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shoulder pain

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is what is called a “ball and socket” joint.  This design allows for great mobility but at the same time significant instability.  The ball (humeral head) is held in the socket (glenoid fossa) by cartilage, ligaments, and muscles.  The muscles are the moving force of the shoulder and thus do not always do a great job of providing stability to the highly unstable joint.

During periods of repetitive activity or significant stress, the supporting structures (ligaments, muscles, cartilage (labrum) often times become strained and eventually breakdown.  These stresses and strains generally manifest themselves through pain and loss of mobility.  Examples of these include:

  • Rotator cuff impingement / tendonitis
  • Rotator cuff tears and breakdown
  • labral tears and breakdown
  • bone spurs
  • subluxations (partial dislocations)
  • biceps tendonitis
  • arthritis / joint degeneration
  • adhesive capsulitis
  • all other shoulder conditions

If untreated, or not properly treated, these conditions can lead to adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), tears requiring surgery, dislocations, etc.  Given the proper treatment, it is possible to restore normal mobility, stability, and mechanics of the shoulder joint.

Most shoulder conditions are the result of mechanical insufficiencies generally related to lack of muscle length (tightness) and poor muscle strength balances and overall force production.  Typically a person with a shoulder condition has overall good strength of the arm and shoulder but does not have the right balance of strength of the muscles around the shoulder.  It is these muscle imbalances that when coupled with our normal day to day use of the arm lead to the breakdown and wear and tear noted above.

The therapists at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center have the full centered knowledge of how to evaluate the shoulder with all aspects.  Most importantly, we assess the mechanical deficiency along with the loss of mobility, function, and strength.  While all therapists are able to assess range of motion, strength, and pain levels, it takes additional training and skills to assess the mechanical deficiencies.  This is what sets the Therapists at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center apart from those at other facilities.  Once we have conducted a full evaluation we are able to establish a comprehensive treatment plan to address not only the symptoms (as traditional therapy does) but the cause of the deficiency as well.  In the event that the patient has undergone surgery we are able to incorporate these aspects into their post operative treatment as well, thus enhancing the full recovery process and significantly reducing the risk of any future issues with the joint.