In order of frequency, after the back pains and the neck pains, the shoulder pain is the most commonly treated area by our chiropractors.
It is a very interesting joint – it allows you to move your arm in many different directions and subsequently perform many tasks from day to day. It is a ball and socket joint, which is wrapped up in a relatively loose bag (called the shoulder capsule) to permit a lot of mobility.
Shoulder movements are heavily influenced by the dynamics of your shoulder blade, collarbone, neck, mid back and ribs.
Alongside this, we have the ligaments, which hold the joint together with the muscles that move the joint with great power and accuracy. The price we have to pay for such a sophisticated joint is that a dysfunction in any of its components can affect the way our shoulders work, which, over time can produce painful shoulder conditions. This would include, simple sprains and strains, tendonitis, frozen shoulders and many other painful and disabling conditions.
If neglected, like almost all musculo-skeletal conditions, shoulder problems can, over time, deteriorate and lead to compensatory mechanisms elsewhere in the body.
This can in turn cause secondary painful conditions. Hence why a lot of shoulder conditions seen by chiropractors are associated with neck pain and headaches.
The neck joints can be placed under undue stress because of the lack of movement in the shoulder joint. The neck muscles and joints are being recruited to try and perform the work the shoulder joint would usually do – a task this area is not designed to carry out. Conversely, it could be that the shoulder pain is due to the neck itself being dysfunctional.
Either way a shoulder condition needs to be assessed thoroughly to determine the exact cause of the problem.
Chiropractors and physiotherapists are highly competent in the non-surgical management of shoulder conditions. Their aim is to determine the exact source of the problem, whether it comes from a weak muscle, a restricted neck vertebrae or a collarbone dysfunction. A management plan consisting mainly of hands-on treatment, exercises and lifestyle advice, is then drafted out.
The fact is, the longer you put up with your shoulder pain, the more difficult it will be for your practitioner to sort out.
If you’ve had a shoulder problem for a while, and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better, come and see us. We’ll be more than happy to help.
For further information on how chiropractors help with shoulders, or other sporting type injuries, read this article from the British Chiropractic Association.