3 ways PT can help ease posterior capsule tightness before it turns into a serious injury

August 24, 2022

Posterior capsule tightness, or the inflammation of the shoulder capsule, can cause severe shoulder pain and limit the shoulder’s range of motion. Throwing athletes can be especially at risk of developing posterior capsule tightness, but nonathletes can also develop it. 

What is posterior capsule tightness? 

The posterior capsule is a fluid-filled sac that lubricates the shoulder joint. It allows for the shoulder’s healthy range of motion and helps limit joint stiffness. Sometimes, the capsule can inflame, limiting mobility and causing intense pain. The risk of developing posterior capsule tightness can increase after a major shoulder injury. 

Different shoulder conditions can inflame the posterior capsule and cause tightness. While it can be most notably diagnosed as a symptom of frozen shoulder syndrome, posterior capsule tightness can be linked to many other shoulder conditions. Injuries like shoulder impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendinopathy and rotator cuff tears can feature posterior capsule tightness as a symptom.

No matter the shoulder condition you have, physical therapy can play a major role in reducing posterior capsule shoulder tightness and restoring mobility.

How can PT ease posterior capsule tightness? 

According to a study, as little as four weeks of targeted physical therapy improved patients’ shoulder pain and strength. Physical therapy can help improve posterior capsule tightness by: 

  • Encouraging and increasing mobility — Posterior capsule tightness can worsen over time, especially as a symptom of frozen shoulder syndrome. Gradually, the capsule can thicken, locking the shoulder in place. This can be extremely frustrating and painful for a patient. To help relieve posterior capsule tightness, physical therapists can perform specific exercises that can help reduce the capsule’s inflammation. These exercises can increase the shoulder’s range of motion and help reduce pain and stiffness.
  • Reducing scar tissue and collagen buildup Physical therapists can use techniques that break up capsule swelling and inflammation buildup. Manual therapies like range-of-motion stretches can help ease inflammation around the joint. Doing so can also help decrease tightness and pain associated with it. 
  • Releasing tension around the shoulder joint — Interestingly, posterior capsule tightness can be linked to tension in the muscles around the joint. Soft tissue mobilization can target the shoulder muscles, encouraging blood flow and releasing knots. Releasing muscular tension can help ease tightness and pain around the capsule as a result.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for posterior capsule tightness

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address your posterior capsule tightness.

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.