Shoulder physical therapy can help reduce pain in your shoulder and the surrounding area. A good therapist will stretch and strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint, reducing pain and stiffness in your shoulder. You may also be prescribed some other physical therapy exercises as part of your treatment. Physical therapy is basically just an exercise regime that gently stretches and rehabilitates specific joints and muscles in your body. The exercises you can perform are usually gentle stretching, low-impact exercises designed to encourage increased blood flow to the affected area and to restore muscle strength and movement to a joint.
Your physical therapist will teach you how to perform exercises and stretches. It may take time for your injury to heal but after a few days of therapy, you should notice an improvement in your mobility. You can do everyday activities like tying your shoes, taking a shower and even sitting down without feeling pain or stiffness. And, because the therapy involves a small amount of time and work, it won’t cost you a lot of money.
Stretching – this is the main focus of shoulder physical therapy. You will be gently stretched to relieve tension in the muscles around the shoulder joint. When you stretch gently, you will loosen muscles that are tight, allowing easier movement of fluid movements which will decrease pain and stiffness and possibly return your pain to a more manageable level.
Strength Training – you will be put in a stretch position using your abdominal muscles. Then, your physical therapist may use their hands to gently squeeze the muscles of the upper back, upper arms and buttocks to strengthen them. You will then be forced to slowly move into an exercise that will mimic daily activities. These exercises are called stability movements. This will increase strength and range of movement in all the muscles of your body.
Exercises and stretches – these will help strengthen weak or damaged areas. They will also increase flexibility, endurance and muscle strength. Your physical therapist will tell you what exercises or stretches are best for your shoulder injury and which ones you should avoid. Be careful not to over-exert yourself, as this can aggravate your injury and cause it to become worse.
Your at-home exercises and progress – while still under the care of your physical therapist, you will continue your exercise program at home. Your therapist will send you progress pictures and post-treatment photographs of the exercises that you have done. This will help you see what changes have occurred. In addition, when you see what progress has been made, you will be encouraged to continue with the exercise program. It is important to remember, though, that while your shoulder physical therapy exercises are designed to increase flexibility, they should never be done at a faster pace than your injured arm can handle.
Stretching – another important part of any shoulder injury recovery plan is stretching. Stretching will help increase range-of-motion and flexibility. When you stretch, do it slowly and gently. Don’t do any sudden or quick movements. By taking your time, you will be able to gradually strengthen and increase range-of-motion in your injured shoulder pain.
If you follow the advice of your physical therapist and your stretching program, you will notice that after a few weeks your shoulder pain and discomfort may begin to improve. You may notice that your swelling has gone down. If not, continue with your stretching and exercise program. After all, if you are stretching, you are making progress toward a cure for your injured shoulder.