What are the Different Types of Shoulder Therapy?

D. Jeffress

An individual who has suffered a shoulder injury is usually required to undergo some type of therapy to regain his or her full range of motion, strengthen muscles and tendons, and prevent future problems. There are many different options for shoulder therapy that a physician might suggest to an ailing patient. Depending on the nature of an injury or operation, shoulder therapy may involve home remedies, such as applying ice and resting, engaging in moderate stretching exercises, taking prescription medications, or attending regular physical therapy sessions. With time and appropriate treatment, many people are able to recover from their injuries and enjoy pain-free, active lifestyles.

Physical therapy often is prescribed for damaged shoulder muscles.
Physical therapy often is prescribed for damaged shoulder muscles.

A mild shoulder injury, such as a strained tendon, dislocated joint, or bruise can usually be overcome by engaging in home remedies as suggested by a physician. Many doctors suggest that individuals with shoulder pain get plenty of rest and ice their shoulders to reduce swelling and pain. Some people benefit from heat wraps, supportive braces, bandages, and slings. In addition, a person may be instructed to take over-the-counter medications to reduce pain and inflammation and shorten overall healing time.

Over-the-counter medications may help relieve shoulder inflammation.
Over-the-counter medications may help relieve shoulder inflammation.

Physicians may instruct their patients to exercise their sore shoulders according to specific guidelines. A home shoulder therapy program may include regular light stretching, trying to increase the range of motion in small increments, and massaging the muscles. Many people are able to significantly reduce the time it takes to overcome an injury or surgical procedure by exercising and retraining their muscles through low-impact exercises.

Massage may be incorporated into shoulder therapy.
Massage may be incorporated into shoulder therapy.

A more severe shoulder injury, such as a torn ligament, damaged nerves, or a broken bone may require clinical shoulder therapy. A patient might need high-strength, prescription oral or intravenous medications to relieve pain and other symptoms. He or she may be fitted with a custom sling or cast to restrict movement while the shoulder heals. Regular doctor checkups and physical examinations are important to ensure that a patient's shoulder is healing correctly.

A shoulder sling helps restrict movement while a shoulder heals.
A shoulder sling helps restrict movement while a shoulder heals.

Once a patient is able to move his or her shoulder again, a physician might recommend rehabilitation therapy sessions. Licensed physical therapists are able to identify problems and design the best plans for shoulder therapy. Rehabilitation activities may involve stretching, light weightlifting, and swimming. Therapists usually work very close with their patients to prevent further injuries and analyze their progress. With the help of skilled physical therapists and knowledgeable doctors, patients are often able to overcome their problems and return to their normal levels of activity.

Licensed physical therapists are able to identify problems and design the best plans for shoulder therapy.
Licensed physical therapists are able to identify problems and design the best plans for shoulder therapy.

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