Did you know that about half of all people have shoulder pain in any given year? And that only about half of all people with new shoulder pain have their conditions resolved within six months? It's only natural to ask why shoulder pain seems so easy to get and hard to fix.
The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body. Because of the flexibility of the shoulder, you can move your arm forward, backward, up, down, in, and out. This motion is provided by a wide variety of muscles that attach the arm to the body by every conceivable angle.
However, the bones of the shoulder don't fit together very well. This means that the shoulder is a tradeoff: instead of being sturdy and strong like other bony and ligamentous joints, it relies only on muscles to provide stability.
We use our arms to work (many jobs require overhead work, for example) and play (shoulder complaints are common among athletes in weight lifting, baseball, football, or swimming). The muscles of the shoulder can produce pain whether they are used repetitively, used incorrectly, used insufficiently, or are suddenly stretched or pulled. It is little wonder, then, that the shoulder is a frequently injured joint and a major cause for chiropractic office visits.
It is important to try to prevent shoulder injuries, but once pain is felt, it is equally important to receive prompt and throrough treatment. Since many of the structures of the shoulder receive a relatively poor blood supply, they also have relatively lengthy healing times. Those healing times can be shorter by seeing a doctor right away.
How We Can Help Your Shoulder Pain
Dr. Johnson will investigate the cause of your shoulder pain, since different causes need to be treated in different ways. If your shoulder pain is the result of a serious or life-threatening condition, Dr. Johnson will refer you immediately to the proper care.
Your shoulder pain might be the result of problems in your neck: problems that you didn't even know you have! Since all the nerves which supply your shoulder exit the spinal cord in the neck, neck pain or neck stiffness can tend to cause pain that feels as though it originates in the shoulder. This is why Dr. Johnson will be careful to examine your whole body, and not just your shoulder.
If your shoulder pain is the result of muscle or tendon problems, Dr. Johnson has many techniques to help reduce the pain and, even better, to help solve the cause of the pain. Our goal is to ensure that your pain does not return. The chiropractic adjustment has been proven to help many conditions arising from muscular imbalances around the acromioclavicular joint, shoulder blade, and shoulder joint. Tendonitis and bursitis respond particularly well to ultrasound therapy. Cold laser therapy has proven effective for adhesive capsulitis. Painful trigger points in the muscle can be eliminated with cold laser therapy, Activator work, and other soft tissue therapies.
It is also vital that your shoulder rehabilitation begin quickly. Since the shoulder joint is supposed to be in motion, the sooner you can resume normal activities and low-level exercises, the better. Dr. Johnson will work with you to make sure that your shoulder can move freely in all the directions it should.
- strain or sprain of the rotator cuff (most commonly the supraspinatus), biceps, triceps
- cervical nerve dysfunction ("pinched nerve") due to disc herniation, neck vertebra misalignment, or stenosis
- osteoarthritis or an inflammatory arthritis
- a widespread joint condition such as fibromyalgia or Lyme Disease
- thoracic outlet syndrome
- acromioclavicular separation
- adhesive capsulitis ("frozen shoulder syndrome")
- shoulder dislocation
- fracture of the arm, shoulder blade, or collarbone
- torn labrum
- referred pain from another organ, such as the heart, liver, gallbladder, lungs, or diaphragm
- breast cancer
- bone cyst
- drug side effects