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  • Dr. Colton Adkins, PT

Unlocking Shoulder Pain with Physical Therapy

Shoulder pain. A lot of people experience it. A lot of people live with it. Unfortunately, a lot of people believe they are stuck with it, but the reality is that this is just not the case.

Shoulder pain can be interesting. It can present itself in a lot of different ways. Some can feel pain in the shoulder itself. Others can feel it in the nagging sore spot on the top of the shoulder blade where people say they keep their “tension”. It can radiate into your elbow/hand or the middle of your back. It can even cause pains that radiate up the back of the neck and to the base of the skull and cause tightness and headaches. Shoulder pain can be difficult to pinpoint. This can make it difficult for someone to even realize that they have shoulder pain in the first place. Most of the time, however, it is the shoulder that is root of the problem.

Shoulder pain can be sneaky. Most of my shoulder pain patients have no mechanism of injury. No fall or trauma that started the event. Oddly enough most people just wake up one day and start to begin feeling some of the symptoms above. The next thing they know is that it is now 6 months later, and the pain is still there and getting worse! So much for “resting” it like most try to do. Like other pains in the body this general rule applies: If it has not gone away in a month… go see your Physical Therapist. The shoulder is no different. The sooner you get to physical therapy, the easier it is for me to get you feeling better.

Shoulder pain can be odd. To make things more confusing is that most of the time I see shoulder pain appear on patient’s non dominant side (usually the left). This is especially true with that nagging “tension” spot at the top of the shoulder. This makes things even less obvious because they use this side much less than the dominant side! Even more reason to just “rest” it. Correct?... Wrong answer.

Shoulder pain is easy! My favorite body part to treat is the shoulder. Why? Because most every patient gets better. It just takes time. Every case is a little bit different. Every person has been dealing with it for different time periods. But if you come to therapy regularly and are motivated to work on it at home during the process, shoulder pain gets better. It just does. No longer do you have to deal with that nagging shoulder pain that bothers you when you sleep (very common). No longer do you have to just “deal with it” and inevitably think you are going to have to have a shoulder surgery. It’s much easier (and less expensive than surgery) to deal with it now than later.

If you or anyone else you know is experiencing shoulder or other pains, send them my way. They will thank you (or yourself) later.


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