shoulder pain relief Aurora

Shoulder Pain Relief

Joseph B.
I was diagnosed, treated, and left pain free and with stretches to help with my shoulder recovery. Great care! Great staff!
I was headed to the park in my neighborhood. In preparation for crossing the street, I looked both ways, proceeded to cross the street, and out of nowhere, I was hit by a car. I was diagnosed with a dislocated left shoulder, whiplash, my entire right side and leg were bruised, and I had a back injury. I went from a pain level of 10 to a pain level of 2. Thank you Colorado Injury Treatment Center!

Does reaching up to the top closet shelf or opening an overhead kitchen cabinet feel like absolute torture? Do you find yourself looking for ways to avoid lifting your arm to shoulder height? If so, you’re probably struggling with some form of shoulder pain. Whether you injured your shoulder in a recent accident, you’re experiencing the side effects of over-training, or you’re simply facing age-related deterioration in this important part of the body, you may find that many abilities and motions you once took for granted have become impossible goals. But don’t give up on that aching shoulder just yet, because our physical therapist can provide safe, noninvasive therapies to help you regain pain-free range of motion.

What Is Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can take several forms, from a mild, nagging ache to a sharp, sudden pain every time you move your shoulder in a certain way. The shoulder itself is a more complex joint than the simple “ball and socket” you might imagine. In addition to the bones that come together to form the joint — including the clavicle, humerus and scapula — there are also the four major muscles and tendons that articulate the arm in its wide range of shoulder motion. The soft tissues are collectively known as the rotator cuff. The shoulderalso has antifriction components such as cartilage (which cushions the bone ends) and bursae (fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction between tissues). If any of these components sustain damage or deterioration, they can produce shoulder pain.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can stem from a number of different injuries and conditions. Your shoulder pain could be the result of:

  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis and Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: When the tendons of the rotator cuff rub against bones or become pinched, you may experience extreme pain and stiffness in your shoulder. Athletes or workers who constantly work their shoulders may develop these issues from chronic overuse.
  • Arthritis: Deterioration of the cartilage inside the shoulder joint can permit bone-on-bone friction, causing pain and inflammation.
  • Bursitis: While the bursae normally prevent friction-based inflammation in the shoulder, they can become pinched and inflamed in their own right. The resulting shoulder pain is called bursitis.
  • Frozen Shoulder: Adhesive capsulitis, aka frozen shoulder, usually develops in a shoulder that has been immobilized for a long time (as in a broken arm constrained by a cast for several weeks).
  • Dislocation: A strong-enough impact can knock the ball of the shoulder completely out of its socket. Once you’ve had a dislocated shoulder, you’re more likely to suffer the problem again.
  • Fracture: A broken clavicle, humerus or scapula can be extraordinarily painful until the bones have completely healed.

How Physical Therapy Helps Shoulder Pain

Physical therapy can play a key role in helping you rehabilitate an injured, ailing or otherwise painful shoulder. Your physical therapist first needs to figure out exactly what’s causing your pain. Range-of-motion testing can determine exactly what motions trigger your symptoms (or temporarily relieve those symptoms). Your age, baseline fitness, medical history, lifestyle, and other factors can help fill out the picture.

Once your physical therapist understands what’s going on in your shoulder, you’ll receive a comprehensive, personalized physical therapy plan. This plan may include such helpful therapeutic techniques as:

  • Exercises such as shoulder blade squeezes and shoulder rolls to combat arthritis-related shoulder pain
  • A combination of exercise and low-level laser therapy (LLLT), which has been found to ease frozen shoulder
  • Mobilization with movement (MWM), a physical manipulation technique that can treat shoulder impingement syndrome
  • Strengthening exercises to rehabilitate muscles that went unused while a shoulder fracture healed
  • Heat ice, taping, electrical stimulation, corrective exercises, lifestyle modifications and other methods to ease shoulder bursitis

The right course of physical therapy can help you get over acute shoulder pain or manage chronic shoulder pain without surgery. Get shoulder pain relief with physical therapy. Contact our Aurora, CO clinic today at to learn more and schedule an evaluation so we can take that uncomfortable burden off of your shoulders!


What is the best exercise for shoulder pain?

While there is no one-stop solution for shoulder pain, there are many exercises that can be done to help strengthen the rotator cuff region and ease the pain you are expereincing. Our physical therapists are highly trained to help improve the flexibility and range of motion in your shoulder, in addition to relieving your pain and discomfort. This will be done through an individualized treatment plan designed specifically for you, including therapeutic modalities and targeted pain-relief exercises. A couple common rotator cuff-strengthening exercises that physical therapists prescribe are wall push-ups and chair push-ups. Resistance bands can also be used to increase the strength in your shoulder and help relieve pain. However, it is important to note that if your pain is serious, these exercises should not be performed without the aid of a physical therapist.

How many types of shoulder pain exist?

When it comes to your upper extremities, injuries typically fall into two categories: acute or overuse. Acute injuries are caused by a single specific incident, such as a strain or tear. Overuse injuries are caused by excessive repetitive movements over time. Both acute and overuse injuries can range from mild to severe and can have a significant impact on daily life function. Shoulder pain can also be chronic, meaning it has persisted for 3 months or longer, despite efforts to relieve it. If you have been living with chronic shoulder pain, it is in your best interest to consult with a physical therapist as soon as possible, so they can get to the root of the problem and treat you accordingly.

Can physical therapy help shoulder pain?

Two of the biggest goals of physical therapy are 1) to alleviate your pain and 2) to improve your function. Your physical therapist will work with you to make sure that both of these are achieved throughout your physical therapy sessions. Physical therapy has been proven to manage the pain of several conditions, and in many cases, it has even been proven to eliminate shoulder pain altogether, thus making the need for harmful drugs or surgical intervention obsolete.

What are the causes of shoulder pain?

There are several underlying causes that could result in shoulder pain. For example, a sudden injury or trauma to the shoulders can cause them to become painful. Repetitive motions can also cause shoulder pain, as your muscles, joints, and tendons are working in overdrive. While there are multiple factors that could be causing your shoulder pain, some of the most common include sprains, strains, a torn cartilage, dislocation, frozen shoulder, tendinitis, and arthritis.