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Shoulder Pain Treatment

Pain in the shoulder can affect every aspect of life. Pain and limitations in the shoulder area can make simple everyday task almost impossible. Putting a t-shirt, or combing hair turns into painful and complicated operation. In addition, most of our fun activities require free movement of the shoulder and ability to lift objects. Most of the popular sports: tennis, golf, basketball, football will become impossible to enjoy with pain and limitations in the shoulder. Acute injury like tear of the rotator cuff or progressing chronic condition like arthritis will severely limit the motion in the shoulder and cause pain and restrictions.

Common conditions that cause shoulder pain.

Arthritis of the shoulder joint

This is common reason for a chronic shoulder pain. Overuse of the shoulder joint with repetitive motion at work or sport causes damage to the cartilage that is covering the joint surface. Usually, you will wake up in the morning with stiffness and pain, difficulty to raise your hand above the shoulder level. Pain will remain during the day and will get worse with activities. With time the movement of the shoulder will become restricted and even simple action like combing hair or taking a cup out of the kitchen cabinet are impossible.

Rotator cuff tears

Sprain or tear of one or more of the tendons of the rotator cuff, will cause local instability if the joint and result in pain with movement. Surgical intervention might be necessary if conservative treatment fails. Post-surgical rehabilitation will take 3-4 months to restore the motion and strength. However, most of the patients are able to avoid surgery and will improve with physical therapy and injections.

Shoulder bursitis

Inflammation of the synovial fluid on the outer part of the shoulder because of the sport activity, muscle tightness, previous trauma will cause pain while raising the arm or lifting even small objects. Rest will usually eliminate the pain, but it will return with motion.

Tear of the labrum

Shoulder joint labrum is a chondral structure that is attached to the rim of the joint. It is essential for the stability and movement of the shoulder. Trauma, dislocation of the shoulder, sport injury, or overuse of the joint can cause partial or full tear and sometimes will cause the labrum to detach from the bone. Pain will appear with motion and will go away at rest.

Shoulder fracture

Very common fracture over the age of 65. Although the acute pain will subside with the bone healing itself, some chronic pain might develop and remain for a long period of time. Also, the free motion of the joint will be restricted because of the long period of immobilization. In many cases will require a surgery to stabilize will 4-6 month of rehabilitation after it.

Shoulder impingement

Very common shoulder problem resulting from narrowing of the space in the upper area of the joint. It will cause the tendons to be squeezed when raising the arm above the shoulder level. This condition can develop because of the previous trauma which alternated the movement mechanics. Although there are surgical interventions physical therapy to restore the normal movement is a better treatment choice with good result.

All those conditions are well known to cause pain, difficulty to move, inability to go to work, play golf, ride a bike, take a walk in the nature, and enjoy life in general. If you are suffering from low back or neck pain, we invite contact our clinic for a free consultation to learn how we can help you feel better today.

How to diagnose a shoulder problem

Shoulder pain can occur without warning and will become constant, causing the patients to reduce mobility and give up on the activities they like to do. Over the time, the pain last longer and will get severe. As a result, it will start limiting even simple daily activities.


Unfortunately, most of the family physicians know very little about specific shoulder problems. Most of them will recommend an x-ray, and prescribe some pain medications, without being able to find the exact diagnosis.

Being evaluated by a Physical therapist

Comprehensive examination by a trained physical therapist is the first logical step in diagnosing shoulder pain. They are trained clinicians, who will collect the necessary information and perform specific test to identify your problem. If needed, the therapist will recommend additional tests or will refer you to the specialist.

X-ray imaging

This is simplest way to obtain the basic image of the shoulder and evaluate any structural changes and alternations. It is quick, simple, safe, and widely accessible, and is enough in most cases.

Getting an MRI or CT scan

Those are advanced imaging techniques that can create a high-quality image of the shoulder structure and reveal changes in the ligaments, cartilage, labrum, nerves, and muscles. If combined with professional clinical examination those scans are useful in confirming the diagnosis.

Physical therapy for shoulder pain

Physical therapy is a safest and easiest way to treat your shoulder problem. It is based on restoring natural motion in the joint, improving flexibility, and muscle strength. All those are crucial to improve stability of the shoulder and reduce pressure on the damaged structures. Unlike pain medications and injections, that provide only temporary relief, shoulder pain treatment with physical therapy has no side effects and will eliminate pain for long period of time.

Without proper treatment shoulder pain is known to cause disability to work, play sports, doing simple housework, meet with friends, and will trigger depression and unhappiness. Modern medicine has two main approaches to the shoulder pain: non- surgical and surgical.

Physical therapy before and after shoulder surgery.

Shoulder replacement is joint replacement surgery for the severe cases of the arthritis. Although, this surgery can significantly improve quality of life and eliminate pain, it should not be taken lightly. This is a major surgery with possible complications and long recovery period. Physical therapy is an integral part both in the preparation and recovery from shoulder replacement surgery. Proper physical therapy will improve outcome form the surgery and will significantly shorten the recovery period.

Physical therapy prior to the surgery.

Most of the patients will decide on a surgical procedure after suffering from the shoulder pain for a long time. During this time, their ability to move had significantly decreases, muscle strength reduced, and range of motion limited. Physical therapy before surgery will help to reduce pain, improve muscle strength, and mobility, which is important for the post-surgical rehabilitation.

