What is causing your shoulder pain? At home tests to try | Total Performance Physical Therapy | 215.997.9898February 20, 2019
Before we get into the 4 tests you can do at home and what could be causing your shoulder pain, I need to go over something first. Most likely, depending on how long you have ignored the shoulder pain, it is not one thing causing the pain. The longer you ignore shoulder pain (or any pain for that matter) the more things can go wrong. Therefore, if you have had shoulder pain for a few months or even years, then it is more that likely that you will have more than one thing going wrong at your shoulder and you will test positive to more than just 1 of the following tests.
Most people ignore the little signs that tell you that something is going wrong with your shoulder. They brush them off because most likely you are still able to do everything you absolutely need to do with a little modification or the things you can’t do anymore aren’t really important. For example, maybe it hurts to put your jacket on, or to reach into the back seat. But guess what? You can turn your body and you can reach into the back seat. And maybe you don’t even know you are doing this but you think is this really a hassle, just to turn around to reach into the back seat or is this really a hassle to turn my shoulder when trying to put a coat on just so it doesn’t hurt. Most people do not seem to be bothered by that, but those little changes will not stop there, they will continue to snowball until you can no longer tolerate all the changes you need to make to your life because you are unable to live life normally.
So if you test positive for more than one of these causes, you have waited long enough to get treated – NOW is the time!
This is to test for thoracic outlet syndrome.
The longer you let this go, the worse it can get and you actually can lose strength in your fingers, strength in your hands, begin to drop things and so on.
Start with your arms out to 90 degrees, elbows up at ninety degrees hands open. You can watch the video below to see how this is done.
Then keeping your hands and arms in the same position just make a fist and then open your hand up, then make a fist, then open your hand up and continue to do this for 3 minutes.
Be careful not to have your elbows drop down below 90 degrees.
You’re looking for numbness and tingling in your hands and fingers. Even though the test is done for 3 minutes, usually the numbness and tingling shows up within the first minute.
You will definitely feel other things with this test, fatigue, muscle soreness, burning in the muscles, but that is not a positive test. The only positive test is numbness and tingling in the fingers.
Empty Can Test
This is going to test a specific muscle of the rotator cuff to see if there’s a possible tear.
Start with your thumb pointing down or towards you. The lift your arm up at a 45 degree angle, so not straight out in front and not straight out to the side but in the middle. Raise your arm up to shoulder height. Do you have pain?
If the answer is yes, then there could be a rotator cuff tear or at the least, some inflammation which could cause a rotator cuff tear.
This time you are going to point your thumb up to the sky and raise your arm out to the side and lift it up overhead.
A positive test is one where you start with no pain when you raise it up, then as you keep going, you get some pain, then as you keep going the pain eventually goes away. The period where you have pain is known as the painful arc.
This is going to test for tendinitis.
Now, one thing about tendonitis is that tendinitis has multiple causes. So this positive test means that there is a lot going on in the shoulder. This inflammation is going to eventually cause a rotator cuff tear if not dealt with appropriately.
The Impingement Test
Start with placing your hand on top of the alternate shoulder. For example, if you are testing your right shoulder, place your right hand on top of your left shoulder. Then using the left hand slowly try to push the right shoulder up. If you have pain then this is positive for impingement.
This is a fore warning of tendinitis and then eventually a cuff tear because with impingement the muscles are getting pinched, which is why you are getting pain so if you do not do things to reduce the pinching and therefore reduce the pain, the you will have it continue to get worse.
If you are a resident of Horsham who has shoulder pain, or a resident of Hatfield who has shoulder pain or a resident of Norristown who has shoulder pain then call 215-997-9898 and request a free consultation for a doctor of physical therapy to diagnose the exact cause of your shoulder pain.