How Do Falls Affect the Shoulder?
Many people suffer from shoulder pain or problems either immediately or shortly after a fall. The trauma to the shoulder joint caused by the impact of a fall can result in several different types of shoulder injuries.
The shoulder is made up of a ball and socket with three main bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), collarbone (clavicle), and shoulder blade (scapula). The bones are held together by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body. Because of this mobility, the shoulder is more likely to be injured.
Typical symptoms of a shoulder injury include:
- Pain, tenderness, or stiffness that hurts more at night and may interfere with sleep
- Tingling, numbness, weakness, or inflammation in the shoulder
- Shoulder pain in a specific area that worsens when exerted
- Difficulty moving the arm in any direction
- Sudden, intense pain in the shoulder
Common shoulder injuries experienced after the impact of a fall may include:
- Rotator cuff tear
- Broken bone
- Strains and sprains
- Frozen shoulder
- Instability or impingement in the shoulder joint
“I came to Ability Rehabilitation because I shredded my shoulder,” Nancy says. “I fell down, and it was hurt so badly that the doctor ruled out doing regular rotator cuff surgery. He was planning to do a reverse shoulder replacement.”
How Do Physical Therapy Programs Help Treat Shoulder Injuries?
The team at Ability Rehabilitation put together a personalized rehab plan to help Nancy recover the strength and range of motion in her shoulder. They communicated with her doctor to ensure optimal care and a real team approach.
“I have an HMO (health maintenance organization), so I had to jump through a lot of (administrative) hoops. The staff here, specifically Nicole, worked very closely with my primary care doctor. And every time I came in, they were wonderful, cheerful, and very upbeat and positive.”
Nancy greatly appreciated the compassion, dedication, and team-oriented approach of the therapists at Ability Rehabilitation and is extremely grateful for their role in being able to avoid major shoulder surgery.
“Kaitlyn was the one I worked with the most during physical therapy, and she was just fantastic,” says Nancy. “She was kind of a combination between a cheerleader and a drill sergeant, but she was wonderful. My experience was excellent with Ability Rehabilitation.”
“Everybody I knew who had had physical therapy said, ‘Oh, it’s so painful, it’s just so difficult.’ And I did not find that to be the case,” Nancy continues. “There were times when it was challenging because I was working parts of my body that were sore. But for the most part, the staff encouraged me not to overdo it. I was encouraged to let them know when I was feeling any discomfort, and the preconceived notion about it being a painful process was not the case. I was very tired after each of my sessions because I worked hard and they worked me hard, but at the same time, they were very, very careful to make sure that I was not in pain.”
What are the Results of Shoulder Rehabilitation Programs?
After seven weeks of working diligently with the team at Ability Rehabilitation, Nancy received the wondrous news from her doctor that she no longer needed surgery. “When I went back to my doctor about the surgery, his exact words were, ‘That’s freaking amazing, I didn’t see that coming!’ So, I would definitely recommend it,” she says.
Grateful for recovering the use of her shoulder and her quality of life without having to resort to surgery, Nancy wholeheartedly recommends Ability Rehabilitation for anyone who is experiencing what she went through.
“The whole process for me was wonderful,” she says. “I can do everything that I need to do. I have no problems with work, and I’m even able to sleep on that side again. Give physical therapy a chance. I was so surprised and happy with how well it went.”