Physical Therapy for Unstable Shoulders

Physical Therapy for Unstable Shoulders


Shoulder instability is a common condition that is characterized by loosening of the connective tissue (ligaments and joint capsule) surrounding the shoulder joint. This further enables the bones forming the joint to move without any control on each other.
Often, certain movement in the arm results in the wear and tear of the connective tissue. Consequently, the shoulder becomes loose and unsupportive; this further leads to ‘unstable shoulder’. Shoulder instability is normally present in one shoulder. However, occasionally, it may exist in both shoulders.

Treatment for shoulder instability in physiotherapy

Physiotherapy for instability in shoulders fastens the healing process and ensures complete cure of the problem, provided all the instructions by the physiotherapist are followed religiously.
Treatment procedures used in physiotherapy include:

  • Anti-inflammatory advice

Patients are educated by physiotherapists with all the possible reasons that cause shoulder instability. This way, through controlled movement and exercises, inflammation is reduced.

  • Soft tissue massage

Soft tissues that affect the tendons, muscles and ligaments are specifically targeted through soft massage.

  • Protective shoulder taping

Shoulder tapes that are adhesive and rigid in nature are also used to treat unstable shoulders. Through this tape, the shoulder is provided with extra support, and stress in the area is reduced.

  • Dry needling

Dry needling that makes use of hollow-core hypodermic needles for therapy, is also commonly used to relieve patients from excessive pain.

  • Ice and heat therapy

Ice and heat therapy are also commonly used to reduce inflammation and mobility in the joints.

  • Exercises

Exercises practiced for treating unstable shoulder aims at improving rotator cuff strength, shoulder blade stability, shoulder strength, posture and core stability. Some of these exercises are rotator cuff exerciseisometrics andshoulder blade squeezes.

These are only some of the most common techniques that are used; depending on the intensity and urgency of the treatment. There are several other methods which are also useful.

Need any more assistance for your unstable shoulder? Feel free to contact us.