We manage a great deal of shoulder injuries at our The Backstory Chiropractic. The shoulder is a commonly injured area because it is an unusually mobile joint. The mobility of the shoulder also makes it unstable and predisposed to impingement, muscles tears and tendon injuries.
There are three common causes of shoulder pain:
1. Subacromial Impingement
Subacromial impingement is most often felt as you raise your arm out to your side. The source of pain is the tendons and/or bursa that become crushed between two bones as you raise your arm. When your muscle tendons become damaged, it weakens these muscles and the movements they perform. Impingement occurs as a result of slumped posture, muscle imbalances and shoulder joint laxity.
2. Shoulder Instability
The shoulder is a very mobile joint which makes it susceptible to instability. Shoulder instability is most common in teenagers and young adults. Un unstable shoulder can dislocate but can cause significant pain without ever dislocating. Pain occurs inconsistently with lifting weights or even picking up light objects. The cause of instability is a combination of genetic factors, postural problems and weakness in the small, overlooked muscles that are responsible for maintaining stability.
3. Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that work to hold the shoulder in place. Tears in this muscle group typically occur in people over 40 years old. They can occur slowly over time with degeneration or very suddenly with a specific incident. Most people with a rotator cuff tear notice pain at rest, pain with shoulder movements and weakness in the shoulder.
What treatments can be delivered by a chiropractor for shoulder pain?
Chiropractic treatment for shoulder pain focuses first on making a specific diagnosis of the source of pain. With that your chiropractor can effectively reduce the pain and sensitivity of the area with massage, manipulation, mobilisation and/or dry needling. Next your Chiropractor will address the underlying causes of your shoulder pain:
- Specific strengthening exercises are given to target the weak scapular and shoulder stabilising muscles.
- Massage and stretching of overactive muscles.
- Adjustments of the thoracic spine to improve posture and scapular movement.
- Releasing inflamed tendons, fascia and other soft tissue structures.