Shoulder Pain Knows No Age

Dr. Nelli Ban, PT, DPT
Shoulder PainPhoto byCadence Physical Therapy

Shoulder pain is a prevalent condition that affects people of all ages. It doesn't matter whether you're a high school varsity player, a middle-aged professional, or a senior enjoying retirement, shoulder pain can disrupt your daily activities, and routine tasks and hinder your overall quality of life.


Children and Adolescents:

Teenagers and young adults are at increased risk for shoulder pain due to participation in sports or activities that involve overhead movements, such as throwing a baseball or swimming. Shoulder injuries in this age group may include rotator cuff tears, labral tears, and shoulder instability. Treatment may include physical therapy, rest, and, in severe cases, surgery.

a. Overuse Injuries: Children involved in repetitive overhead activities, such as throwing sports or swimming, may experience overuse injuries like rotator cuff tendonitis or bursitis.

b. Dislocation: Active children participating in contact sports or experiencing trauma may be prone to shoulder dislocations.

Adults (18-60 years):

a. Rotator Cuff Tears: The rotator cuff tendons can tear due to repetitive motions, degeneration, or sudden injuries.

b. Impingement Syndrome: This condition often occurs due to repetitive overhead activities, causing compression of tendons and bursae within the shoulder joint.

c. Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis): Characterized by stiffness and restricted shoulder movement, a frozen shoulder can develop due to injury, overuse, or as a result of other medical conditions.

d. Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joint, can cause shoulder pain, often due to repetitive motions or trauma.

e. Shoulder Arthritis: Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can affect the shoulder joint, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.

Older Adults (60+ years):

As we age, the risk of developing shoulder pain increases due to degenerative changes, arthritis, and wear and tear over time. Conditions like rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulders, and osteoarthritis become more prevalent. Maintaining shoulder mobility through gentle stretching exercises, low-impact activities like swimming or yoga, and modifications to daily routines can help manage shoulder pain in older adults. In some cases, medical interventions such as injections or surgical options may be considered.

a. Rotator Cuff Tears: Degenerative changes over time can make the rotator cuff tendons more prone to tears in older adults.

b. Osteoarthritis: Wear and tear of the shoulder joint cartilage can cause osteoarthritis, leading to pain, stiffness, and limited shoulder mobility.

c. Fractures: Shoulder fractures in older adults can occur as a result of falls or osteoporosis, resulting in significant discomfort and reduced function.

Physical therapy can assist you with shoulder pain and related issues by improving your shoulder strength, flexibility, and range of motion by lowering inflammation, alleviating pain and stiffness, and preventing the condition from worsening. Your physical therapist will also teach you how to avoid it from happening again in the future.

Physical therapists are trained to help people who are dealing with shoulder pain get back on track and get their lives back. They know how important it is for people who are experiencing shoulder pain to be able to move around freely and live their lives without worrying about their shoulders.

A physical therapist will evaluate your condition and create a treatment plan that will work best for you and your situation. They'll teach you exercises that will strengthen your muscles and increase flexibility while also helping reduce pain. Each individual is different, so no two treatment plans will be alike—that's why it's important to talk with an experienced professional who knows what they're doing!

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Aims to provide informative articles, medical views and health tips for patients suffering from musculoskeletal conditions, joint injuries, needing help with relief from chronic pain, osteoporosis, arthritis, and certain cancer-related complications.


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