The shoulder is designed to be mobile. It is a ball and socket joint, which allows for a wide range of movements. A lack of this motion or faulty movement can develop into pain or injury. Many people with shoulder issues are surprised when they learn that many conditions, including rotator cuff injuries, can be treated conservatively.
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles. They originate from the scapula (backbone) and attach to the head of humerus (upper arm). Although they do assist with shoulder movement, the main job of the rotator cuff is to stabilize and control the joint. For this reason healthy tissue with optimal muscle balance is needed to keep the joint healthy and pain to a minimum.
When a painful shoulder presents to the office one of the most important components of the examination is to determine if it can be treated conservatively. This is done through a series of tests. If any red flags or concerns are present than further imaging or a referral is needed. Most often, shoulder conditions, including rotator cuff problems, can be treated conservative and respond very well.
Conservative treatment will often consist of multiple approaches. Soft tissue treatment is the most common hands-on method of treatment as muscle, tendon, or ligament dysfunction will be present. Active Release Technique is the gold standard in soft tissue treatment. Manipulation or mobilization to shoulder and other joints may also be needed in some cases. Other treatment considerations could include exercise, stretching, taping, or modifications to exercise or other activities currently being performed.
Shoulder diagnoses that often present to our office may include rotator dysfunction, sprain/strain, impingement syndrome, bursitis, frozen shoulder, and tendonitis.
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