Here’s how you know it’s a good idea to seek a physical therapist’s help for shoulder pain

Everyone will experience physical pain dozens of times in their life, from stubbing a toe on a table to falling on an uneven sidewalk. Since accidents happen, and we’ve all come to expect that we’ll experience pain at some point, it’s easy to shrug it off as no big deal when it occurs. However, it’s important to know when it’s time to seek the help of a professional to address and reduce your pain, such as a physical therapist.

Shoulder pain can occur from a variety of causes, from poor posture to a sports injury. It’s one of the most common orthopedic issues, with a prevalence rate of up to 26%. But even though shoulder pain is common, that doesn’t mean you should disregard the benefits of physical therapy. How do you know when it’s time to book your first appointment? That’s what we’re here to share.

We’ll talk about how you know it’s time to seek a physical therapist’s help for your shoulder pain. We’ll also talk about how they can help you and what to expect from your first appointment with Lattimore PT.

How to know you should see a physical therapist for your shoulder pain

Even though your health and wellness should always be a priority, it’s easy to get distracted by other responsibilities and make up reasons to get out of going to a health care professional for your shoulder. You could tell yourself, “It’ll go away on its own in a few days,” or “I’ll go when I have more time in my schedule.”

But the truth is that when your shoulder pain is interfering with your overall quality of life, then it’s time to seek help from a physical therapist.

Here are some indicators that it’s time to book an appointment with a physical therapist for shoulder pain:

  • The pain is persistent or worsening.
  • You’re having a reduced range of motion that’s impacting your daily tasks.
  • The pain is interfering with your lifestyle, such as being active or playing sports.
  • At-home care, such as ice or rest, isn’t alleviating the pain.
  • Your general practitioner is recommending physical therapy to you.

How a physical therapist can help your shoulder pain

Physical therapy is an effective course of action for shoulder pain because it helps you in multiple ways. Not only can it help to alleviate the pain, but it can also improve the health and quality of your shoulder to reduce the risk of future injuries and improve its overall function.

The benefits of seeking a physical therapist for shoulder pain include:

  • Pinpointing the likely cause of the shoulder pain.
  • Reduced shoulder pain.
  • Improved joint mobility and range of motion.
  • Increased strength and flexibility of surrounding muscles.
  • Decreased risk of future pain or injury.
  • Education about prevention methods.
  • Improved posture and gait.
  • Accelerated injury recovery.

Treatments often included in a personalized physical therapy plan for shoulder pain include:

  • Manual therapy — Hands-on techniques can help alleviate the tension in the soft tissue surrounding the shoulder joint to decrease pain and improve range of motion. Lattimore PT has 30 therapists who earned the Certification in Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (COMT), meaning that they are highly skilled in joint and soft tissue manipulation techniques. We’re the only clinic in the area that has one COMT in almost every location.
  • Therapeutic exercises — It’s important to exercise and stretch your shoulder muscles in a safe and effective way to alleviate your symptoms. Your physical therapist will walk you through targeted exercises that will strengthen the area’s muscles to improve support and stability for the joint. They’ll also show you stretches that will improve flexibility and reduce stiffness in the area.
  • Kinesiology taping — Many shoulder injuries require additional support throughout the recovery process to reduce the risk of worsening the symptoms or furthering the damage. Your physical therapist may use kinesiology tape, a type of flexible tape that improves circulation to the area to speed up recovery while adding support to the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.

What to expect when you book your first physical therapy appointment at Lattimore PT for your shoulder pain

We understand that it can be nerve-wracking to try physical therapy for the first time. That’s why we make sure that you’re well informed about the process beforehand so you can focus solely on improving your shoulder pain.

When you decide to seek Lattimore PT for your shoulder pain, you should bring your intake forms and insurance information to the first appointment, which will be your initial evaluation. It will last between 45 minutes and one hour. 

The first appointment with one of our physical therapists will involve:

  • Physical evaluation of your shoulder mobility and function.
  • Discussion of your condition, injury and/or symptoms.
  • Sharing your relevant medical history.
  • First treatment in your customized plan.

At Lattimore PT, we pride ourselves on our compassion and respect for patients while providing the highest level of care possible to alleviate your shoulder pain and restore its overall function.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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