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Your shoulder plays an important role in your overall mobility. Shoulder problems caused by injuries or chronic conditions can impact your ability to move and perform daily living activities. If you have a shoulder problem, you know it can be hard to do simple things. Combing your hair, throwing a ball, or reaching up high can become difficult or impossible. Your shoulder pain may even limit your ability to walk comfortably. Beaumont offers leading treatments, including non-surgical options, to treat shoulder pain and improve your overall mobility. 

Shoulder Anatomy

Your shoulder is made up of three bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle). The head of your upper arm bone fits into a rounded socket in your shoulder blade (the glenoid). 
There are two joints in the shoulder, and both may be affected by arthritis. One joint is located where the clavicle meets the tip of the shoulder blade (acromion). This is called the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. The other joint is called the glenohumeral joint, and it’s located where the head of the humerus fits into the scapula.

To provide you with effective treatment for shoulder mobility issues, your doctor will need to determine which joint is affected and what type of injury or condition you have.

Conditions that can affect shoulder mobility

An injury to any part of the shoulder, or a chronic condition that causes degeneration in the shoulder, can limit your shoulder mobility. Conditions that can make it harder for you to move your shoulder include:

  • Shoulder arthritis 
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Shoulder arthritis 

Shoulder arthritis is the inflammation of the joints in your shoulder, which causes pain and stiffness. Shoulder arthritis can affect shoulder mobility, making it more difficult to move your shoulder. It may cause your shoulder joint to lock, stick, or make a grinding noise (crepitus) when you move. It can even make it hard to walk or bend over, depending on the severity and location of the impacted area.

While medication or surgery may be necessary for some people with arthritis, physical therapy is an important step in helping improve your shoulder mobility. 

Shoulder bursitis

Shoulder bursitis  is a painful inflammation of the bursae around your shoulder. Bursae are jelly-like, fluid-filled sacs that help reduce joint friction that occurs with movement. It is most commonly caused by repetitive use and over-stressing the areas around your shoulder joints, but it can also be caused by direct trauma or infection.

Bursitis can often go away on its own with rest and physical therapy. If it doesn’t, doctors may recommend physical therapy for bursitis, to help relieve pain and improve your shoulder mobility. In severe cases, bursitis can also be treated with surgery.

Rotator cuff injuries

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. They keep your upper arm bone in your shoulder socket. Rotator cuff injuries most often occur in people who perform repeated overhead motions for their job or in a sport, such as painters, carpenters, or tennis players. They are also more likely in people who are older or who have a family history of rotator cuff injuries. Patients may experience difficulty reaching behind their backs, arm weakness, and a dull aching pain when walking.  

Without treatment, rotator cuff injuries can lead to permanent loss of motion or weakness in your shoulder or cause the shoulder joint to degenerate. Physical therapists can help restore muscle strength, range of motion, and coordination. In more serious cases, a rotator cuff injury may be treated with surgery.

Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis, and it’s characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. It’s more likely to occur in people who are recovering from a medical condition that prevents them from moving their arm, like a stroke or surgery. It begins gradually and worsens over time.

  • Frozen shoulder develops over three stages that each last several months. There are different symptoms in each stage:
  • Freezing stage, in which any movement of your shoulder becomes painful, and it becomes harder to move your shoulder
  • Frozen stage, in which pain may begin to diminish, but your shoulder becomes stiffer
  • Thawing stage, in which it becomes easier to move your shoulder again

Most frozen shoulders get better on their own within 12 to 18 months. Physical therapy, especially stretching exercises, can help patients recover from frozen shoulder. Doctors may also prescribe medication or surgery for serious cases of frozen shoulder.

Beaumont can treat shoulder mobility problems

If you’re experiencing a shoulder mobility problem, Beaumont can help. We offer treatment for even the most complex shoulder problems. Our orthopedic surgeons and shoulder specialists can help you determine the cause of your limited mobility or pain. Once a cause is determined, we offer several different treatment options, and we can help you develop a personal treatment plan. Beaumont’s orthopedic program is available throughout Metro Detroit. 

Call 800-633-7377 to make an appointment with a Beaumont shoulder specialist.