Physical Therapy for Shoulder Injury Prevention and Recovery
Author: Mark Neves, OTL, MS, HTC
From brushing your hair to throwing a fastball, the range of motion your
shoulder allows is pretty amazing. Comprised of the clavicle (collarbone),
scapula (shoulder blade) and humerus (upper arm bone), the shoulder is
one of the most complex and versatile joints in the human body. However,
because the ball portion of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder
socket, it’s also one of the most unstable.
Injuries of the shoulders and upper extremities are incredibly common and
can affect anyone at any age. Ranging in severity from simple strains
from overuse to cartilage degradation from osteoarthritis, the effect
shoulder injuries can have on one’s quality of life can be significant.
Physical therapy is a valuable tool for preventing further injury, combatting
the progression of chronic shoulder conditions, and alleviating pain symptoms.
Should surgery become necessary, it can also prove beneficial for patients’
post-operative recovery and rehabilitation.
Every shoulder injury is unique, but a variety of common injuries share
similar causes. Minor complications like
tendinitis and frozen shoulder often result from repetitive activity or strain caused
by atypical use. Many of these injuries can be avoided with routine muscle
conditioning and flexibility exercises. Working to improve posture and
balance can also help patients reduce unnecessary muscle strain and avoid
certain shoulder complications.
Physical or occupational therapists work with patients to alleviate pain
symptoms while increasing their range of motion. Therapists may also focus
on compensatory muscle strengthening, which supports the muscles surrounding
an injured or weakened muscle in order to relieve strain. This technique
is used to prevent further injury and can even help patients avoid surgery
in some cases.
Even for more serious issues, like fractures, muscle tears, or rotator
cuff injuries, manual therapies can be used to improve mobility, rebuild
strength, and restore function in the affected area. After undergoing
shoulder replacement or other surgical interventions, physical therapy
is known to make an incredible difference in patient
recovery and rehabilitation. Working with a therapist after their procedure will help patients monitor
their progress, manage pain and inflammation, and maximize their overall recovery.
Regardless of their condition or rehabilitation objectives, physical rehabilitation
therapy truly optimizes a patient’s healing potential when they
are willing to work
with their therapists. It’s important for patients to take ownership
of their progress, and to view the relationship with their therapist as
a partnership between two people who share the same goal: recovery.
Where to Start
There is no condition that’s too big or too small to benefit from
physical therapy. At Washington Hospital, physical therapists, skilled
staff members, and specialized orthopedic surgeons work together in order
patient experience and improve recovery outcomes for a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions.
Washington Hospital also offers a variety of educational resources and
strength training programs to support physical fitness and increased strength for all patients.
dedicated team at the Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center guides patients through
every stage of their pre- and post-operative care and recovery. Visit
whhs.com to explore our therapeutic care offerings or to learn more about the
Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center.
Posted March, 2020