When your shoulder is stiff, you realize how much you depend on it for your everyday tasks. There are several shoulder problems you could be suffering from and a chiropractor can evaluate and diagnose what condition you are suffering from. Some of the most common shoulder injuries are:
Neurological referred pain can radiate to the shoulders from nerve roots that are inflamed and squeezed together in your neck or from problems in your internal organs. “Referred” pain is described as a dull ache that gradually gets worse.
Bursitis and tendonitis is caused by years of overusing your shoulder by doing the same motion day in and day out (lifting, reaching, etc.). Repeated overuse can inflame the bursa and tendons of your shoulder. The mobility in your shoulder will be limited due to the localized pain.
Degenerative arthritis is part of the aging process. This is normal wear and tear that damages the bone, cartilage and saclike bursa in your shoulder. The pain gets progressively worse as the unprotected bone surfaces rub together.
A rotator cuff injury is when one or more of the four rotator cuff tendons that hold your arm in place are inflamed or torn. This injury is very painful and limits the mobility of your shoulder.
A frozen shoulder is when you underused your shoulder. This can lead to adhesions, which limits your shoulder movement until is “freezes”.
A thorough examination including orthopedic and neurologic testing and X-ray or MRI studies, if necessary, will help to determine your exact diagnosis and individualized treatment plan. Chiropractic manipulation (adjustment) of the spinal and extremity joints is very effective in restoring normal function to the joints, as well as to the surrounding muscles and nerves. This usually leads to a decrease in pain and faster recovery. Part of your treatment may also include some of the following: acupuncture, therapeutic exercises, electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, and ice or heat therapy. Massage therapy and myofascial release techniques may also be used in conjunction with these other therapies in order to get the best results.
If your condition is unresponsive to conservative treatment, an appropriate referral will be made promptly. More invasive therapies should only be considered if conservative therapy fails.
Rotator Cuff Syndrome
A common injury of the shoulder joint involving a tear or multiple tears of the rotator cuff muscles–a team of muscles and connecting tendons that attach your upper arm to your shoulder blade. A tear may be due to a fall on an outstretched arm, overuse, impingement, or minor stresses in the elderly. The rotator cuff helps to stabilize the shoulder throughout all its motion.
Symptoms include painful or painless weakness in the shoulder; pain on the outside of the shoulder possibly radiating down into the arm or front of the neck; pain in the shoulder, which is worse at night; stiffness in the shoulder joint.
Treatment includes ice massage, bracing, modalities, adjustments, stretching/strengthening, myofacial release and rest.
The bursa and tendons of the shoulder are vulnerable to impingement. Structural causes are degenerative changes in the bone, a weak rotator cuff, swollen bursa, or if a bone spur develops. An impingement can cause tendonitis if you participate in any sports or activities that require a repetitive shoulder movement, such as overhead reaching.
Symptoms include pain that is worse with overhead activities; soreness and swelling.