Shoulder Disorders

Even though your pain may be in your shoulder, we examine your entire upper body including posture or mechanics of your work/sport. The way you move is influenced by your neck, back, shoulders and hands. Muscle weakness, decreased flexibility or decreased mobility of a joint can impact surrounding joints. At CPTC, we do a thorough examination of all the joints, supporting muscles and ligaments of the shoulder and we may also assess the cervical spine and the elbow for involvement.

The shoulder complex is comprised of three separate anatomical joints and one functional joint:

Anatomical Joints

    • Glenohumeral joint the main joint of the shoulder, ball and socket joint of head of the humerus and glenoid fossa of the scapula (shoulder blade)
    • Acromioclavicular joint the clavicle (collar bone) connects to the acromion of the scapula (shoulder blade), at the top of the glenohumeral joint
    • Sternoclavicular joint the clavicle (collar bone) connects to the sternum
    • Functional Joint - not considered a true anatomical joint since it does not have ligament or capsule attachments, only attachment to the body is through muscles
    • Scapulothoracic joint formed between the scapula (shoulder blade) and the thoracic ribs

At CPTC, we do a thorough examination of all the anatomical and functional joints, supporting muscles and ligaments, and posture in many positions (static and with movement).

Commonly seen shoulder disorders include (but are not limited to):

• Shoulder impingement
    • primary outside the glenohumeral joint, typically in the Subacromial space (top of the shoulder)
    • secondary outside the glenohumeral joint, typically in the Coracoacromial space (front the shoulder)
    • internal inside the glenohumeral joint, the head of the humerus (ball) pinches the glenoid (socket), pain is most often in the back of the shoulder
• Scapular dyskinesis poor positioning or abnormal movement of the scapula due to muscle imbalance (weakness versus tightness)
• Shoulder bursitis
• Rotator cuff tendonitis/tendonosis/tendonopathy, partial to full thickness tear
• Shoulder instability/multi-directional instability, subluxations, dislocations
• Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)
• Labral tears a tear in the gleniod (socket)
• Muscle strains
• Partial or Total shoulder replacement
• Proximal bicipital tendonitis/tendonosis/tendonopathy (where the bicep attaches to the shoulder)
• Acromioclavicular (AC) joint injuries
• Sternoclavicular joint injuries
• Sternocostal joint injuries location where ribs connect with the sternum
• Thoracic Outlet Syndrome pain, numbness/tingling, and/or weakness down the arm due to compressed nerves (and possibly artery) as it exits the cervical spine (neck)

Depending on your individual needs, your treatment plan may include a wide variety of interventions such as joint mobilizations of any of the above joints, soft tissue mobilizations to surrounding muscles, modalities (electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or iontophoresis if indicated), exercises for strengthening and/or stretching and posture education.

Comprehensive Physical Therapy Center 100 Timberhill Place, Suite #115 Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Phone: (919) 967-5959 Fax: (919) 968-1478 Email:
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