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Shoulder Pain


Renew_Physical_Therapy_PDX_Shoulder PainShoulder pain, dull or sharp; Stiffness or difficulty moving arm; Muscle soreness; Shoulder joint painless or painful noise (crepitus) with arm movement; Shoulder and/or arm pain with neck movement; Instability; Weakness; Numbness/Tingling in arm.


Shoulder pain commonly occurs from physical injury such as a throwing injury or fall, repetitive overuse such as in racquet sports or home improvement project, or sudden onset from sleeping awkwardly or no particular cause.  In the cases of gradual pain onset, frequently the presence of a mobility issue, muscle imbalance, or postural dysfunction predisposed the individual to developing the shoulder pain.  Local anatomical shoulder structures that cause shoulder pain include rotator cuff muscle(s) or tendon(s), labrum and joint capsule, acromioclavicular (AC) joint, sternoclavicular (SC) joint, brachial plexus, or bursa(e).  In some cases, one may experience referred pain into the shoulder and/or arm from a cervical spine or upper thoracic spine condition.

Related Conditions:

Osteoarthritis of glenohumeral, acromioclavicular, or sternoclavicular joint; Labral tear; SLAP tear; AC joint separation; Shoulder dislocation; Bankhart lesion; Subacromial impingement; Bursitis; Subacromial bursitis; Rotator cuff strain or tear; Adhesive Capsulitis (frozen shoulder); Brachial plexus neuropathy; Thoracic Outlet Syndrome; Cervical radiculopathy.

How Renew Physical Therapy Can Help: 

A thorough subjective evaluation and biomechanical examination must be completed at the time of each patient’s initial appointment for differential diagnosis and ruling out life-threatening conditions that can refer pain to the shoulder region.  The initial evaluation will include assessing existing diagnostic imaging, ie. x-rays, MRI, or determining whether further diagnostic imaging should be recommended to the patient’s referring physician.  The structural and mechanical cause of the patient’s symptoms will be established, and an appropriate individualized treatment program addressing this root cause will be designed.  We will utilize therapeutic modalities, ie. cold/heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. We will also use specialized massage, mobilization, and taping techniques, as well as therapeutic stretching/strengthening exercises to restore pain-free function.  Patient education is paramount in eliminating and preventing the return of symptoms, which will include an individualized home self-mobilization and exercise program as well as behavioral modification strategies.