For those who work in the sports and construction industries, shoulder pain is a constant concern. As any good physical therapist in NEPA can tell you, though, athletes and laborers aren’t the only people who should make it a point to take care of their shoulders. The shoulder is one of our most important body parts, enabling us to do many everyday tasks such as pushing, pulling, and lifting. 

This article will examine how the shoulder works, what conditions may inhibit it, and how a person can modify their regular exercise routine to take care of this surprisingly complex body part.

Anatomy of a Shoulder

The shoulder consists of two joints, the acromioclavicular joint, and the glenohumeral joint. The former is where a part of the scapula called the acromion meets your collarbone. The latter is where the ball and the socket of your arm meet.

The rotator cuff connects the humerus to the scapula and is made up of four muscles’ tendons. These four muscles are known as the teres minor, subscapularis, supraspinatus, and infraspinatus.

Symptoms of Shoulder Pain

Conditions that affect the shoulders can manifest with several different symptoms. Some of these include feelings of stiffness, numbness, tingling, and sharp pain. Arm weakness can develop as pain radiates from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm. Baseball and tennis players commonly experience this sharp pain from repetitive throwing and swinging of their arms, but non-athletes can also develop painful shoulder conditions.

Here are several shoulder conditions you should know about:

  • Rotator cuff tear– This condition happens when a tear occurs in the tissues connecting the tendons around the shoulder joint. People who repeatedly mobilize their shoulders in the same motions often experience this condition.
  • Frozen shoulder– Feelings of stiffness and pain start to exist in this condition. People who don’t move their shoulders often enough tend to suffer from this condition.  Diabetics may also develop frozen shoulders.
  • Shoulder tendonitis– The tissues connecting the muscles and bones in the shoulder start to swell during this condition. The symptoms involved in a shoulder tendonitis condition are a dull ache and stiffness around the shoulder joint.
  • Shoulder bursitis– The bursa in the shoulder becomes inflamed in this condition. This inflammation causes pain and sometimes redness and swelling in the area.

Luckily, there are helpful solutions for all of these shoulder conditions. Health professionals have found that physical therapy helps alleviate frozen shoulder and other conditions very effectively. You can also implement many different exercise modifications during your home workouts to increase flexibility and mobility and decrease discomfort.

Exercise Modifications you can Implement

Incorporating different exercise techniques is critical to relieving muscle imbalance and strengthening supporting muscles. Likewise, proper posture is vital when engaging in shoulder-friendly exercises. For anyone looking for strength-training exercises, try these following movements:

  • Abduction– Moving your arm away from the body.
  • Elevation– Moving your shoulders upward.
  • Extension– Movement of your arms straight behind you.
  • Flexion– Movement of arms from your side to above your head.
  • Scapular retraction– Moving your shoulder blades in towards each other.

Another technique to treat shoulder ailments is known as the postural exercise cervical spine retraction. This McKenzie exercise, which is also effective at treating neck pain, involves pulling the head and neck posteriorly into a position where the head is aligned more directly over the thorax.

Still, the most effective way of treating shoulder pain by far is with professional physical therapy. At Cawley Physical Therapy, our experienced, knowledgeable staff is committed to providing each patient with the right treatment for their unique needs, from strengthening and stretching techniques to improving postural awareness. 

Cawley PT’s sports injury physical therapists in NEPA are highly skilled in alleviating your shoulder pain.  For more information on our services, please contact us at (570) 208-2787.