Shoulder Pain Treatment
At Balance Physical Therapy, we provide shoulder pain treatment expertly with maximal functional outcomes. One of the most common diagnoses that we treat here is shoulder pain or shoulder pathology. The shoulder is a very complex structure, and we have to consider all of its component parts so that we can ultimately maximize its functional output.
It is often said that things that make us human are our ability to communicate with language and our opposable thumbs. Consider the shoulder as the base for your hand.
You can’t effectively use your extremity without a really solidly functioning shoulder. Just imagine if your shoulder was completely dysfunctional. How could you use your elbow? How could you use your hand?
The hand is basically the extension of your shoulder. Whenever a patient is referred for shoulder dysfunction at Balance Physical Therapy, we take it very seriously.
What Shoulder Pain Treatment Looks Like
We screen the neck, which is appropriate. We screen the shoulder girdle. The shoulder is a part of a girdle system. The shoulder by nature is one of the most unstable joints in our entire body, but it is also one of the most mobile joints in the entire body. Therefore, the things that lend stability to our shoulder is the girdle.
The shoulder girdle is made up of the rotator cuff, which is a collection of 4 muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis), the glenohumeral ligament which has 3 separate sections to it, and a synovial joint capsule.
The synovial joint capsule is the structure that helps to keep fluid in and around the joint to nourish the articular cartilage structures and to decrease frictional forces between the ends of the bones involved in that joint.
We also take into consideration the acromioclavicular (AC) joint and the sternoclavicular (SC) joint which are the joints that are comprised at either end of the clavicle or collar bone. Then we think about the scapula, which rotates upward and downward across our ribcage in the back.
The shoulder isn’t as straightforward as it might seem to most people.
What Happens Next?
In clinic, when evaluating a shoulder, we clear all of the red flags, (the big, the bad, and the ugly, as we refer to them). We typically examine the biceps, the rotator cuff, the ligamentous structures, the capsular structures, and then take a very thorough biomechanical approach to maximizing shoulder function.
What are physical therapists? We are essentially movement doctors. When we look at a shoulder, we have to take it in the context of how the entire torso and sometimes how the entire body is working. We have to look at the position of the patient’s upper thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is the section of the spine between the shoulder blades. We look at the position of the head, whether it is too far forward or too far backward. With the position of the shoulder blades, are they too far downward or are they too far downward and inward?
After a thorough biomechanical assessment, strength assessment, neurological assessment, we begin to recognize patterns that are inefficient that we can retrain, reeducate, both with strengthening exercises and neuromuscular facilitation techniques to maximize the total overall function of the entire shoulder girdle, as it pertains to the entire movement system of a person’s body.
Again, the shoulder doesn’t work in isolation. It has many parts. It is a very complex structure, and we have to consider all of its component parts so that we can ultimately maximize its functional output. That’s what we here, at Balance Physical Therapy, are experts at. We invite you to come and visit us in the clinic.
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