I get a lot of people coming in with weak, injured, and immobile shoulders wondering what they can do to fix them. While some shoulders just need some rotator cuff/deltoid/scapular strengthening, others need strict range of motion (ROM) work to break free of the "frozen shoulder" they currently are limited before they can even get into resistance work. Yet there is another group that, after testing, is a candidate for surgery as something is torn.
No need to focus on the group that needs surgery because I am not a surgeon. The other two groups that typically have shoulder problems need to go through these steps I've set forth to get their shoulder into appropriate working condition. Keep in mind that shoulder issues can take months to fix.
- Collect any information on mechanism of injury (chronic or acute)
- Seek professional help with diagnosis of injury (MRI, X-ray, etc)
- Seek professional for injury based on severity (i.e. Surgeon for complete tears, Physical Therapist for smaller incomplete tears, severe weakness and lack of ROM, and/or post-op, and finally Strength/Conditioning Coach for weakness/ROM.
If you have a shoulder that has been moderately injured (as most are) and doesn't quite call for physical therapy, you can expect to go through this process with a good Strength/Conditioning Coach, should you be lucky enough to find one.
- Initial Assessment
- ROM work
- Basic strengthening exercises (Rotator work, Scapular Strengthening, Deltoid Strengthening)
- Biomechanic correction (Total body alignment is best as everything is connected. Ex: Tight back muscles, poor posture, weak stabilizers can affect shoulder)
- Good nutrition program to help with recovery
- Further conditioning work (swimming, weight resistance w/bands, bells, bodyweight, etc)
Obviously there is a lot that goes into fixing a an injured or misaligned shoulder, but the sooner you start the better your chances of a full recovery and the faster you can participate in life without pain.