Healing a Shoulder Injury

The shoulder joint has the widest range of movement in the body, but mobility is achieved at the expense of stability. The labrum, a ring of thick, fibrous cartilage running around the edge of the shoulder socket, holds the bones in place, extends the joint to make it more stable and provides cushioning. When it sustains an injury, the shoulder can be traumatized.

A labral injury may be triggered by a fall or a similar stress to the shoulder. With age, the labrum tends to become less flexible and tears more easily. The most common symptom is a clicking, catching or slipping sensation when the shoulder is moved, followed by a dull ache. Sometimes, the tear may not cause any pain.

Some labral tears heal by themselves, while others may need surgery, but for safe, comfortable healing and a quicker return to a healthy shoulder, it is best to obtain treatment immediately after the symptoms appear. Initially, a combination of icing and anti-inflammatory medications, if your doctor agrees, may provide relief. In addition, exercise is likely to hasten successful healing by encouraging

• improved, fuller range of motion;

• improved stability and smoother movement;

• regained strength in the shoulder; and

• reduced pain during healing.

We can develop a program of exercises to stretch the joint capsule for easier movement and strengthen the muscles that help rotate the shoulder, thus enabling you to resume your daily activities quickly and pain free.