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What therapy is best for shoulder pain?

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Shoulder pain, a prevalent issue across all age groups, often arises due to the remarkable mobility of the shoulder joint, rendering it susceptible to injuries. Identifying the root cause and adopting an appropriate treatment strategy is vital for successful recovery. 

Physical therapists specialize in diverse methods aimed at alleviating shoulder pain, restoring mobility, building strength, and preventing re-injury. 

Whether the pain is a result of injury, overuse, or a chronic condition, choosing the right therapy is paramount for effective pain management and rehabilitation. In Aurora, those seeking relief from shoulder pain can explore various therapeutic options, with Physical Therapy Advantage emerging as a distinguished and trusted resource for comprehensive care.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can stem from various causes, including rotator cuff injuries, often resulting from repetitive overhead motions or sudden accidents. Tendinitis, triggered by repeated shoulder movements, leads to inflammation and pain in tendons like the biceps, pectoralis, and supraspinatus. 

Osteoarthritis, linked to aging or wear-and-tear, and rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint pain and stiffness. Traumatic incidents may force the upper arm bone out of its socket, causing dislocations and acute pain. Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, involves joint capsule tightening, limiting motion, and causing persistent pain. 

Additionally, fractures in shoulder joint bones may necessitate surgical repair and immobilization for proper healing. Understanding the underlying issues is crucial for effective shoulder pain management.

Best Therapies for Shoulder Pain

The right therapy approach depends on the shoulder pain’s underlying cause, severity, and duration. A physical therapist will evaluate your condition and abilities to design a tailored treatment plan. Common components include:

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that aggravate shoulder pain allows time for early healing. Use a sling to immobilize the shoulder temporarily if very painful.
  • Ice/Heat Packs: Icing reduces inflammation and relieves pain, especially right after injuries. Heat packs can ease muscle tension and increase blood flow for recovery. Use whichever provides greater comfort.
  • Medication: Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can ease inflammation and pain. Stronger prescription medications may be prescribed for severe cases. Injections directly into the shoulder joint may provide temporary pain relief.
  • Stretching/Massage: Gentle shoulder and upper arm stretches, along with professional massages, loosen up tight musculature, putting pressure on the shoulder joint. However, avoid overstretching injured/inflamed tissues.
  • Strength Training: Once initial pain and inflammation have subsided, guided strength training helps regain muscle function and stabilizes the shoulder joint to prevent future injuries. This starts slowly with low weight/resistance.
  • Mobility Exercises: Motion exercises improve flexibility and range of motion in the shoulder joint. However, injured areas won’t be pushed too quickly to allow proper healing. 
  • Manual Mobilization: Hands-on techniques like joint and soft tissue mobilization performed by a physical therapist can help relieve stiffness and adhesion formations. Gentle joint manipulation can also unlock mobility.
  • Functional Retraining: Regaining the ability to perform daily tasks like brushing hair or reaching overhead without shoulder pain is the ultimate goal. Exercises focused on these real-life motions facilitate recovery.

The optimal treatment approach integrates the most suitable pain management, joint mobilization, stretching, strengthening, and functional retraining techniques tailored to each patient’s unique injury and needs. 

A customized Aurora Physical Therapy plan delivered under expert guidance provides the best chances for lasting shoulder pain relief and restoration of function. Proper at-home care between therapy sessions speeds up healing.

Common Options for Shoulder Pain Therapy

Medical doctors like orthopedists or sports medicine specialists may provide initial treatment recommendations and order imaging tests to determine the shoulder injury. 

However, they will often refer patients with anything beyond minor shoulder pain to physical therapy for the main rehabilitation process. There are two primary options to obtain Shoulder Therapy Aurora:

In-Clinic Therapy

One-on-one treatment sessions at a physical therapy clinic allow the therapist to design a customized program and continually monitor patient progress while adjusting as needed. The hands-on techniques and supervised exercises ensure proper form and prevent re-injury. Most patients attend therapy sessions 1-2 times per week over 6-12 weeks or longer for severe shoulder problems. Many clinics provide flexible scheduling options.

Telehealth Therapy 

Virtual physical therapy sessions have expanded access to expert shoulder treatment for those unable to easily attend regular in-clinic appointments. Patients perform suggested exercises at home while the therapist evaluates technique and form over video chat. However, the remote format limits the therapist’s ability to utilize hands-on joint mobilization and soft tissue techniques. At-home exercise performance depends more on patient motivation without direct supervision. In-clinic therapy remains preferable for most significant shoulder injuries.


Physical therapy is often considered the best initial treatment for common causes of shoulder pain such as impingement, tendinitis, bursitis, and minor strains or tears. An experienced physical therapist can provide customized therapeutic exercises, joint mobilization techniques, and functional retraining to resolve shoulder pain and restore mobility without drugs or surgery.

Physical Therapy Advantage in Aurora offers both in-clinic and online telehealth physical therapy for shoulder pain utilizing up-to-date, evidence-based techniques aimed at rapid pain relief and return to full shoulder function. Their expert physical therapists develop individualized treatment plans to reduce inflammation, improve joint mechanics, build strength, and prevent future injuries.

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