Physical therapy is one of your treatment options for improving your range of motion if you have been diagnosed with shoulder arthritis. It’s a great long term solution for maintaining functionality and reducing chronic pain. Here is what you should expect if you go to physical therapy for your shoulder arthritis.
During your initial appointment with your physical therapist, you can expect a thorough evaluation of your condition. The physical therapist will want to test you for your existing range of motion, and to understand what your physicians have told you about your shoulder arthritis. The physical therapist will use this information to create an individualized treatment plan to reduce pain and improve your range of motion. You’ll also learn the recommended frequency of treatment at this time.
During physical therapy, your physical therapist will guide you through shoulder stretches designed specifically for shoulder arthritis. You’ll use these stretches as part of your physical therapy, as well as to warm up and to cool down. The stretches will help increase your overall shoulder flexibility and range of motion.
Strength training exercises are an important part of physical therapy for shoulder arthritis, as they increase muscle tone in the shoulder, back, and arm muscles. This will improve the functioning of the shoulder and reduce reliance on weaker muscles and tendons. Depending on your physical condition when you start physical therapy, these exercises may use your own body weight or possibly light hand weights to enhance muscle strength.
Low Impact Cardio
Some people have the misconception that physical therapy only involves strength exercise and stretching. However, for shoulder arthritis, part of your physical therapy may involve low impact cardio that improves your overall health and the range of motion of your shoulder. The slow, repetitive movement of low impact cardio can have a significant impact on your shoulder’s range of motion. If you choose a physical therapy office with a pool, the physical therapist may work with you on swimming-based exercises that provide some aerobic benefits. Depending on your condition and personal access to a pool, the physical therapist may recommend swimming over more strenuous cardio exercises for you to do on your own time.
At Home Exercises
At the end of your first appointment, your physical therapist will likely teach you exercises that you can work on while you’re at home to continue your progress in between appointments. Some physical therapists may even give you a handout that explains the exercises, complete with pictures or drawings. It is important that you complete the at home exercises according to your physical therapist’s recommendations.
Shoulder arthritis can cause serious pain and restriction of your range of motion. Fortunately, physical therapy can help. Call Manhattan Physical Therapy today at (212) 213-3480 to discuss how physical therapy can help to reduce the symptoms of shoulder arthritis.