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Shoulder Pain Treatment

Woman with shoulder painThe shoulder is a ball and socket joint and is the most mobile joint in our body. Because of this mobility and the fact that several muscles attach to the joint, it is easy for conditions to develop. In fact, nearly 70% of people will experience shoulder pain at some point in their lives. Shoulder pain is one of, if not the most, common chronic issues we see in practice. 30% of shoulder pain cases resolve in 8-12 weeks, but 40% are chronic for longer than a year.

Causes of Shoulder Pain

Poor posture is a common cause of shoulder pain, which we’re seeing now more than ever with increased computer use, video conference calls, online school, cell phone usage, and prolonged sitting. Other causes of shoulder pain include repetitive movements, stress, osteoarthritis, and trauma.

If your shoulder pain is due to joint misalignment, the problem won’t subside until the misalignment is addressed. At our office, we specialize in correcting misalignments through chiropractic care. Finding the root cause is essential to properly treating and managing your shoulder pain.

Here’s a breakdown of more in depth causes of shoulder pain:

A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that helps to cushion and protect a bony area from soft tissue. It relieves pressure from impact on the bone. Bursitis is caused by inflammation of those sacs due to repetitive motion or pressure in an improper manner. Bursitis is prevented through proper warm-ups, stretching, proper lifting techniques, regular exercise, and taking adequate breaks to allow the bursa to heal.

Frozen shoulder is more common in women than in men, as men will continue using their shoulder and women will stop which encourages the frozen shoulder presentation. There’s a greater risk of frozen shoulder if you are recovering from shoulder surgery, a rotator cuff injury, or a fracture. The progression usually goes through a freezing, frozen, and thawing stage, using a range of motion tests, shoulder adjustments and exercise to improve shoulder mobility.

Wear and tear of the cartilage or the joint itself is referred to as osteoarthritis. It results in pain, stiffness, tenderness, swelling, loss of flexibility, and bone spurring. Risk factors for osteoarthritis are age, weight, previous joint injuries, repetitive stress, and lifestyle choices. While arthritis cannot be reversed, the symptoms can be managed in an effort to slow down the process.

Issues with the rotator cuff is a very common shoulder injury. Four muscles are part of the rotator cuff. A patient’s age, family history, occupation, and physical activities are all risk factors for a rotator cuff injury. Treatment usually includes physical therapy, ice and heat, chiropractic adjustments, massage, and acupuncture.

Sprains and strains can affect shoulder mobility and function. Pain, swelling, bruising, limited mobility, and a popping sensation are all signs of a sprain. Utilizing the R.I.C.E – rest, ice, compression, elevation – method of treatment, along with stretching and exercises to increase shoulder mobility, are all effective treatment options.

Tendinitis, also known as pitcher’s or swimmer’s shoulder, can result from an acute injury but is most likely the result of chronic repetitive motion from an occupational or sports injury. Proper prevention techniques – R.I.C.E., acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments – are critical to keeping the issue from becoming severe or chronic.

How We Treat Shoulder Pain

Step 1: Comprehensive Consultation and Exam

Our consultation and exams will focus on the history of the mechanics of the shoulder. We want to understand if there was an inciting injury or if it is a chronic issue from wear and tear. We will conduct a functional exam of the shoulder as well as the cervical and thoracic spine, since those areas are intricately linked to the shoulder joint. We want to focus on getting to the root cause of the problem and addressing any underlying or complicating factors.

Step 2: Digital X-rays

If necessary, we will take digital x-rays. These x-rays will analyze the shoulder joint as well as the cervical and thoracic spine if we think they are a contributing factor. We will visualize the joints of the shoulder and rule out any type of pathologies. It’s critical to know exactly what we’re dealing with before starting care.

Step 3: Focused Chiropractic Care

The shoulder is made up of multiple joints – the glenohumeral joint, the acromioclavicular joint, and the sternoclavicular joint. The acromioclavicular or AC joint is a common injury we see in the office. It is a joint that is located on the anterior portion of the shoulder and is between your arm and the top of your shoulder. We will identify which specific joint has the restriction or subluxation – improper alignment. Based on this information we will adjust the joint, restoring the proper motion and alignment.

Step 4: Massage Therapy and Soft Tissue Work

Massage therapy, or soft tissue work, is also very important for shoulder pain. It helps to loosen any tight muscles to allow the shoulder to move properly. It also helps decrease inflammation through A.R.T (Active Release Technique), therapeutic massage, or cupping. It’s an effective addition to chiropractic adjustments and allows them to hold longer.

Step 5: Custom Therapeutic Exercise Routine

We use custom therapeutic exercises to support the shoulder joint adjustments and healthy spinal structure. This will also address muscle weakness and imbalance – a tightness in one area and a weakness in another. Strengthening exercises will also help to correct forward head posture and upper cross syndrome helping to find the right balance between stability and mobility. Too much of either can lead to more severe problems and compensation in other areas.

We’ll design a customized plan from a functional perspective with exercises to do at home or with a trainer, in addition to the specialized work we’ll do with you in the office.

Other Options for Care

Acupuncture is another effective treatment for shoulder issues. It helps to decrease inflammation and increase healing. It can also decrease adhesions and correct muscle issues in the area.

Nutritional supplementation may help focus on decreasing inflammation and promoting healing while decreasing muscle tension. This will allow for a faster recovery time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I see a chiropractor or doctor for shoulder pain?

Initially, we should always try to be as proactive and conservative as possible with our care. That’s why I’d always seek out a chiropractor first to make sure the biomechanics of the shoulder are correct, have proper shoulder mobility and the thoracic and cervical spine are in the correct alignment. If you’re dealing with a more severe issue, such as a tear or dislocation, you may want to go with a traditional medical consult.

Why is my shoulder pain not going away?

Because you’re not focusing on the root cause of the problem or giving the joint enough time to heal. Sometimes it just takes rest to heal a shoulder injury, but most of the time we have to address the underlying root cause for long-term shoulder pain relief.

What does a pinched nerve in the shoulder feel like?

A pinched nerve is usually a sharp, stabbing pain. Sometimes you may feel numbness, tingling, or weakness.

How should I sleep with shoulder pain?

We usually recommend that patients with shoulder pain sleep on their back or on the opposite side of the pain. You should use a pillow to support your shoulder.

How do I get rid of a pinched nerve in my shoulder?

We will focus on several aspects – the spine’s cervical and upper thoracic curve, forward head posture, brachial plexus, thoracic outlet syndrome, and the shoulder joint itself. All of these aspects are important to assess individually as they are each a component of the overall health of the joint.

Dealing With Shoulder Pain?

If you’re dealing with shoulder pain and ready to try a natural approach for healing, we’d love to welcome you into our care. Contact us today to book an appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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Shoulder Pain Treatment Aurora IL | (630) 820-1330