We see many shoulder injuries at 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, muscle tears and tendon injuries. If you’re dealing with shoulder pain, our clinic in Caringbah may be able to help. Read on to learn more about the causes of shoulder pain we see most frequently.
The three most common causes of shoulder pain
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.
1. 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.
2. Frozen shoulder
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterised by pain and stiffness of the shoulder joint. It often develops slowly over time and can affect anyone, but it is most commonly seen in people aged 40-60 years old. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe but generally include pain in the shoulder joint, difficulty moving the arm and decreased range of motion. Chiropractic treatment can be helpful for frozen shoulder as a means of managing the symptoms and improving movement of the affected joint.
3. Rotator cuff tears
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that work together to stabilise the shoulder joint. These muscles are responsible for allowing us to lift and rotate our arms. Tears in the rotator cuff can occur in people of all ages, but they are most common in those over 40 years old. The tear can be caused by progressive wear and tear of the tendon tissue over time or from a sudden injury such as falling on an outstretched arm. Rotator cuff tears can be painful and debilitating, but with proper diagnosis and treatment you can get back to living an active life without limitation.
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.