Instability of the shoulder means that your shoulder joints are too loose, and they slide excessively in their socket. In more severe cases, your shoulder may slide out of the socket completely. Primarily, the tissues of the shoulder become excessively stretched until they can no longer keep your shoulder’s humerus well fixed in the joint. While it seems like an incredibly huge problem, it can be treated through many treatment options, including physical therapy. Physical therapy can be done in non-surgical treatment, and also in a surgical treatment as a post-surgical therapy.
Physical Therapy in Non-Surgical Treatment
The primary goal of physical therapy is to make the rotator cuffs and the shoulder blades stronger for the shoulders to be more stable. When you begin physical therapy at our facility, the first thing we do is controlling the pain and inflammation caused by shoulder instability. We give you an anti-inflammatory medication to help you with the pain. After administering the medication, our qualified physical therapist will guide you on which positions and activities to avoid that may put your shoulder at further risk. For athletes who must continue with their practice, we offer them shoulder straps for stopping the shoulder from moving to avoid straining it further.
Moreover, our therapists may also use ice or heat treatments to ease your pain and reduce the inflammation. Several exercises are employed to improve your shoulder’s motion. Later on, during the treatment, the physical therapist will guide you in doing strengthening exercises to improve your shoulder strength. The therapist will also guide you to retrain the shoulder muscles to ensure that the humerus ball is maintained in the socket. It will help in improving the shoulder’s stability, and also help its joint to move freely.
While the recovery time for many people varies, it is advisable to continue physical therapy for up to 8 weeks. Additionally, by the end of physical therapy, many patients recover and embark on their normal activities. However, it is important to consult with doctors before getting back to normal.
Physical Therapy in Post-Surgical Treatment
Physical therapy after shoulder surgery is more complicated than in a non-surgical procedure. After the surgery, you are likely to wear a suitable sling to offer your shoulder support and protection for at least four weeks. The first therapy exercises will mainly focus on reducing your pain and swelling from shoulder surgery. The physical therapist may use ice or electrical stimulation to reduce the swelling. Moreover, a massage may also be used to ease the spasm and reducing the pain.
Therapy after the surgery begins slowly. The physical therapist will start by performing motion exercises soon after the surgery has been done, but they will not do any stretches on the front side of the capsule for the first eight weeks. Moreover, the therapy might go even slower if the front part of the shoulder muscles has been cut during surgery. In such a situation, exercises may begin by passive movements only. During the passive exercise, the physical therapist will only move the joint, but your muscles will remain relaxed. The joint is gently moved, and the arm is stretched gradually. The primary objective of this exercise is to move the joints without stretching the muscles. The physical therapist may also guide you on how to do the exercises on your own, for a quicker recovery.
Active therapy begins from about four weeks after the surgery. During this stage of physical therapy, the therapist teaches you to use your muscles to do several active ranges of motion. The therapy sessions may commence with some light exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles and facilitate healing.
Six weeks after the surgery, the therapist will guide you in doing more active exercises. The main aim of the exercise is to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. Your therapist will also show how to retrain the muscles. These exercises will facilitate your shoulder to move adequately during any activities.
During the tenth week, the therapist will get you started on the more active strengthening exercises. The main aim of exercises during this stage is to improve the strength of your rotator muscles. When the rotator cuff muscles are strong, they help in holding the ball of the humerus tightly to improve shoulder stability.
The exercises that our physical therapists teach you are mainly designed and aimed at getting your shoulder working in the best way. Additionally, our physical therapist will show you better ways of doing your tasks without putting too much stress on your shoulder to prevent injuries.
Primarily, shoulder instability occurs in athletes or workers who put a lot of inevitable stress on their shoulders. Moreover, shoulder instability is sometimes mistaken to be a dislocated shoulder. Therefore, whenever you experience a problem with your shoulder, be sure to visit a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, early diagnosis and treatment may help prevent further damage to your shoulder and ensure that you get back to your activities sooner.
At Plano Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Spine Center, we have specialized in efficiently evaluating and treating orthopedic injuries. We have an elite team of orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists who aim at giving you the best treatment. If you have an instability of the shoulder, be sure to schedule an appointment with us and consult some of our elite specialists for treatment.