Shoulder pain can be a frustrating and debilitating condition that can significantly affect your daily life. Physical therapy is a common treatment option for shoulder pain, but what happens when it doesn’t seem to be helping? In this article, we will explore the reasons why physical therapy not helping shoulder pain and offer some solutions for overcoming a plateau in physical therapy progress. Additionally, we will discuss alternative treatment options for shoulder pain, so you can find the right treatment to alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life.
Reasons why physical therapy may not be helping
There are several reasons why physical therapy may not be helping to relieve shoulder pain. It is important to identify these reasons to overcome any roadblocks in the recovery process. Here are some common reasons why physical therapy may not be effective:
If you have been diagnosed with shoulder pain, it is important to ensure that the diagnosis is accurate. An incorrect diagnosis can lead to the wrong physical therapy exercises being prescribed, which may not help relieve the pain. It is important to seek a second opinion from another healthcare professional to ensure that the diagnosis is correct.
Read More: Can a Chiropractor Help with Shoulder Pain?
Poor execution of physical therapy exercises
Even if the diagnosis is correct, the exercises prescribed by the physical therapist may not be executed properly. Poor execution of exercises can lead to a lack of progress and even exacerbate the pain. It is important to communicate with the physical therapist about any difficulties in performing the exercises and ask for modifications if necessary.
Inadequate physical therapy program
If the physical therapy program is not tailored to your specific needs, it may not be effective. It is important to have an individualized program that takes into consideration your unique needs, abilities, and goals. If you feel that your physical therapy program is not adequate, communicate with your physical therapist and ask for adjustments.
Other underlying medical conditions
Shoulder pain may be caused by underlying medical conditions, such as arthritis or nerve impingement. If physical therapy is not helping to alleviate the pain, it may be necessary to investigate if there are other underlying medical conditions contributing to the pain.
Solutions for overcoming physical therapy plateau
If you are experiencing a plateau in your physical therapy progress, don’t give up hope. There are several solutions that can help you overcome this roadblock and continue making progress toward pain relief. Here are some solutions for overcoming a physical therapy plateau:
Communication with a physical therapist
One of the most important solutions is communication with your physical therapist. If you are experiencing a plateau, it is important to communicate with your physical therapist about any issues or difficulties you are facing. They can help you modify your program or exercises to better suit your needs and abilities.
Seeking a second opinion
If you have been working with a physical therapist and not making progress, it may be helpful to seek a second opinion from another healthcare professional. Another healthcare provider may be able to offer a fresh perspective and provide alternative solutions.
Incorporating complementary treatments
In addition to physical therapy, there are several complementary treatments that can help alleviate shoulder pain. Some examples include massage therapy, chiropractic care, and acupuncture. These treatments can help address underlying issues and promote healing, making physical therapy more effective.
Read More: What is Dry Needling for Frozen Shoulder
Making lifestyle changes
Sometimes making lifestyle changes can help improve the effectiveness of physical therapy. This may include changes to diet, exercise, and sleep habits. By making these changes, you can help support your body’s natural healing process and promote pain relief.
Alternative treatment options for shoulder pain
While physical therapy is a common treatment option for shoulder pain, it may not be effective for everyone. If you have tried physical therapy without success, there are several alternative treatment options that may help alleviate your shoulder pain. Here are some examples of alternative treatments for shoulder pain:
Chiropractic care is a non-invasive treatment option that can help relieve shoulder pain. Chiropractors use manual adjustments to realign the spine and other joints in the body, which can help alleviate pain and improve range of motion.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into specific points in the body. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving pain, including shoulder pain.
Massage therapy can help relieve muscle tension and improve circulation, which can help alleviate shoulder pain. There are several types of massage that may be helpful, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and trigger point therapy.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to alleviate shoulder pain. This is typically reserved for severe cases or when other treatment options have not been successful. There are several types of shoulder surgery, including arthroscopy, rotator cuff repair, and shoulder replacement.
Shoulder pain can be a debilitating condition that can interfere with daily activities. While physical therapy is a common treatment option, it may not be effective for everyone. However, there are several solutions for overcoming a physical therapy plateau, as well as alternative treatment options that may provide relief. By working with a healthcare professional and exploring different options, individuals with shoulder pain can find a solution that works for them.
Can physical therapy make shoulder pain worse?
Answer: While physical therapy is generally safe, improper execution of exercises or a wrong diagnosis can lead to increased pain. It is important to communicate with your physical therapist if you experience increased pain during or after exercises.
How long does it take to see results from physical therapy for shoulder pain?
Answer: The timeline for seeing results from physical therapy for shoulder pain can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the individual’s response to treatment. It may take several weeks or even months to see significant improvement.
Is surgery the only option for severe shoulder pain?
Answer: Surgery is typically reserved for severe cases or when other treatment options have not been successful. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for individual needs.
Can chiropractic care help with shoulder pain?
Answer: Yes, chiropractic care can be a helpful alternative treatment option for shoulder pain. Chiropractors use manual adjustments to realign the spine and other joints in the body, which can help alleviate pain and improve range of motion.
Is acupuncture a safe treatment option for shoulder pain?
Answer: Yes, acupuncture is generally safe when performed by a licensed and trained practitioner. It involves inserting thin needles into specific points in the body to relieve pain.
Can massage therapy help with shoulder pain?
Answer: Yes, massage therapy can help relieve muscle tension and improve circulation, which can help alleviate shoulder pain. There are several types of massage that may be helpful, including Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and trigger point therapy.
How long does recovery take after shoulder surgery?
Answer: The recovery timeline after shoulder surgery can vary depending on the type of surgery and the individual’s response to treatment. It may take several weeks or months to fully recover and regain strength and range of motion.
Are there any lifestyle changes that can help with shoulder pain?
Answer: Yes, making lifestyle changes such as improving diet, exercise, and sleep habits can help support the body’s natural healing process and promote pain relief.
Can shoulder pain be prevented?
Answer: While it may not always be possible to prevent shoulder pain, there are several measures that can help reduce the risk of injury or pain, such as maintaining good posture, stretching regularly, and avoiding repetitive overhead movements.
- American Physical Therapy Association. (2022). Physical therapy guide to shoulder pain.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2016). Acupuncture: In-depth. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/acupuncture-in-depth
- American Chiropractic Association. (n.d.). Benefits of chiropractic. https://www.acatoday.org/patients/what-is-chiropractic/benefits-of-chiropractic
- Arthritis Foundation. (2021). Massage therapy for arthritis. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/treatment/complementary-therapies/natural-therapies/massage-therapy
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2021). Shoulder pain and common shoulder problems. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/shoulder-pain-and-common