Are you worried about shoulder pain? Does shoulder pain wake you up at night? Does it stop you from reaching high shelves or reaching for your seat belt? Are you concerned that shoulder pain may be threatening your ability to work, throw the ball with your kids, or even drive your car?
The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body. It’s so flexible that unlike other joints, it has very few ligaments holding it together. Instead the shoulder has a group of muscles called the rotator cuff that act like adjustable ligaments to stabilize the joint in any position, whether you are reaching overhead to grab something off a shelf or reaching down to do pushups. The shoulder’s exceptional flexibility comes at a cost the shoulder’s huge range of motion and lack of limiting ligaments makes it an inherently unstable joint that is prone to injury and pain.
Common injuries in the shoulder are impingement, rotator cuff tears, and labrum tears. Evidence suggests that shoulder injuries are more common than previously suspected. One study estimated that 70% of people over 60 years old have rotator cuff tears. One reason these injuries may go undetected is because people associate pain, stiffness, and weakness with age – or they may not be aware that there are solutions available.
What’s the trade off? What do we get in return for this injury prone and potentially troublesome joint? Well in biomechanical terms, the shoulder is the platform for hand function. As human beings, we use our hands for everything: writing, lifting, carrying, communicating, climbing, and weightbearing activities – and the joint that allows all this to happen is the shoulder. The shoulder moves the hand wherever it needs to go while stabilizing it. So, in face, the shoulders make basically everything possible, let’s face it. Imagine if you couldn’t move your hands around. How would you get anything done?
There are many different factors that influence shoulder pain and usually there are several things that may be preventing the shoulder from getting better when a full recovery is possible. When looking for a solution it is important to take all these things into account to get the best possible outcome.
What can a person do if they have shoulder pain and they do not want to take medication, shots, or even consider surgery? Maybe they have tried some of these options and not had the results they were hoping for and are now looking for other ways to move forward.
In this series of articles, we will post over the coming weeks, we will talk in detail about shoulder pain and some of its possible causes. I am also going to talk about things that affect the success of treatments, things you can do at home, and where the best place is to start if you want to fix your shoulder pain or how avoid pain in the first place.
In next week’s article, we will talk in detail about the most common causes of shoulder pain.
Do you have questions about Avala Physical Therapy or one of its programs? Call and schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Physical Therapist experts today at 985.801.6265.
Thanks for reading. I hope you found something useful in this week’s article. Check in next week for more tips and tricks on how to get healthy and stay that way.
Paul Jones, Director of Physical Therapy/Rehabilitation Services
Avala Physical Therapy