Shoulder Pain in Kirkwood, MO. Those who suffer from shoulder pain know how hard it can be to manage. It can make everything from pouring a cup of coffee to making a breakaway layup frustrating and, sometimes, not even an option. But pain and limited shoulder movement is usually manageable and beatable with safe and effective treatment. At Axes PT in Kirkwood, MO, our licensed physical therapists create tailored treatment plans, backed by proven research, to get you back to optimal movement health. Allow us to safely and effectively treat your shoulder pain. Request an appointment through our website or call our location nearest you.
How Does the Shoulder Work? | Shoulder Pain in Kirkwood, MO
The shoulder is among human body’s largest and most complex joints. In actuality, what we call the shoulder joint is made up of four different joints:
- The glenohumeral (GH) joint is a ball and socket joint responsible for connecting the upper extremity to the trunk. Because the ball is 3-4 times larger than the socket, it allows for more movement than any other joint.
- The acromioclavicular (AC) joint connects the clavicle to the acromion, the bony tip on the outer edge of the scapula. A plane style synovial joint, it allows for additional rotation of the shoulder blade.
- The sternoclavicular (SC) joint is a gliding joint located where the clavicle meets the sternum at the base of the neck. This joint is where the arm and body meet, it links the movement of the upper limb with the core of your body.
- The scapulothoracic (ST) “joint” is not a true anatomical joint as it does not have ligaments connecting it to bone. It attaches and allows movement between the shoulder blade and the part of rib cage at the back of our bodies.
The shoulder is supported and surrounded by:
- the four muscles of the rotator cup that surround the head of the upper arm bone, which power movement and stabilize and protect the GH joint
- the shoulder capsule, a a fluid-filled sac that surrounds and lubricates the joints in the shoulder
- the ligaments of the shoulder which provide passive stability while still allowing for a wide range of movements
- the tendons in the biceps and shoulder which affix muscle to bone
- the brachial plexus nerves that allow the brain to tell the shoulder and arm to move and the shoulder to tell the brain when it feels pain or other sensory information
- the blood vessels that supply nutrient-rich blood to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons
Optimal shoulder and movement health depends on every part of the system being healthy and working together. Blood must be allowed to reach the shoulder keep oxygen levels and muscles strong and repair minor damage. The muscles strong enough to move and flexible enough to safely make those movements, the tendons attaching bone and muscle must be intact and strong, the ligaments that attach our bones need to be similarly healthy, and the brain and shoulder need to have clear communication with each other. When any of these functions are not being carried out in a healthy way, it can lead to a disruption of the entire complex, and anywhere from nagging to severe shoulder pain or loss of function. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain or any other symptoms of a shoulder injury, reach out to Axes’ physical therapists for a no-risk, no-obligation injury screening.
What’s Behind My Shoulder Pain?
As the shoulder is complex, shoulder pain can have any of a number of root causes, from sports injuries to a car accident, a work injury from overuse to our bodies just getting weaker as we get older. The following are common causes of shoulder pain that our physical and occupations therapists see in Kirkwood, MO:
- Bursitis — The bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion bones, tendons, and muscles in and around your shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and other joints. Bursitis the result of the bursae becoming irritated after overuse, often occurs at the same time as irritation of the rotator cuff, and can make basic activities like getting dressed tremendously difficult.
- Tendinitis — Tendinitis generally occurs because of a tendon becoming irritated. There are two causes of tendinitis:
- Acute: The result of a sudden blow, excessive throwing, or other overhead activities common in some competitive and activities and occupations, such as tennis or lifting and lowering boxes.
- Chronic: The result of degenerative conditions or the body becoming weaker as we age.
Symptoms include aching, tenderness, and mild swelling.
- Rotator Cuff Tear — These can also be caused by acute injuries, like lifting an incredibly heavy object, or wear and tear. They usually start with fraying and then tear. People often live with partial thickness tears obliviously. Complete tears, where the tendon is completely detached from the bone, do not heal by themselves. Associated symptoms are having difficulty raising your arm or lifting things you normally can, pain when sleeping, and a grinding sensation with specific movements.
