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Our Top PT Methods for Treating Shoulder Pain

Struggling with nagging shoulder pain? If you’ve been grappling with a shoulder injury, you know the frustration it can bring. It’s one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints that physical therapists encounter. But what specific methods work when it comes to treating this complex area? Here are the top physical therapy (PT) approaches to treating shoulder pain, each designed to bring you comfort and restore your motion.

1. The Power of Manual Therapy

First on our list is a cornerstone of physical therapy: manual therapy. It involves hands-on mobilization or manipulation of your shoulder joints and soft tissues. Your physical therapy plan may include manipulative techniques to improve flexibility, relieve muscle tension, and promote proper “mechanics.” Whether you’re dealing with a rotator cuff injury or a frozen shoulder, the precision and skill of a manual therapist can help you make vast improvements in your pain levels and mobility.

2. Progressive Strengthening Exercises

A strong shoulder is a resilient shoulder. Our second approach is progressive strengthening exercises, which focus on gradually increasing the resistance and challenge to the shoulder muscles. Starting with simple motions, like lateral raises, and progressing to resistance band exercises, the goal is to build strength, which in turn helps stabilize the shoulder. It’s a critical milestone for anyone recovering from an injury or seeking to guard against future problems.

3. Postural Re-Education

Often, shoulder pain involves more than just the shoulder itself. A lot depends on how you hold your body throughout the day, and postural re-education can help.

Many people suffer from ‘desk posture,’ a common culprit for shoulder pain. Physical therapists educate patients on optimal alignment and provide exercises to strengthen core muscles, enabling you to carry your body in a way that supports, rather than stresses, your shoulders.

4. Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)

For some patients, especially those who are immobile or are in severe pain, traditional exercises may need a little kickstart. Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation, or NMES, can be a critical lifeline in these situations.

NMES involves placing electrodes on your skin, creating electrical impulses that stimulate the targeted muscle groups, mimicking the action potential that comes from the central nervous system. This can reduce muscle atrophy and pain, and improve range of motion, often making exercises more tolerable and effective.

5. Functional Movement Screening

Last but not least, we turn our focus to functional movement screening (FMS). FMS evaluates how well your body performs under a range of physical stresses through a series of movements. An in-depth assessment helps the physical therapist to identify compensations and weaknesses that may contribute to shoulder pain. Your therapist may include FMS in your personalized treatment plan, ensuring that the work you do in therapy translates to better function in your everyday life.

Take the First Step Toward a Pain-Free, Fully Functioning Shoulder

Recovering from shoulder pain is never a one-size-fits-all journey. At Impact Medical Group of St. Petersburg, we know every patient is unique and requires a personal treatment plan that’s tailored to your specific needs. If you’re ready to break free from shoulder pain, call us today at (727) 722-8103 to schedule your free medical evaluation.