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KORT Physical Therapist Says Shoulder Pain Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Lexington, Kentucky (PRWEB) June 20, 2012

The shoulder is one of the most complicated and well-used joints in our body. The anatomy of the joint allows us a tremendous amount of mobility and function to do all the things we love to do from playing sports to playing with our children. Injury to this joint can prevent us from doing even the most basic daily activities like brushing our hair and getting dressed. In fact, The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that in 2005 alone nearly 13 million people sought medical care for shoulder pain.

According to KORT physical therapist Dr. Chris Kaczmarek, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, positioned between the tendons, muscles and bony structures of the shoulder joint are fluid filled sacs called bursa. Their job is to reduce the friction between the tendons, muscles and bones and allow movement to be smooth. However, when friction increases, inflammation, swelling and tenderness develop leading to intense shoulder pain called shoulder bursitis, said Kaczmarek.

“Shoulder bursitis can be a very painful and limiting condition. It can progress to the point where normal daily activity, recreation and sleep can be severely interrupted. The cause can vary from direct trauma to the shoulder to poor posture, but if properly treated, all symptoms can be resolved and you can return to your normal daily activities and recreation,” said Kaczmarek.

According to Kaczmarek, some of the more common causes of shoulder bursitis are:

  •     Increased repetitive activity. A recent increase in repetition of shoulder movement such as tennis, painting, or scrubbing a floor above what the joint is conditioned to perform.
  •     Age. Those over the age of 40 are more prone due to reduced elasticity of tissue as well as less ideal healing properties.
  •     Poor Posture. Bad posture positions the shoulder blades more rounded towards our chest, there by reducing the space available in our shoulder joint for the bursa and tendons making them more prone to irritation
  •     Trauma. Direct trauma such as getting hit on the shoulder or falling and landing on it if sufficient force is generated can begin the inflammatory cascade in the bursa.
  •     Impingement. When the muscles around our shoulder lose some of their strength, the position of the shoulder joint changes into a position where these structures become compromised when we move our arms. The muscles that keep the shoulder stable and positions the structures for the least amount of pressure.

He says that symptoms can vary from a dull ache throughout the shoulder to a very pinpoint tender spot right over the large deltoid muscle. Other symptoms can include difficulty and increased pain when sleeping on the involved shoulder, pain when reaching overhead, and stiffness in the shoulder, he said.

“The biggest concern with shoulder bursitis is getting immediate care to resolve the inflammation. Often this can include just simple rest and ice to allow the inflammation to reduce. Most of the time though this is not the case and if bursitis persists long enough, the pain it produces will begin to limit range of motion and function. Over time as we lose our motion, the shoulder will begin to develop what is commonly referred to as “frozen shoulder” Frozen shoulder is where the shoulder continues to get stiffer and stiffer to where it begins to magnify the pain and a cycle of pain and reduced range of motion progress further.,” said Kaczmarek.

According to Kaczmarek, manual physical therapy can help restore the limited range of motion back to normal and begin breaking the cycle of pain. Educating the patient on proper posture and body mechanics combined with shoulder and scapular strengthening and flexibility exercises that can be done at home are the final ingredients to properly correct the deficits and restore a patient back to everyday pain free activity, said Kaczmarek.

Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team (KORT) has been serving the communities of Kentucky and Southern Indiana for over 25 years, providing clinical excellence and customer service in outpatient physical and occupational therapy. KORT clinicians work one-on-one with patients to regain strength, increase flexibility, improve mobility, and reduce pain without drugs or surgery. Licensed athletic trainers provide sports medicine to over 30 high schools and colleges. The KORT team is committed to improving the lives of patients daily. Locally managed and operated, KORT has nearly 40 clinics specializing in orthopedics, sports and industrial medicine, with more board-certified specialists than any other physical therapy provider in Kentucky. For more information visit

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