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You Don’t Have to Live With Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is the third most common musculoskeletal complaint. In fact, its prevalence is such that maybe as much as 20% of the population suffers from it. Even though it may not affect your mobility in terms of walking, standing, or sitting, a limited range of motion or pain in the shoulders can severely impede your ability to safely turn the steering wheel when you drive a vehicle, open or close doors, even basics like putting on and taking off clothing. If you can’t reach or lift objects like you used to, this article will be of special interest to you.

There’s a lot going on in your shoulders. The National Institutes of Health goes so far as to name the shoulder joint as the most complicated in the human body. It’s also the most flexible, which indicates that a person really needs to rely upon it for a wide range of normal human activity. The problem with great flexibility and complexity is that this joint also is very prone to injury and dysfunction. Whether it’s related to the muscle, nerves, bursae, capsules, or cartilage, let’s look at a few possible causes of pain.

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that keep the head of the humerus, i.e. the upper arm bone, in the shoulder socket. Repetitive motions, particularly overhead, can cause a dull ache deep in the shoulder and make it difficult to reach your head or behind your back. Shoulder pain stemming from rotator cuff problems increases in likelihood with age.

A pinched nerve can occur when bone, disk protrusions, or swollen tissue puts pressure on spinal nerves extending to the neck and shoulder. Numbness, a feeling of “pins & needles,” pain, or discomfort can all be symptoms of nerve pain in the shoulder. A frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) can greatly limit a shoulder’s movement. It’s caused by the joint capsule containing ligaments becoming stiff, thick, and inflamed. Frozen shoulders are more common in women than men, especially those between the ages of 40 and 60. Bursitis and tendinitis are also inflammations of those respective tissues. They are commonly caused by stress from overuse.

When the cartilage breaks down over time or through injury, it allows bone to rub against bone. This condition is called osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Even though it’s an extremely common occurrence with increasing age, it isn’t necessarily a sentence to perpetual pain.

There are a few steps we can take to prevent or mitigate shoulder pain. Several common sense practices we can all employ to help avoid shoulder complications are:

  • Strengthen Your Shoulders

If the underlying structure of your shoulders are able to bear more weight, it obviously allows them to lift heavier objects with less likelihood of injury, as well as making it easier to lift things you were already accustomed to dealing with. Anyone new to physical training, or in need of special expertise due to having to work around existing pain or injuries will be greatly benefited by the knowledge a Licensed Physical Therapist can apply to their situation. Helping you move without pain is Dr. Mullis and team’s specialty.

  • Warm Up

If you know you’re about to engage in activity that could be difficult or injurious, plan to take a few moments to properly loosen up and warm your shoulder joints with a few safe, controlled movements.

  • Don’t Take Shortcuts

            Take the necessary extra few moments to use a stepstool, or to move yourself closer into a stronger position to move objects. Trying to save a little time by not setting up properly isn’t worth the risk of an injury that could leave you with a lot of lost time later.

  • Consult The Professionals

            The Licensed Physical Therapists and Assistants at Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida are conveniently located for the residents and visitors of Manatee and Sarasota Counties in Bradenton. Living with shoulder pain is not something you have to settle for; give us a call today at (941) 264-1414, email, or contact us online directly. We’re your non-surgical back and joint pain specialists!