Shoulder pain and injury can be long standing if not properly treated and cared for. The shoulder is sophisticated in its mechanics: the clavicle, the scapula, and the humerus (bones) are moved in rotation with each other, as well as stabilized by the muscles of the rotator cuff, the pectorals, and many others.
The elbow, the neck, and the ribs may also be involved when there is pain or injury. All these areas must be assessed and attended to for best results in treatment.
When a person has fallen or been injured recently, they will often come into the office with a shoulder strain (torn or overstretched muscle) or shoulder sprain (torn or overstretched ligament.) The injured muscles and/or ligament can be quickly identified with Applied Kinesiology muscle testing. Treatment with focus on the injured muscles and ligaments and chiropractic adjusting of the necessary regions can bring fast improvement.
When a problem is not addressed right away, more chronic (long-time) shoulder problems can develop. Tendinitis develops usually near the area that is injured and is generally not the specific injury site, but it is in the muscle that has to compensate for the injury. For example: the rotator cuff is a muscle group comprised of four muscles: infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor. If the subscapularis is chronically weak because of strain or other injury, tendinitis can develop in the infraspinatus tendon, or the supraspinatus tendon. Tendinitis can be felt when a person moves their shoulder, for example lifting the arm up over the head. It tends to be disruptive of sleep because it hurts to lie on it.
Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a very stiff shoulder that can’t be moved through its normal range of motion, and typically the arm can’t be raised up over the head. This can be the result of progression of a simple strain or sprain, often the shoulder or neck. However, I have seen it be secondary to a low back issue, and even a completely non-structural cause, an intense, possibly autoimmune reaction to a prescription drug that was concurrently taken off the market. In any case, frozen shoulder represents chronic shoulder weakness and joint dysfunction.
Frozen shoulder can be extremely debilitating and disabling. I have had good success and complete reversal of many cases of frozen shoulder in my office, with no surgery or injections. I can say from experience there was no similarity from case to case of what treatment or adjustment or other therapeutic effort made the biggest difference. Every one was different and it was like solving a puzzle. Some of the most professionally and personally rewarding moments in my career were seeing someone lift their arm up over there head when they have had sometimes months or even years of living with a frozen shoulder.
All bones of the shoulder, including the shoulder blade, can be adjusted by a chiropractor. Along with the required muscle and ligament treatment, I recommended that the entire spine be assessed and treated, as well as the elbow, for the best outcome.
Some of the important shoulder muscles that I assess routinely:
- Teres Minor and Major
- Pectoralis Major and Minor
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Upper, Middle and Lower Trapezius
- Levator Scapula
The most common ligaments that I work on in simple and complex shoulder problems are the acromioclavicular ligament (AC joint ligament), the coracoclavicular ligament, and the sternoclavicular ligament. Elbows can sometimes require some focused ligament massage for best resolution of a shoulder problem.
You can make an appointment here for treatment of shoulder pain or call (503) 239-5575.