Shoulder Therapy

Shoulder pain affects you every day — we use our arms a lot! Reaching overhead into a cabinet, pulling a wallet out of a back pocket, clasping a bra strap, grabbing the seatbelt in a car, combing hair, carrying the groceries, throwing a ball, sleeping on your side — the list is endless of the ways patients tell us how their shoulder pain affects their lives.

The shoulder is one of our most mobile joints; it moves up, down, left, right, forward, behind us, and any combination of those movements. Due to its mobility, any changes in the efficiency of how the shoulder joint, tendons, ligaments, and muscles work together can lead to pain. You may have just had surgery, could be dealing with a lingering injury, or are addressing a recent onset of pain. We are here for you!

What is shoulder pain?

Shoulder pain is a common problem that can affect people of all ages. Shoulder pain is often described differently for different individuals. Some patients experience deep aching pain, others sharp pains with specific movements; often, patients report an arm feeling significantly weaker or muscles feeling tighter than their other arm. Shoulder pain can range from very mild to very severe. Your pain is unique to your situation.

Some of the most common symptoms of shoulder pain:

  • Inflammation of the tendons that attach the rotator cuff muscles to the shoulder blade — The rotator cuff creates space in the shoulder joint as we reach in various directions, so there isn’t soft tissue pinching (shoulder impingement).
  • Inflammation of a fluid-filled sac (bursa) that helps to cushion the shoulder joint — causing pain.
  • Inflammation and damage to the joints can affect the shoulder joint, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling.
  • A stiff and painful shoulder joint that makes moving the arm very difficult – feeling like the joint is “frozen.”
  • The bony “ball” on the top of the long arm bone shifts, causing it to no longer sit correctly in the shoulder joint.
  • A broken bone in the shoulder can cause pain, swelling, and bruising.
Shoulder Physical Therapy Charlotte, NC
Armrest Physical Therapy Charlotte, NC


There are many reasons for shoulder pain. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis:
  • he most common cause of shoulder pain. It occurs when the tendons or bursae (fluid-filled sacs) around the shoulder become inflamed or irritated by overuse, injury, or repetitive movements. The rotator cuff muscles frequently have soft tissue irritation or trigger points that transfer pain down the arm. Irritation causes muscle weakness and tightness, rendering the shoulder joint inefficient and causing more pain over time.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis in the shoulder causes inflammation and pain in the joint, making it difficult to move. With significant shoulder arthritis, a patient may be a candidate for a shoulder replacement to restore a pain-free range of motion and strength to the shoulder after healing and therapy.
  • Dislocation: A trauma like a car accident or a fall can dislocate the shoulder. Treatment can be physical therapy or surgery, followed by physical therapy, depending on the severity.
  • Frozen shoulder: Injury, overuse, or medical conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disease can cause a frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder typically affects patients between 40-60 years old and women more frequently than men.

Free Consultation

Take advantage of a complimentary 15-minute phone conversation with a licensed Physical Therapist to discuss your concerns and ensure Uncommon Physical Therapy is best for you
(we know it will be)!


The shoulder is a complex joint; one answer wouldn’t do shoulder therapy justice. Because there are so many causes and individual complaints, a one-size-fits-all template for shoulder therapy doesn’t work. Some or all of the following methods will help you achieve your goals.

  • Stretching: this can include motions to stretch specific muscles found to be limited on your initial evaluation or even in the case of frozen shoulder stretches that address a connective tissue tightness in the shoulder joint capsule.
  • Strengthening: Referencing scientific studies means physical therapists can understand which motions cause the most shoulder muscle activation for maximum strengthening. We dedicate ourselves to ensuring the proper performance of these exercises. Your strength limitations will guide your strengthening program.
  • Manual therapy. Manual therapy can help relax the muscles in the shoulder and neck, relieve pain, and improve function. Various hands-on massage techniques for soft tissue irritation are proven to be effective.
  • Dry needling: Scientific evidence is overwhelming for the use of Dry needling — a treatment that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. Dry needling effectively relieves shoulder pain, especially pain caused by muscle tension or inflammation.
  • Ice: Applying ice for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, can help reduce inflammation and pain — generally in the back of the shoulder for aching pain and in the front for patients whose pain is sharper. Your therapist will help you with proper placement.
Shlulder PT Charlotte, NC

Let’s book you an appointment!

We looking forward to meeting you.

To schedule an appointment, please call our office at (704) 803-8038, or fill out the form below with your preferred appointment time, and our staff will get back to you to schedule your appointment!

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Uncommon Physical Therapy has changed my life. I was suffering from horrible sciatica, hip and pelvic pain for 2 years. Now a couple of weeks later, I have been pain-free. I can sleep! Thank you so much!
Doug S.
Uncommon PT -- They truly listened to what was happening with my pain. They gave me exercise and attention no other PT has. I was giving up on PT. This was my last try. It was 100% worth it.
Beth M.
Great guy, Davis. Professional, intuitive, on the money. Time well spent. My shoulder is almost as good as new. Didn't think this progress was possible.
James G.