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How Physical Therapy Works to Relieve Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder PainAccording to the World Health Organization (WHO), shoulder pain is the third most common musculoskeletal complaint which affects about 20% of the population at some point in their lifetime. Shoulder pain may resolve quickly on its own but would need medical attention if it progresses and becomes severe. Professional pain management and rehabilitation centers in Brooklyn, NYC offer effective shoulder pain treatment to reduce the pain and inflammation, and restore the joint’s full range of motion. This includes physical therapy programs, a highly effective option for shoulder pain.

Shoulder pain can occur due to daily wear and tear, overuse, repetitive joint movements, poor posture, fractures, strains, and falls. Conditions that cause shoulder pain include frozen shoulder, arthritis, rotator cuff tear, tendinitis, bursitis, and impingement syndrome. Typical signs and symptoms include – swelling or bruising around the joint/arm, inability to carry/hold objects or use the arm, pain that occurs at night or while resting, unusual twinges or aches in the shoulder area and signs of an infection (including fever and redness). If left untreated, this condition can become a chronic problem. Early and timely treatment can prevent the pain from becoming chronic and reduce the chances of severe joint pain.

Role of Physical Therapy in Addressing Shoulder Pain

Physicians recommend physical therapy (PT) as an effective option for managing musculoskeletal pain. In addition to reducing pain, PT can increase strength, mobility, and range of motion. For shoulder pain, the physician will first assess the level of the neck and upper back as well as all the way down the arm and out to the hand. The soft tissues of the neck shoulder girdle and shoulder blade or scapula posture will be examined. Range of motion will be evaluated, especially the ability to raise the arm upwards to the highest position possible. If the physician suspects any injury to the shoulders, imaging tests such as X-ray or MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging), ultrasound, and electrodiagnostic studies will be conducted to identify the root cause of the problem.

Professional pain management and rehabilitation centers in Brooklyn have a dedicated team of physical therapists, physical therapy assistants and other healthcare professionals who work along with physicians to diagnose and treat shoulder pain. Based on your symptoms, they will develop a customized program to relieve your shoulder pain and restore your mobility. They will also educate you on self-care techniques and exercises that are essential to optimize rehabilitation and prevent future shoulder injury.

Shoulder pain treatment involves a combination of physical therapy, exercise programs, anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injections. Physical therapy programs in Brooklyn include a variety of techniques to relieve shoulder pain:

  • Exercises – A combination of stretching, strengthening, isometric and aerobic exercises can increase muscle strength and flexibility, and improve joint mobility. Exercise programs may include walking, swimming, stationary training, use of elliptical machines, and water aerobics.
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – TENS uses low voltage electrical currents to improve the body’s production of endorphins or natural pain killers to relieve chronic pain.
  • Ice or heat compression – Ice packs lower muscle spasm and joint inflammation whereas heat application provides relaxation to muscles. A cold pack is generally used for 15 to 20 minutes every three or four hours. After a few days, when the pain and inflammation improves, hot packs or a heating pad may be recommended to relax tightened and sore muscles.
  • Ultrasound – Ultrasound therapy involves the use of sound waves above the range of human hearing to treat injuries.

As it is a very flexible joint, the shoulder is prone to injury. However, the good news is that shoulder injuries can be prevented. Maintain a healthy weight and exercise the right way. Avoid lifting too much and pay attention to your posture when at work. If you experience shoulder pain and it does not resolve quickly, get shoulder pain treatment at a professional healthcare center.

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