Physical Therapy For Shoulder Pain – Better Than Injections?

As a practicing Physical Therapist, shoulder pain is the 3rd most common problem I treat.
(Just in case you were wondering, back pain and shoulder pain are the 1st and 2nd most common)

So I found this new research study to be very interesting. It looked at the cost of healthcare (amount of healthcare resources) used over the course of 1 year and the outcomes of that care. Specifically, the researchers compared these things for two groups of people with shoulder pain – those that received corticosteroid injections and those that were treated with a specialized form of physical therapy called manual therapy.

Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory medicines.

Manual therapy is a hands on approach to physical therapy that includes soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization and therapeutic exercise.

If you are interested – You can check out the details of the study here:

The findings of the study suggest that both groups had great outcomes. So if you are leery of getting injections or prefer a more conservative approach to getting rid of your shoulder pain, you should definitely consider manual therapy.

To find the best physical therapist for you – I strongly suggest you take the following steps:
1. Look online for a physical therapy clinic close to your home, office or school. When you choose to try physical therapy you need to be sure you can go to treatment sessions (usually) two days per week for 3 to 4 weeks. So convenience should definitely be a consideration. Look for offices / clinics that take no more than 15 minutes in drive time.

2. Call the closest physical therapy offices to make sure they take your health insurance. Just ask if they are in-network providers. This will help minimize your personal out of pocket costs.

3. During the call – ask if they specialize in orthopedic manual therapy and who will be treating you. The therapist should have several years of manual therapy experience and should be licensed in PT (i.e. be either a licenced Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant… not a PT tech or aide).

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