Shoulder Pain in Happy Valley

Shoulder Impingement

An estimated one out of three people will suffer from pain in their shoulder that limits their participation in activities at some point in their lives. One of the most common mechanisms for onset of shoulder pain is related to a mechanical phenomenon known as impingement. Let’s take a deeper look at what that means and how we’re able to help you get rid of it!

What is shoulder impingement –

  • Leading contributor of shoulder pain
  • Grinding and mechanical irritation/inflammation of shoulder tissues
    • rotator cuff musculatures
    • subacromial bursa
    • proximal biceps tendon
  • May lead to degenerative tears in the rotator cuff

Shoulder Structure

Our shoulders are the most mobile joints in our bodies and hence, require the most stability and finesse of control. Comparing the difference between our elbows, which basically hinge back and forth, to our shoulders, which are capable of multiplanar degrees of freedom, the risk of the train coming off the track are more obvious. Let’s take a brief moment and summarize a simplified view of our shoulders.

  • Basic structure and mechanics:
    • Acromioclavicular joint (collar bone and scapula)
    • Scapulothoracic joint (scapula against rib cage)
    • Glenohumeral joint (ball and socket)

For you to lift your hands above your head, all three of these joints must work cohesively in specific timing sequences and contributions. If even one of these joints is not working properly, increased strain will occur throughout the others, including the muscles themselves. Identifying where your problem is coming from is critical in fixing and preventing further symptoms. Only treating symptoms and not addressing the underlying problem will only lead to temporary relief with return of symptoms.

3 Core Components of Shoulder Rehabilitation:

  • FLEXIBILITY – How far can you move?
    • Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joint need to be able to move through their full potential range of motion in appropriate amounts. If something is too flexible, or hypermobile, it could lead to excess strain. Likewise, if something is too stiff, it can lead to excessive loading of support structures.
  • STABILITY – How strong are you?
    • Your shoulder is arguably the least stable joint in your body. This is great for allowing us a huge amount of motion, but can set us up for injury during high intensity loading or movements such as during sports or falling with your hand reaching out. Does your shoulder “pop out” sometimes while you’re moving? That is not normal and should be avoided to minimize long term damage to the joint and musculature.
  • CONTROL – How well do you move?
    • The three shoulder joints must move harmoniously to facilitate pain free shoulder function and performance. Retraining the component pieces individually and then integrating them together for a seamless finish leads to restored abilities while eliminating symptoms. Does your shoulder “wing” when you lift your arms? This is an example of a motor control dysfunction that can be corrected with prescriptive exercises. 

Get help!

If shoulder pain has been interfering with your life, call us today to get started on a plan of care that works for you. Ascent Physical Therapy is conveniently located off Sunnyside Road in Happy Valley. We also love treating our neighboring communities of Damascus, Gresham, Clackamas, and Sandy at our top rated physical therapy clinic!