuff muscles or other muscles around the shoulder joint may be prescribed. Patients may also receive education on proper posture and body mechanics while performing activities that could worsen the injury. Active stretching exercises may also be done to increase flexibility in the joint. The type of physical therapy treatment will depend on the severity of the injury and the progress made during rehabilitation.
What Types of Exercises Might You Do?
Your physical therapist will create a program of exercises specific to your needs. Common exercises used in physical therapy for shoulder joint pain include:
Shoulder strengthening with resistance bands or weights – strengthens the muscles around the shoulder joint, which helps improve stability and mobility
Range of motion exercises – helps maintain flexibility in the joint so you can perform everyday activities without pain
Postural training – improves posture and body mechanics while performing activities at home or work that could aggravate the injury
Balance and proprioception exercises – help retrain proper coordination between your brain, eyes, and shoulder muscles to decrease instability caused by injury or overuse
How Long Does Recovery Take?
The length of recovery depends on the severity of the injury and how soon physical therapy is initiated after the injury occurs. Generally speaking, the faster you start physical therapy for shoulder joint pain, the sooner you will be able to return to your normal activities without pain or discomfort. Physical therapy for shoulder joint pain usually takes several weeks to a few months and may include follow-up visits with your physical therapist for continued strengthening exercises and education about proper posture and body mechanics.
How Physical Therapy Prevents Reinjury
Physical therapy is beneficial in preventing reinjury and reducing shoulder pain. It also helps strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint to decrease instability caused by injury or overuse. Additionally, physical therapy can help improve posture and body mechanics while performing activities at home or work that could aggravate the injury.
Physical therapy is essential for recovering from shoulder joint pain, as well as preventing further injury. Therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, postural training, balance and proprioception can help restore shoulder strength and coordination, reducing instability. Rest and physical therapy will help you return to normal activities without pain or discomfort post-injury.