chest stretching

Shoulder Pain

We never really think about how much we use our shoulders in daily life until we experience shoulder pain. Your day is probably filled with reaching, lifting, stretching, picking things up and other activities that involve your shoulders. As a result, shoulder pain can reduce your quality of life in a big way. Almost every type of shoulder pain can be alleviated and treated with rehabilitation. If you’re living with severe shoulder pain, don’t hesitate to give us a call and schedule a consultation.

What is Shoulder Pain?

“Shoulder pain” is really just a generic term for something that makes your shoulder area hurt. The shoulder is a complicated ball and socket joint that includes your collarbone (clavicle), your upper arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade itself (scapula). The shoulder has ligaments and muscles attached to it from your back, chest, and arm. An injury or debilitating condition to any of those attachments, bones, ligaments or muscles can lead to “shoulder pain.”

The only question is, how serious is the pain? Some types of shoulder pain are so severe that it can completely restrict your movement — for months at a time. If it is an ongoing pain that doesn’t seem to be getting better, you should seriously consider treatment for pain relief and to help you recover.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Here’s a closer look at the different causes and types of shoulder pain:

  • Fracture: A shoulder fracture usually happens as a result of a sudden trauma, such as a car accident or a collision during a sporting event. Any or all three of the bones that meet at the shoulder joint can be impacted (collarbone, scapula, and humerus). The most common cause of a shoulder fracture is simply falling and catching yourself on one hand — like football players do every single day!
  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: The four main muscles that allow you to move your shoulder make up the rotator cuff. These muscles help hold the ball of the humerus in your shoulder socket while you move your arm. The tendons from these muscles attach to each other underneath the shoulder blade. If one of those attachments gets pinched due to an injury the result is tendonitis (and sometimes very intense shoulder pain).
  • Bursitis: We all have fluid-filled sacs in our bodies that help certain structures glide over each other. These sacs are called bursa, and one of them sits between the shoulder blade and the arm bone. If the bursa gets pinched, it leads to shoulder bursitis.
  • Frozen Shoulder: The technical name for a frozen shoulder is adhesive capsulitis. This condition comes on slowly and it cannot be identified with an X-ray or MRI. Eventually, the use of the shoulder becomes so severely restricted that it becomes too painful for everyday activities, such as reaching into your back pocket or putting on a belt. It’s believed that a buildup of scar tissue in the shoulder muscles could be one of the causes of this mysterious and painful condition.

Treatment for Shoulder Pain

We will start the process of dealing with your shoulder pain by evaluating it. You’ll be asked questions about the cause of the pain, how severe it is, what makes it worse and whether anything makes it feel better. The therapist will conduct some tests to determine the range of motion in your shoulder and test its strength.

Depending on the cause of your shoulder pain, we will begin a recommended course of treatment to improve your range of motion and start the healing process. This can involve pain management, such as identifying painful motions or activities and figuring out ways to avoid those. Your treatment will likely involve manual therapy, such as soft tissue massage, as well as range-of-motion exercises to help improve the function of your shoulder muscles and ligaments. Strengthening exercises may or may not be a part of your treatment, depending on the diagnosis. It’s important that you follow our advice, so you can properly heal.

If you’re suffering from shoulder pain as a result of an injury, call us today at Norcross & Peachtree Corners, GA centers to schedule an appointment because our therapist provides effective shoulder pain relief treatment. We’ll get you back on the path to healing as quickly as possible!


What is the most common shoulder injury?

Sprains and strains are among the most commonly experienced overuse injuries in the shoulder area. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched too far or torn. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched too far or torn. Strains and sprains can result in an ongoing shoulder pain that may make it difficult to partake in exercise or even daily tasks. If the strain or sprain is minor, it can sometimes be iced at home and healed with rest. More severe strains and sprains will often require physical therapy treatments. Additional shoulder injuries include a torn cartilage, dislocation, tendinitis, frozen shoulder, and arthritis.

How do you know if my shoulder injury is serious?

Your shoulders can accomplish several physical feats due to their structure – however, this also means that they are susceptible to an increased risk of injury because of their complexity. If something becomes damaged in the make-up of the shoulders, pain and discomfort can develop. This pain may range from a dull ache to shooting pains, depending on the severity of the condition. If you are experiencing severe pain, or pain lasting three months or longer, it could be indicative of a deeper issue.

How do I get my shoulder to stop hurting?

If your shoulder is causing you discomfort, physical therapy is the best way to ensure the highest rate of relief. Our physical therapists are highly trained to help improve the flexibility and range of motion in your shoulder, in addition to relieving your pain and discomfort. This will be done through an individualized treatment plan designed specifically for you, and may include any combination of treatment methods as your physical therapist deems fit, including manual therapy, ice and heat therapies, electrical nerve stimulation, or ultrasound. Your physical therapist will also prescribe targeted exercises and stretches to help regain your optimal shoulder function.

How can physical therapy help with shoulder pain?

Two of the biggest goals of physical therapy are 1) to alleviate your pain and 2) to improve your function. Your physical therapist will work with you to make sure that both of these are achieved throughout your physical therapy sessions. Physical therapy has been proven to manage the pain of several conditions, and in many cases, it has even been proven to eliminate shoulder pain altogether, thus making the need for harmful drugs or surgical intervention obsolete.