Shoulder dysfunction is a condition we treat very often in the clinic. From the mountain biker that has a history of going of the handlebars to a rancher that uses a post hole digger on a regular basis. Our region has a large range of activities that challenge our joints and tissue. At the same time, folks that spend a majority of their time in a poor postural position in front of a computer or at a desk are predisposed to experience the onset of shoulder pain.
Among the most common non-traumatic problems we see is shoulder impingement. This is a scenario where the tip (acromion) of the shoulder blade (scapula) makes irritating contact with part of the rotator cuff. This often starts as a non painful catch or pop in the shoulder. This pop is a sign of microtrauma that when repeated over time leads to rotator cuff tears. As we age, the likelihood of us experiencing this scenario increases. The main symptom of shoulder impingement is pain with lifting your arm overhead.
Contributors to Shoulder Impingement:
The good news is that this problem is best addressed with conservative treatment. Occasionally, a physician will give a patient experiencing similar symptoms a steroid injection to decrease pain in order for the person to perform physical therapy. During this window of opportunity, a patient develops improved shoulder mechanics, postural control, and stability to reduce future shoulder impingement and subsequent rotator cuff damage. This scenario allows for a return to sports and activities and best prevents the need for a rotator cuff surgery down the road. Don't let a painful shoulder keep you from enjoying life. If you have any questions about this particular condition, feel free to give us a call.
Have a great week!
Michael D. Grajeda, PT, DPT
Most people would be surprised to learn that many orthopedic situations can be treated nonoperatively. Most people would be surprised to learn that outcomes are often times no better following surgical intervention than with conservative treatment such as Physical Therapy. How can this be the case when an MRI shows obvious tissue damage? MRIs and other imaging studies don't lie but they also do not tell you what is actually generating your pain. Most people will have spinal stenosis, rotator cuff tears, bulging discs, meniscal tears, and other signs of tissue damage on imaging. Some are symptomatic. Some are not. Pain is very complex and often involves more than just our physical body. So while we may be able to assume what may be causing pain, we are rarely certain.
At High Desert PT, we are more concerned with a persons' movement impairments and compensatory patterns that contribute to an overall presentation. We believe in addressing the functional problem to help establish long term improvement. This approach allows clients to have a better understanding of the extent of their condition prior to serious consideration of surgery.
Some people need surgery. Some do not. I would recommend everyone exhaust conservative options prior to any elective orthopedic surgery.
Do you have a question regarding orthopedic care? We are more than happy to discuss what conservative treatment may look like for you or a loved one.
Thank you for your time.
Have a great day!
Michael D. Grajeda, PT, DPT
We are excited to begin a blog featuring updates and news about our profession that everyone can benefit from. We started a clinic in the Cortez area in August 2018 to offer exceptional care to people in the Four Corners. We look forward to helping people reach their goals in a professional environment!
-Michael & Megan