- Shoulder Impingement — Impingement is the result of soft tissue rubbing against your shoulder blade. It often occurs in tandem with an injury that causes inflammation in the rotator cuff. Shoulder impingement occurs the most in people who are physically active.
- Shoulder Instability — This happens when the head of the upper arm bone is exits the shoulder socket, and also can be the result of injury or wear and tear. A dislocation can be partial, coming in and out of the socket, or complete when the bone completely comes out of the socket. It often causes or is the result of injury to the supporting soft tissue of the shoulder. Chronic instability will result in shoulder pain and a sense of the shoulder “giving way.”
- Arthritis — While arthritis refers to a range of diagnoses, osteoarthritis is the form that typically affects the shoulder. It is the result of the cartilage cushioning the ends of your bones weakens and wears away. Common causes include old age, frequent injuries, and wear and tear. There is no cure for arthritis, but you can find effective pain management techniques with Kirkwood, MO physical and occupational therapists.
- Shoulder Fractures — The humerus, collarbone, and scapula are the bones in the shoulder most prone to breaking. They usually happen as the result of falling a significant distance or onto a hard surface or high-impact collisions such as a car accident. The shoulder pain is immediate and obvious, and the shoulder will experience substantial swelling and bruising.
- Axillary Nerve Injuries or Brachial Plexus Injuries — Nerve damage in the shoulder can occur when nerves are stretched, when scar tissue interferes with signals between the brain and shoulder, or the nerves are otherwise damaged. These injuries can cause shoulder pain along with a range of other sensations. They are usually the result of a sudden blow but can also happen because of wear and tear.
Sometimes, injuries are intertwined, such as an impingement that leads to damage to the nerves. If you’re currently suffering from shoulder pain, one of our no-risk, free injury screenings in Kirkwood, MO may help determine why you’re experiencing the pain. If you’ve sustained a severe injury or have severe shoulder pain, a physician in Kirkwood, MO may use a physical examination, various imaging techniques, and/or arthroscopy to discover the cause. For most injuries or conditions that cause shoulder pain, a personalized treatment plan with professional physical therapists and movement health specialists in Kirkwood, MO can be a great way to return to optimal movement health.
How Do Kirkwood, MO Physical Therapists Treat Shoulder Pain?
Your personalized and evidence-backed physical therapy treatments may include:
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization to identify degenerative tissue, break down scar tissue, and treat the affected area
- Pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation, coordinated together with your surgeon, if your shoulder pain was caused by an injury that needed surgery to correct
- Kinesio Taping® to reduce pain and inflammation and keep you safe as you participate in physical activity or work while you are still recovering
- Blood flow restriction training to improve strength while reducing overall stress on the shoulder
- Trigger point dry needling to attack damaged soft tissue deeper in the body to encourage the body’s natural healing processes
- Posture correction to ensure you are not inadvertently causing your shoulder pain or heal improperly
- Injury prevention so you can keep participating in the activities you love
- Other safe, effective exercises to increase and maintain your mobility
Missouri Law requires a prescription for physical therapy, so it’s necessary to speak to your Kirkwood, MO primary care physician to see if physical therapy is rights for your shoulder pain. Our professional physical and occupational therapists work alongside your primary care physician to make sure you are getting the care that is safe for your condition.
Kirkwood, MO Shoulder Pain | Axes Physical Therapy
A well-functioning shoulder is important to not only carrying out daily tasks with ease, but to doing the things we love. At Axes, we focus on positive outcomes for our Kirkwood, MO clients by implementing evidence-backed treatment plans catered to your injury, pain level, age, and desired activity level. You do not have to delay in getting back to the things you love doing most and a pain-free life. Schedule an appointment through our website or reach out to the location most convenient for you.