Rotator cuff describes four small muscles and tendons that hold the ball of your shoulder into its shallow socket. Strains and injuries to the rotator cuff are the most common cause for shoulder problems. The vast majority of rotator cuff injuries are the result of repetitive strains occurring over a long period of time. Repeated overhead activities are at the greatest risk for developing rotator cuff injuries. Pain is generally localized in the front and outside of the shoulder and can sometimes radiate down your arm or pinch every time you move your arm. You may have difficulty lifting your arm or sleeping. Chiropractic care has been shown to be as effective as surgery for chronic, non-traumatic rotator cuff injuries. Chiropractors are trained to perform joint manipulation, which relieves shoulder pain caused by the rotator cuff. Additional chiropractic care, such as myofascial release, massage, stretching and strengthening exercises, are all beneficial treatments for rotator cuff injuries.

How can chiropractic help my shoulder pain?

Upper back and shoulder painYour chiropractor looks at your overall health, focusing not only on your shoulder, but also on your lifestyle, such as diet and amount of daily exercise. This integrated approach helps determine the best treatment for your shoulder pain. To help identify the cause of your problem, you and your chiropractor will discuss your symptoms and previous injuries, your family health history, and your lifestyle, including recreational and work related physical activities.

Your chiropractor is uniquely qualified to restore the health of your spine and neck. Special chiropractic techniques may relieve the pressure that is causing your shoulder pain. After locating the misaligned vertebrae in your neck, your chiropractor manually applies gentle pressure and repositions the vertebrae. These adjustments can help restore alignment, improve mobility, and relieve pain and stiffness.

Your chiropractor may recommend other types of treatment for relieving your shoulder pain. These may include ice packs, massage, traction, or stretching and strengthening exercises. Your chiropractor can discuss these with you.

Types of shoulder pain:

  • Bursitis: The most common diagnosis in patients with shoulder pain is bursitis or tendonitis of the rotator cuff. Bursitis is an inflammation of a fluid-filled sac, or bursa, that lies between tendon and skin or between tendon and bone. Normally a bursa protects the joint and helps make movement more fluid.
  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: Tendonitis is when tendons become compressed under the rigid bony arch of the shoulder. The compressed tendons become inflamed or damaged and cause pain. This can occur from general wear and tear, aging, from an activity that requires constant shoulder use like baseball pitching, or an injury.
  • Arthritis: Shoulder arthritis is less common than knee and hip arthritis, but when severe, may require a joint replacement surgery. Arthritis is a gradual narrowing of the joints and loss of protective cartilage in the joints about the shoulder.
  • Rotator Cuff Tear: A Rotator cuff tear occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff separate from the bone. Surgery is sometimes necessary for this condition.
  • Frozen Shoulder: Also called ‘adhesive capsulitis,’ this is a common condition that leads to stiffness of the joint. Physical therapy and stretching are extremely important aspects for treatment.
  • Calcific Tendonitis: Calcific tendonitis is a condition of calcium deposits within a tendon — most commonly within the rotator cuff tendons. Treatment of calcific tendonitis depends on the extent of symptoms.
  • Labral Tear: A Bankart lesion is a type of labral tear most commonly due to dislocation of the joint. Bankart lesions cause problems of persistent instability.
  • Shoulder Instability: Instability is a problem that causes a loose joint. Instability can be caused by a traumatic injury (dislocation), or may be a developed condition.
  • Shoulder Dislocation: A dislocation is an injury that occurs when the top of the arm bone becomes disconnected from the scapula.
  • Shoulder Separation: Also called an AC separation, these injuries are the result of a disruption of the acromioclavicular joint. This is a very different injury from a dislocation!
  • SLAP Lesion: The SLAP lesion is also a type of labral tear. The most common cause is a fall onto an outstretched hand.
  • Biceps Tendon Rupture: A proximal biceps tendon rupture occurs when the tendon of the biceps muscle ruptures near the joint.

The treatment of most symptoms of the shoulder is relatively the same. Muscle imbalances can be fixed with chiropractic treatment that includes soft tissue mobilization modalities to restore proper mobility to the shoulder joints and to correct any subluxations in the spine. Special rehabilitation exercises recommended by your chiropractor are also crucial for a complete and speedy recovery.

Why does my shoulder hurt? Is it possible my shoulder pain is coming from bad posture?

We all know that chiropractic can be very effective for back pain… however it can also be very effective for extremity injuries as well. With over 15 years’ experience, I treat much more than the low back. One of the most common extremities we work on here at Hart Chiropractic is the shoulder. Shoulder injuries can happen at any age and don’t have to be sports related, in fact, many of the shoulder pain cases I am seeing lately aren’t truly shoulder related. The pain is a result of poor posture.

As many more of us are spending our days at computers and staring down at cell phones, the epidemic of the hunchback is becoming a reality. Posture check! Are you slouched over a chair, sitting cross-legged? Even as you are reading this your head is in forward flexion.

It’s far too common that we slump though our day with our mid backs slouched over and our shoulders rolled forward. Shoulder pain is often a result of poor posture which causes the loss of mobility to the neck and mid back. This causes the tissues around your shoulder to overwork and strain. Patients can experience general achiness around the shoulder or numbness and tingling radiating from the shoulder down the arm. As a chiropractor, I always check the mid back thoracic area and neck for subluxations, even the clavicle being stuck can cause this loss of mobility and stresses the shoulder.

It’s important to find the root cause of the shoulder pain to treat it correctly. Through a series of movement tests, I can see exactly where and if the body is stuck and address the problem. If the shoulder pain is coming from the midback and neck, treatment can involve chiropractic adjustments, manual therapy, and taping of the areas. Treatment length depends on the severity of the problem.

If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder and can’t trace it back to a sports injury or specific event, I encourage you to find a doctor of chiropractic to see if your shoulder pain is a result of bad posture.

Your body needs to move! Especially for our kids who start at such a young age with using technology. Let’s start them on the path of correct posture to avoid having to fix them later in life. Posture affects your entire body. I highly recommend to all my patients to balance out your daily poor posture by doing yoga or working with a trainer who can help strengthen the core. It’s important in this tech age that we stay active and keep moving.