If you are experiencing pain in your shoulders or upper back, you may have a decreasing shoulder mobility range. When your doctor diagnoses you with this, your mind may whirl with questions. Getting answers to the questions you have will help you to better understand your condition, how it will affect your life, and what can be done to improve it. Here are three frequently asked questions about shoulder mobility.
Why Should I Be Concerned about Shoulder Mobility?
When you are diagnosed with decreasing shoulder mobility, you may wonder what this means and why it should concern you. Your shoulder mobility is basically the range in which your shoulders can move and how much weight they can push, pull, and lift. When you go to lift items, you are using your shoulder mobility. If you lose shoulder mobility, you are losing strength in your shoulders. This can limit the amount of weight you can carry or lift. This may also limit the activities you partake in. You should be concerned about shoulder mobility because if you overexert yourself, your shoulders can get tight and cause you pain. This pain can extend down your back. So if you once could lift 100 pounds and your shoulder mobility has decreased, you may attempt to lift the same amount only to cause yourself pain.
How Is Shoulder Mobility Lost?
Now that you know what shoulder mobility is, you may be wondering how it is lost or decreases. Here are three common ways shoulder mobility is lost.
If you injure your shoulder, or any of the muscles or tendons around the shoulder, you may lose shoulder mobility. Sometimes this is a temporary loss until your injury recovers. Other times, you never fully heal and your mobility loss is permanent.
As you age, your range of motion naturally decreases. This is because your joint surfaces lose some of their smoothness, which causes problems. There are ways to combat this, such as eating right and living a healthy lifestyle, but in general, age can be a cause of shoulder mobility loss.
- Reduction in Use or Overuse
If you commonly work out your shoulder muscles and then you stop doing so, you will notice your shoulder mobility will lessen as you aren’t using those muscles any longer. You can also lose shoulder mobility if you overuse these areas, as you cause the joint surface to weaken and lose smoothness and cause the cartilage to wear down.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Me Regain Shoulder Mobility?
If you are beginning to experience a decline in your shoulder mobility, either due to an injury or aging, physical therapy can help you regain some of your shoulder mobility. A physical therapist will do an evaluation and see how much shoulder mobility you have. You may have more shoulder mobility with your shoulders extended above your head or when your shoulders are tucked forward. The therapist will also conduct a range of motion test, determining how far you can move and roll your shoulders before experiencing pain. Once they have an idea as to your shoulder mobility, they will put together a plan that will help you regain muscle and mobility through stretches and exercises. The exact exercises are tailored to your injuries, but some common physical therapy exercises that work the shoulder area include unilateral chest openers, triceps stretch, and arm swings. The physical therapist will work with you in their office, but will also send you home with exercises that should be completed daily at your own home. As your mobility returns or increases, changes will be made to your routine to constantly challenge your shoulders and bring back as much mobility as possible.
When a doctor diagnoses you with limited shoulder mobility, you may have many questions. Learning what shoulder mobility is, how it impacts your life, what causes it, and how it can be treated with physical therapy will better help you to understand the condition you have been diagnosed with. Speak with a representative from an establishment like DeSoto Memorial Hospital to learn more about physical therapy.