Hands-on for Shoulder Pain Treatment in Hanford

A 2016 clinical trial confirms what we here at Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy have been doing for years. If you are in need of shoulder pain treatment in Hanford, then this research may be pertinent to you.  In a study of office workers that suffered with shoulder pain, physical rehabilitation involving hands-on treatment was found to be an important part of a conservative treatment program.

Long-term computer use can lead to muscle dysfunction and disorder

Approximately 90% of white-collar workers use computers for more than four hours per day.  Over time, sitting and working at a computer can lead to a dysfunction of muscle stability and other disorders of the region, which may result in shoulder and neck pain, as well as a decreased threshold for pain.  One of the main reasons for shoulder pain is hyperactivity of an upper back muscle called the upper trapezius, which results in decreased control of two other muscles and instability.  To treat this muscle instability, several physical therapy interventions may be used, including manual therapy.  In manual therapy, the physical therapist performs various manipulations and mobilizations on the painful area in order to bring about tissue changes that will lead to less pain.  Manual therapy may therefore be helpful for office workers with shoulder pain, and to evaluate this possibility, a study was conducted.

Middle-aged office workers with pain serve as the study group

Individuals between the ages of 30-40 who had shoulder pain and worked on a computer for more than eight hours a day were invited to participate in the study and screened to determine if they were eligible.  This process led to 38 individuals who were accepted, and then randomly assigned to either the manual therapy group or the shoulder stabilization exercise group.  Both groups underwent treatment during two 40-minute sessions per week for six weeks.  In the manual therapy group, the therapist applied manipulations and mobilizations to various muscles in the back, chest and neck for three minutes each.  In the shoulder stabilization group, patients were instructed to perform a series of stretching and strengthening exercises for muscles in the same area.  All patients were assessed before and after undergoing treatment for pressure pain threshold (PPT) of certain muscles, which measures the minimum force applied that causes pain.

Manual therapy leads to greater improvements

After completing treatment, participants in both groups experienced significant improvements with an increased PPT of several muscles of the upper back; however, the manual therapy group showed greater PPT improvements in these muscles than the shoulder stabilization group.  This is likely due to the pain-relieving properties of manual therapy, as it increases blood flow and decreases the activity of muscles in such a way that it changes the length of tissues and results in less pain.

Here’s an excerpt from the abstract published on Pubmed.org:

The manual therapy group showed greater improvements than did the shoulder stabilization exercise group in the splenius capitis on both sides, left upper trapezius, middle trapezius on both sides, and right lower trapezius. [Conclusion] The results of this study suggest that manual therapy for shoulder pain is feasible and suitable for office workers and may be useful in clinical rehabilitation.
Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27799661

These results show that while both shoulder strengthening exercises and manual therapy appear to be effective for office workers with shoulder pain, manual therapy is even more beneficial for improving their threshold for pain.  Individuals currently dealing with this type of pain should therefore seek out the services of a physical therapist for appropriate treatment.

Diagnoses we’ve successfully treated – Check our medical library

There are a number of shoulder conditions that we regularly treat.  Here’s a link to our medical library where you can learn more about physical therapy for shoulder pain that we provide here in Hanford (and Visalia as well).

If you have questions about your shoulder pain, just give us a call.  Chances are we can help.   Click here to visit our contact page for more information.

-As reported in the September ’16 issue of  The Journal of Physical Therapy Science


Frozen Shoulder Treatment in Visalia

Recovering from frozen shoulder often takes a while, but if you are looking for frozen shoulder treatment in Visalia, our physical therapy treatment can help every step of the way.

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, with the upper arm bone (humerus) serving as the “ball” and fitting into the “socket” of the shoulder blade (scapula).  The bones and other structures of the shoulder are surrounded by a structure called the shoulder capsule, which is made up of strong connective tissue that keeps the shoulder stable.  Adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, occurs when scar tissue forms within the shoulder.  This causes the shoulder capsule to thicken and tighten around the shoulder joint, which means there is less room to move the shoulder normally.

Frozen shoulder affects up to 5% of the population, but it’s not clear why it develops.  In general, it’s believed that one of the leading factors is not moving the shoulder normally for a long period of time.  People between the ages of 40-60, women and those with arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health conditions are also more likely to develop it.

Frozen shoulder usually develops slowly and gets progressively worse with more pain and loss of motion over time.  This is typically broken down into the following stages:

  • Stage 1 (pre-freezing): symptoms start and gradually get worse over 1-3 months
  • Stage 2 (freezing): generally occurs 3-9 months after the start of symptoms; any movement of the shoulder causes pain, which is even worse at night
  • Stage 3 (frozen): occurs within 9-14 months; the shoulder becomes more stiff, making it more difficult to move and rotate it
  • Stage 4 (thawing): occurs within 12-15 months; pain decreases significantly, especially at night, range of motion begins to improve, making it easier to move

This shows that frozen shoulder follows a long course of development and eventual recovery, but following a physical therapy treatment program can expedite this process.

The goal of physical therapy is to control pain and increase strength and flexibility, and physical therapists have specific treatments that are designed to help patients improve at each stage of frozen shoulder.  In general, treatment consists of stretching exercises, manual (hands-on therapy), strengthening exercises and returning to daily activities.

The following findings from a 2007 study clearly identify the value of physical therapy for treating patients with frozen shoulder:

With supervised treatment, most patients with adhesive capsulitis will experience resolution with nonoperative measures in a relatively short period. Only a small percentage of patients eventually require operative treatment.

Dealing with frozen shoulder can be a long, drawn-out and frustrating process, but in seeing a physical therapist, you will be certain to increase your chances of easing the burden of your condition and having a successful, faster recovery.
For more information about our practice locations, click here for details about our Visalia & Hanford offices.