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Treating Shoulder Pain

Mar 27, 2022 | Rehabilitation

Shoulder pain can disrupt a person’s life. It interferes with reaching, lifting, carrying, sleeping and many other everyday tasks. Shoulder pain might be stemming from an issue in the shoulder itself, or it might be referred from the neck. An evaluation with a physician or therapist at iSpine Clinics can help you to determine the root of the problem. Imaging of the neck or shoulder might be needed, but typically a thorough history and various provocative tests can help point to the root of the problem. Our physicians and therapists are trained to differentiate and determine the root cause of the shoulder pain, often without the need for costly X-rays and MRI studies. This saves the patient time, money and unnecessary exposure to radiation when therapy is all that may be indicated at the time. X-rays and MRIs may be ordered if an individual is considering injections or surgical procedures.

shoulder pain illustration

Often, people have been told they have trouble with their rotator cuff and may be inclined to guard or protect the shoulder because it hurts to move it. Rotator cuff is a term given to represent four muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) that work together to stabilize and support shoulder motion. Avoidance of shoulder movement might make it feel better, but often leads to more stiffness and weakness from disuse. This can become a bad cycle, as it changes how a person completes their everyday activities. Fear of making a problem worse or causing further “damage” can lead to disuse. The person might think, “If I rest it, it will heal and feel better.” Unfortunately, prolonged disuse can lead to frozen-shoulder type symptoms.

The Role of Rehabilitation & Therapy Care

At iSpine, our therapists perform a thorough evaluation to determine which muscles are tight and then teach the patient how to properly stretch and release. Our therapists also identify areas of weakness and postural issues that might be limiting function. Sitting and standing slouched can crowd the shoulder area, making arm movements painful when a person reaches.

Patients are also instructed in pain management techniques, which are a crucial part of therapy and can be very empowering for the patient. The definition of pain is important. Pain should be defined as sharp, pinching, stabbing, or cramping. Patients should know that aching, burning and stiffness are generally okay to work through. Limiting exercise to a patient’s pain-free range of motion will help to increase strength and mobility without causing increased symptoms. In addition, learning to pace activities, stress management, breathing exercises, hydration, nutrition, and cardiovascular exercise all play a role in symptom management.

Participating in household, work and recreational activities are important for both our physical and emotional quality of life. Don’t wait for shoulder pain to go away on its own. At iSpine our therapists will help you to improve your mobility, strength, knowledge of ergonomics/symptom management and involvement in life!


If you would like to consider iSpine Rehab Clinics for your rehabilitation or physical therapy needs, call (763) 299-6974 today or fill out our form to schedule a consultation.