Physical therapy after spinal surgery

Recovery from the shoulder replacement is a multi-stage process. Physical therapist will instruct you and will help you to reach the best outcome after surgery. 1. Immediately after surgery the physical therapy will help to reduce pain and swelling, regain initial mobility and range of motion. This is critical at this stage, because the soft tissue is healing and if not treated can create adhesions and restrictions to movement. 2. At this stage physical therapy will focus on restoring the proper motion pattern in the arm and improve muscle strength and endurance. 3. Final stage of rehabilitation will concentrate in improving the quality the movement and improving performance. The therapist will work with you to make sure you are able to perform tasks you want maybe return to golfing or playing tennis, resume your normal work or any other activity.

Unfortunately, many of us think that tolerating pain is the best way to deal with the shoulder problem; and only if we can suffer it a little longer, it will disappear on its own. This approach leads to an entirely opposite outcome and will cause minor conditions to get worse and turn into a chronic and difficult to treat disorder. Asking for professional help is an important step in solving shoulder pain. Doing it earlier rather than later improves the outcome of the treatment and shortens the period of discomfort and suffering. 

What should you expect at physical therapy treatment for the shoulder pain?

Physical therapy offers a comprehensive solution that has been proven over the years as able to reduce pain and restore quality of life, without harmful side effects of medications and surgery. Therapy is able not only to help during the acute pain episodes but can also prevent the recurrence of the acute pain periods and allow patients to resume their normal activities and hobbies.

You will start feeling better in a matter of days and not months.

In a few short treatment sessions you will have less pian, more energy and better mobility. The treatment will not only decrease the symptoms but will also improve the everyday function, mood, and reduce anxiety.

Your therapist will diagnose the problem on your first visit.

You should be able to understand the issues and the way it should be treated. If necessary, you might be recommended to have an imaging test done to confirm the diagnosis.

You will be able to prevent the problem from happening again.

Unlike pain medications and injections, physical therapy will treat not only pain, but also the underlaying reason for it. This will prevent the back pain form happening again and again and is as important as reducing it right now.

Shoulder fracture

Initial treatment can result in long period of immobilization up to 12 weeks, or even require surgical repair. Either the treatment was conservative or surgical physical therapy is necessary to reduce pain and stiffness, improve range of motion and regain muscle strength. Exercises should be adjusted over the period of rehabilitation, to address different stages of healing. Electrical stimulation, massage and manual therapy will help to reduce pain and stiffness.

Labrum tears

Physical therapy will address the abnormal loading on the damaged structure, will improve limitation in mobility and help to decrease pain. In addition, the therapist will explain how to prevent the condition from deteriorating over time. Improving muscle strength and restoring proper movement mechanics will prevent the further damage to the shoulder joint.

Treatment for rotator cuff tears

Both front and rear muscles of the shoulder can suffer tears during sport activities. Restoring the strength to the structure is possible with proper progressive loading. Physical therapy will help to reduce the initial pain and swelling. Electrical stimulation, manual massage and gentle stretching are applied at the first stage. Gradual strength exercises should start later to rebuild muscle and allow proper healing.

Shoulder arthritis

Most common progressive condition of the shoulder joint. Muscle strengthening to unload the pressure of the joint surface and stretching to maintain range of motion are the main component in treating the limitation and pain. In addition, manual massage, US therapy and electrical stimulation are helpful in reducing pain and stiffness.

Shoulder bursitis

Local ultrasound, iontophoresis, and Interferential(IF) current combined with heat will target the initial inflammation. After the pain is reduced it is important to treat the reason for the inflammation. Usually stretching of the soft tissues, and muscle strengthening around the shoulder joint will improve the mechanics of the movement and prevent the condition form repeating in the future.

Miracle PT and massage center.

At Miracle Physical Therapy we can help you to get on the right track and start the journey. You can call us to schedule a free no obligation consultation with a therapist in person or over the phone. If you feel ready to start some real physical therapy for lower back pain, we can schedule your appointment in the next 24 hours.

Starting physical therapy in our Warren or Farmington Hills location will allow you to feel better in the next days and not years.

  • In the small number of sessions, we will help you to reduce stiffness and pain and start feeling better.

  • We will diagnose your real problem on your first visit, and together we will build the treatment plan to get rid of pain and other symptoms you are suffering from.

  • You will be able to get rid of the pain medications and enjoy life without relying on harmful substances with severe side effects and complications.

  • Proper treatment will help you to avoid major surgery with long recovery and severe risks every surgery has.

Is your problem acute or chronic?

At Miracle Physical Therapy and Massage Center we specialize in treating both chronic and acute low back pain conditions and helping hundreds of patients every year to enjoy their life without pain. We are using scientifically proven treatment approach, which helps to restore mobility, improve strength, and decrease pain without harmful side effects of addictive pain medications and invasive surgeries. We are operating two clinics in Farmington hills and Warren Michigan.

Long lasting results!

At Miracle Physical Therapy and Massage Center we believe that it is not only important to get rid of the pain today, but also to prevent it from coming back repeatedly. By addressing the source of the condition that is causing pain, we can improve quality of life and allow our patients to enjoy it fully.

Learning and understanding the problem each specific patient is suffering from, goes a long way in treating it.

It is not a magic trick, but science, knowledge and experience we accumulated over the last 20 years that make Miracle Physical Therapy and Massage Center the best place to treat low back problems.

Call us today for more information or to schedule the beginning of your therapy.

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