The shoulder is a complicated system of movements and these require inputs from the neck. Mainly, the nerve supply from the shoulder originates from the neck. So a shoulder problem might be more than just the shoulder structures. Instead it might be a compounding problem not only coming from the shoulder but also from the neck.
Did you know that 13.7 million people went to the doctor’s office in 2003 for a shoulder problem, including 3.7 million visits for shoulder and upper arm sprains and strains. (Source: National Center for Health Statistics; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2003 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.)? This is a very common problem that is treatable with conservative treatment like chiropractic, not requiring surgery.
Some common presenting conditions are as follows:
1. Rotator cuff tears
It is usually the rotator cuff tendons (the thick bands of tissue that connect the muscles to the bones) that tear, but sometimes the tear occurs in the muscle. Severe injuries can cause several of the tendons and muscles to tear. There are special movement tests that your doctor can use to help determine which of the muscles or tendons has been torn. If the tear is simply partial it might be easily treatable with conservative treatment not necessarily needing surgery.
2. Shoulder Impingement
This normally occurs after repetitive use after having improper posture doing our normal activities of daily living. For example, sitting in from of the computer all day with our shoulders rolled forward is an improper posture. Doing this day after day is called repetitive micro trauma. It is not one event that causes damage but the compounding of many small events. The structures in the shoulder begin to change shape creating inflammation on the biceps, infraspinatus, and superspinatus tendons. As the micro trauma continues it results in small tears in the involved tendons increasing the thickness and decreasing the ability for the muscles to stretch.
3. Frozen shoulder
Frozen shoulder pain is characterized by reduction in shoulder range of motion. Pain and stiffness are the main complaints.
Generally this condition affects females more than males. This can be caused by a neck or shoulder injury, arthritis, microtrauma, and immobilization.
Frozen shoulder can develop spontaneously, particularly if you have thyroid problems or diabetes seem to be at increased risk.
How your shoulder pain will be treated
Important goals for treatment are to decrease pain and inflammation. It is also important restore full motion into the shoulder joint to start performing activities of daily living.
Conservative chiropractic treatment includes adjusting the shoulder joint and surrounding joints like the elbow and the cervical and thoracic spine. It also may include focus muscle work, scar tissue, heat/ice, nutritional therapy,and strengthen activities.