Ice After Graston Technique - Or Else!
Your shoulder is an incredibly complex and mobile joint. You can rotate your arm every which way and not even think about what is happening underneath the surface. Sometimes, however, your shoulder can't take all that movement and it gets hurt. Shoulder pain can become so severe that you lose sleep because the pain is too much to handle. Symptoms of shoulder pain can include trouble moving your arm, a sharp pain within your arm, a tingling feeling in your shoulder down to your arm, your shoulder is sore and tender to the touch. You can feel it, but what is actually going on the inside your shoulder?
Injuries to the bicep muscle or tendon are the most common reason for shoulder pain. To understand your shoulder pain, you need to understand the bicep. The bicep is so named because it has two muscle heads in the upper arm which fuse together to create the bicep tendon that attaches to the elbow. The long head of the bicep attaches to the shoulder while the short head of the bicep attaches to coracoid process and runs down to meet the long head. The bicep muscle and tendon helps us to flex the elbow and the shoulder.
Working with other muscles, the bicep helps us perform shoulder activities while stabilizing the shoulder joint. The shoulder relies on the bicep and other muscles for stability and protection from shearing forces across the joint which could damage the cartilage or bone and cause you tremendous pain. If the bicep or other muscles become damaged, shearing from repetitive stress such as lifting, can cause scar tissue to form. Scar tissue is weaker than normal muscle tissue which is why it will become chronically sore with activity. If your shoulder is constantly sore, there are different treatments to fix the damage and relieve your pain.
NSAIDs are often prescribed for the initial acute injury stages. In severe cases that involve multiple joint regions, muscle relaxers or oral steroids can be given. Trigger point injections, botox, or steroid injections can be treatment options. Pain management is not usually required unless stronger medications or joint injections are required for treatment.
MRI and X-rays will not usually be ordered to evaluate mild to moderate muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries. Severe cases may utilize advanced imaging to rule out bone fractures, edema, nerve entrapments, tendon or muscle ruptures. NCV testing may be utilized in cases that also involve muscle, sensory, or reflex loss which indicates nerve damage.
Cortisone injections are only used after an MRI and X-ray is ordered. Generally, cortisone injections are used if, after a 4-6 week period of rest, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy fails. Surgery for shoulder injuries are only required in severe cases that do not respond to conservative treatments.
Therapeutic treatments for addressing soft tissue injuries involve massage therapy, manual therapy, trigger point therapy, Graston Technique, or Active Release Technique. These treatments increase blood flow, decrease muscle spasms, enhance flexibility, speed healing, and promote proper tissue repair.
Physical therapy will address the pain and inflammation of the injured tendon within the shoulder, but it also needs to address the other muscles of the shoulder complex. Specific functional stability training exercises will be done in the office to strengthen the stabilizer muscles in the shoulder which will help decrease the pain. This can include planking on a foam bar, a bosu ball, or any other unstable surface to work the stabilizer muscles. Massage therapy will decrease the pain, muscles spasms, and scar tissue in all of the shoulder muscles. Combining massage therapy with physical therapy will establish muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility.
The use of Kinesio tape will promote the body's own natural healing process while providing support to the muscles within your shoulder. Kinesio tape will also provide extended small tissue support during physical therapy in the office.
The best conservative treatment option is the Graston Technique because it addresses the soft tissues within your shoulder which have been damaged or injured. Treatment plans for shoulder injuries often combine the Graston Technique with other forms of therapeutic treatments. The most popular combination is the Graston Technique and deep massage therapy. However, these two treatments combined can cause great soreness and bruising for your shoulder muscles and may seem like it isn't helping your injury. You will most likely be more tender after the treatments than you were before, but after your treatment days, you will be required to do ice therapy. Icing your shoulder can help decrease the development of pain after your treatments.
Our Chandler Chiropractic & Physical Therapy clinic treats patients with a variety of muscle, tendon, joint, and ligament injuries. We work with all ages and abilities of the residents in Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, and Chandler AZ.