The shoulder is a complex, movable joint involved in most sports that include motions like swinging, passing, throwing and shooting (as in basketball) and many physical work activities from pushing a lawnmower to shoveling snow. There are all kinds of activities, work and play, that may lead to shoulder pain.
You don’t have to be all that active to find yourself nursing a painful shoulder. There are several injuries or ailments that develop while you sleep, and the shoulder is one of the most susceptible to the strain and pain that may develop over days, months and years when you think you’re safe and sound while sleeping. Injury may occur from merely sleeping on your side, your upper body weight compressing an immobile shoulder. Even just resting your head atop your shoulder like an intermediary pillow night after night, may result in pain and strain when you compile hundreds, even thousands, of hours of what should be rest and rehabilitation.
It may also contribute to rotator cuff tendonitis or bursitis, worsening it to the point that you can barely lift your arm to shoulder level. It is caused by the tendons that contribute to the mobility and strength of the shoulder trapped under the bony area in the joint.
Physical therapy is a favored approach to easing the pain and recovering mobility. If one of the rotator muscles is torn and/or severely strained, many physicians and surgeons prescribe physical therapy.
Much shoulder damage is cumulative, so aging is a contributing factor for what is considered a lifestyle ailment. It is safe to say that most shoulder injuries occur suddenly due to an accident such as a fall, while roughhousing or when involved in sports or otherwise healthful physical activity.
A typical symptom of injury to one or more of these stabilizing muscles between the arm and shoulder is pain when twisting the arm or raising it upward. The most debilitating is what is known as a frozen shoulder, the result of muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the shoulder stiffening, making movement difficult and painful. These symptoms can be averted or alleviated by physical therapy.
While it is true that some shoulder injuries may require surgery, physical therapy is commonly prescribed by orthopedic surgeons before surgery as a boost to postoperative healing. It is then resumed after surgery.