Where Is Your Pain?

Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is a multi-joint structure with a complex system of movement allowing for a wide range of motion. Shoulder dysfunction due to pain or injury can have a major effect on everyday normal activities, and when something goes wrong, our expert Physical Therapists are here to help analyze the causes and create a strategy to restore normal function again.

Due to the many structures of the shoulder girdle and complex movement systems, there are many different types of injuries that can occur and affect your ability to live life normally. A few of the more common conditions our clinicians have expertise in include:

Rotator Cuff Tears

Made up of 4 muscles that attach to the shoulder blade and extend out to the top of the humerus bone (upper arm bone), the rotator cuff is responsible for keeping the bones in good alignment while other larger muscles move the arm through space

Most rotator cuff tears occur from excessive repetition of the same should motion over time, however, other causes include falls, athletic injury, dislocation, and heavy lifting.

Symptoms include shoulder pain(can radiate to the upper arm), weakness, and impaired range of motion. Many rotator cuff tears can be successfully treated with a comprehensive physical therapy program, however, larger tears may require surgery. Our physical therapists will work closely with your doctor to help determine the severity of your injury and decide on the best course of action.

Post Surgical Rehabilitation

MBSSPT physical therapists are highly trained in the rehabilitation of many post-surgical shoulder conditions including rotator cuff repairs, total shoulder replacements, and decompression surgeries. We work closely with your surgeon to ensure optimal outcome following surgery.


Tendonitis is an inflammation of the shoulder tendons. The signs of inflammation are pain, warmth, redness, tenderness to touch, and loss of function. Shoulder tendonitis (often called Rotator Cuff Tendonitis) can occur when the rotator cuff is overloaded, fatigued, traumatized, and with age-related degenerative changes. Bursitis is similar in nature but one differentiating factor tends to be more pain at rest with bursitis, especially at night.

Treatment for rotator cuff tendonitis usually involves rest, anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen in the acute stages, and physical therapy to restore proper strength and movement. It is critical through the rehabilitation process to identify causing factors to avoid symptoms returning once normal activities are resumed again.

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Frozen shoulder is a condition involving the tightening of the joint capsule causing pain in the shoulder and significant stiffness. This can be caused by immobility due to another injury however, a form of Frozen shoulder, (Adhesive Capsulitis) can come on gradually without an apparent cause. Adhesive capsulitis has three phases

  • Freezing Phase: movement cause pain, range of motion is gradually lost, and attempts to increase motion often cause more symptoms
  • Frozen Phase: Pain lessens but significant limitations in shoulder mobility have now set in.
  • Thawing Phase: Movement begins to improve and pain is a minimal issue typically.

During your physical therapy evaluation, your therapist will determine what phase you are in to be able to implement an effective program to speed up your return to normal mobility, strength, and function.

Our expert therapists are adept at identifying the root cause of your symptoms through a comprehensive evaluation and establishing a treatment plan that will quickly and effectively help you to resolve your symptoms and return to the activities most important to you. You will be active in your recovery and will be given the knowledge and techniques to help prevent future occurrences. If you are experiencing any of these problems, give us a call today to find out how we can help you get back to living pain-free again!


No pain no gain…right? (hint…the answer is NO)

One of the most common things we hear from patients is the phrase “No pain no gain, right?” Unfortunately, that concept is what causes many of our clients to end up in our office with an injury in the first place. We encourage clients to listen to their bodies, and when something doesn’t feel right, have it looked at before doing un-necessary damage. Whether it’s working out on your own to get fit for the summer, or rehabbing an injury, you need to absolutely clear what is normal discomfort from muscle fatigue and what is abnormal discomfort from tissue damage…and that’s one of the ways we help. The most important role we play is educating our patients about their own bodies, how to manage activities to minimize symptoms, and the correct ways to move.

Can I just get an injection to fix my problem?

While cortisone injections can play a vital role in some instances when recovering from a shoulder condition, it is important to realize that if the underlying cause of the condition is not addressed through a proper strengthening and mobility program, cortisone will only have a temporary effect and more than likely your symptoms will return. Many conditions including tendonitis, bursitis, rotator cuff tears, and impingement can be managed without needing cortisone. We work closely with your physician and will make recommendations when we feel it may be appropriate, but this ultimately is a decision for your doctor to determine if you are a candidate for an injection.