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How to Relieve Shoulder Pain

If your shoulder is painful with certain motions or when you sleep, your rotator cuff could be giving you trouble. You need the strength and stability of your rotator cuff to help you complete all of your daily activities from brushing your hair and teeth, to lifting objects overhead, and even throwing a baseball.

The rotator cuff is the group of four muscles that surround your shoulder joint, guiding and controlling the way your shoulder moves. When the rotator cuff is weak or injured, poor shoulder movement occurs, causing inflammation and pain.

An injured rotator cuff is often the result of repetitive or forceful movements of the shoulder although it can occur as a result of a fall as well. It is one of the most common upper body injuries at any age. In fact, rotator cuff tears become a normal finding as people get older. Studies show that 30% of those under the age of 70, and 70% of those over age 80 have a rotator cuff tear.

Relieving shoulder pain for good

There is hope for relieving shoulder pain and it comes with proper motion and strengthening of the shoulder. The goal of treating a rotator cuff tear is not necessarily to heal the torn muscle or tendon. People can achieve pain relief and improve strength simply by relieving inflammation and restoring normal shoulder joint movement. This is accomplished with the right physical therapy and anti-inflammatory treatments, including medications, cortisone injections, and ice applications.

What you can do

Here are some simple tips for improving your shoulder pain

  • Rest and ice frequently. Ice for 10 minutes right on the shoulder joint, even if it aches in your mid arm area.
  • Sleep hugging a pillow. This helps to properly space the shoulder joint. Tuck the pillow deep in your underarm.
  • Stand with your back up against the wall and gently squeeze your shoulder blades back and together. Don’t shrug your shoulders. This will help retrain proper shoulder posture.
  • Avoid heavy lifting or carrying objects (such as a purse or groceries), and repetitive reaching up overhead with that arm. Reaching up for objects that even as light as a cup can irritate the rotator cuff.
  • If your pain doesn’t go away in 3-4 days, seek help from our physical therapists. The physical therapists at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center are experts at handling shoulder pain and rotator cuff injuries!

How Physical Therapy can help

The goal of physical therapy is to improve the strength, stability, and function of the muscles that surround the shoulder and to help improve the mobility of the joint itself. Physical therapy targets the smaller, but important muscles around the shoulder that are commonly neglected. By strengthening these muscles, physical therapy helps compensate for damaged tendons and improves the mechanics of the shoulder joint.

Our physical therapists perform gentle hands on therapy to restore proper shoulder motion and educate you on important techniques and exercises. They greatly accelerate shoulder pain relief and restore proper  stability and motion for long-term results. The vast majority of people who have a rotator cuff tear will not need surgical treatment and can be helped tremendously with physical therapy. Call us today – 703-450-4300 – to learn more about our shoulder program and how the physical therapists at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center can help relieve your pain!

If you currently aren’t having pain but know someone that we can help, please share this article and let them know how we can help them! “Don’t let pain limit you. We Care. We Listen. We Get RESULTS!”