Labral Tears: Shoulders (Labral Tears Part 2)

Labral Tears: Shoulders (Labral Tears Part 2)

Last week we covered everything to do with hip labral tears. But another common form of labral tear we see is a shoulder labral tear. A shoulder labral tear occurs when the cartilage supporting the shoulder joint is damaged. This can occur from injury, overuse or with age.  

woman holding right shoulder because of labral tear pain and going to see chiropractor at kaizo health for exercises

What is the shoulder labrum? 

The shoulder labrum is a band of cartilage that supports the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder. It also helps support the rotator cuff tendons and muscles. The shoulder labrum is important for stability of the shoulder.   

What is a labral tear shoulder? 

There are two common types of shoulder labral tears. The two common types are SLAP tears and Bankart tears.  

SLAP Tear 

SLAP stands for “superior labrum from anterior to posterior.” This type of tear occurs in the front of the shoulder where the biceps meets the shoulder joint.  

SLAP tears can be common in athletes that routinely engage in motions using the shoulder (I.e. baseball players, softball players, volleyball players, golfers, etc.)  

Bankart Tear 

A Bankart tear occurs when the labrum is torn from a dislocation. When the shoulder joint slips out of place, the ball joint can pull on the labrum and tear it. A Bankart tear can occur in anyone who suffers a shoulder dislocation. A dislocation can happen due to injury or trauma such as a slip, fall, car accident, etc. 

shoulder labral tear

What does a shoulder labral tear feel like? 

A shoulder labral tear can cause a variety of symptoms. Many patients report tenderness or pain in the shoulder area. A tear can often cause instability so the shoulder feels like it may slip out of place. In some cases, patients also reported grinding, locking or catching sensation while moving the shoulder. 

Can a shoulder labral tear heal without surgery? 

Treatment for a shoulder labral tear will depend on the severity of the tear. Less severe tears can potentially be treated with rest, physical therapy, rehabilitative exercises and various chiropractic treatments.  

Surgery may be considered if previous therapy interventions have not worked but each case. Often times, tears can heal through correcting joint function, strengthening surrounding tissue and muscles, and rest.  

man showing pain in right shoulder from labral tear pain

How to sleep with a labral tear shoulder? 

If you’re a side sleeper, try to avoid sleeping on the side of the injured shoulder. Lying on your back can help reduce pressure on the shoulder and provide a more comfortable sleeping postion.  

Another suggestion is put place a pillow under your arm to help support the shoulder. 

Ways To Prevent Shoulder Labral Tears 

One of the best forms of medicine is prevention! By incorporating shoulder strengthening and mobility exercises into your routine you can help avoid shoulder labral tears when possible.  

A few exercises we recommend include: 

  • 90/90 Kettlebell Carries – hold a light to moderate weight kettlebell in one hand. Raise arm above head at a 90 degrees angle. Hold kettlebell in 90-degree position while you walk forward and backwards. 
  • Unilateral Dumbbell Carries – carry a dumbbell with one arm while you walk forward and backwards 
  • Yoga Ball Prone Shoulder External Rotation – using a Swiss/yoga ball to support your chest/weight, lie face down. Place arms and shoulders in a 90-degree angle away from your face (arm should look like a goal post). Slowly raise arms with or without dumbbell from the ground until they are level with ears and head. Slowly lower arms/weight back to the ground and repeat.  
  • Plank Kettlebell Pull Throughs – start in a plank position. Once positioned correctly, pull kettlebell or dumbbell from left side with right arm to the right side. Then switch arms and pull kettlebell/dumbbell back through to the left with your left arm.  
woman's back of right shoulder

Labral Tear Rehabilitative Exercises 

If you’ve suffered a labral tear in the shoulder or recently had surgery to fix a tear, there are a few exercises you can do to help regain strength and mobility in the shoulder. Please note, all treatments, exercises and protocols should be approved by your doctor. Many doctors and surgeons have specific protocols based on each individual case so please consult them first. 

A few of our favorite post-op exercises include:  

  • Pendulums 
  • Active Shoulder Scaptions  
  • Shoulder ISOS 
  • Scapular retractions 

If you are experiencing shoulder pain and believe you may have suffered a shoulder labral tear, you can reach out to a shoulder chiropractor for an evaluation. A chiropractor will do a full history, exam and evaluation and prescribe a treatment plan or advise on the best course of action. 

Get Treated at Kaizo Health    

Our goal at Kaizo Health is to always get you back to feeling 100%. Our doctors provide treatment to help you be pain-free. We also have a dedicated team that will work with you and your insurance. We want to make sure you get the most from your benefits. You should experience relief for as little cost to you as possible. If you are ready to experience relief from the pain, make an appointment to see us now.        

Kaizo Health offers locations in Rockville, MD; Landover, MD; Fort Washington, MD; and Fairfax, VA. Our doctors an evidence-based approach by combining chiropractic care and individualized rehabilitative exercises. We provide the treatment and resources you need to recover your health. We are here to help! If you’d like more information, check out our blog. You can also take our free virtual self-assessment on app here