Physical Therapy

Chronic shoulder instability is often first treated with nonsurgical options. Your doctor will develop a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms.

It may take several months of nonsurgical treatment before you can tell how well it is working. Nonsurgical treatment typically includes:
  • Activity modification—Certain lifestyle changes will be required, such as avoiding all activities that aggravate your symptoms.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication—Drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen will help to reduce your pain and swelling.
  • Physical therapy—Your therapist will design a home exercise program that will help you strengthen your shoulder muscles and improve shoulder control for increased stability.

Although it’s natural to react to shoulder pain by not moving the shoulder, this can, unfortunately, lead to complete loss of shoulder mobility. Rehabilitation will help decrease pain and swelling and prevent the development of ongoing, or chronic, shoulder problems. Along with exercise, massage, ultrasound and electrical stimulation can also be used to help control pain and swelling. At first, rehabilitation may involve active range of motion or controlled movements of your shoulder joint without resistance. Water exercises, such as arm circles or shoulder rolls, are sometimes used if other exercises are too painful.

Once you’re pain-free, other exercises may be added, such as agility and endurance building activities. The goal here is to increase  strength and range of motion as ligaments recover.

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Bone & Joint Center
(616) 738-3884
Kristie Dennett
Orthopedics Coordinator
(616) 494-4032
Shoreline Orthopaedics
(616) 396-5855