Chiropractic Treatment for Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is a common health problem. It is the third most common musculoskeletal condition, with incidence rates up to 2.5%. In this article, we will be discussing how chiropractic care is the best solution in treating this condition.

Shoulder Pain and Referred Pain

Shoulder pain may arise from within the shoulder joint or from any of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding it. At other times, shoulder pain could arise from another organ in the body. The difference between the two is the shoulder pain from the joint often worsens when you move or use your shoulder or arm.

On the other hand, shoulder pain arising from other structures and organs do not worsen when you move or use your shoulder. This kind of pain is called referred pain. It is often caused by heart disease, abdominal problems, and pelvic conditions. Examples include gallstones, pancreatitis, heart attack, ruptured ovarian cyst, and pericarditis (inflammation of the thin membrane around the heart).

There are several causes of shoulder pain including:

  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Bursitis
  • Dislocation
  • Adhesive capsulitis
  • Overuse of the shoulder joint such as lighting heavyweights, exercise, etc.
  • Arthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Poor shoulder posture

Are Chiropractors Effective at Treating Shoulder Pain?

The simple answer to the question above is “yes”. Research has it that chiropractic care is a good choice of treatment for shoulder pain.

A 2011 review showed that manual and manipulative therapy is proven in several articles to treat a variety of conditions that affect the shoulder. These include rotator cuff disorders, adhesive capsulitis, shoulder disorders, and soft tissue disorders. These manual and manipulative therapy (MMT) are performed on the shoulder, the shoulder girdle, and/or the full kinetic chain (FKC). This therapy could be combined with exercise or other therapies.

Another study among patients with frozen shoulder syndrome stated that these patients experienced improvements in their symptoms after being managed by a novel chiropractic approach.

Chiropractic care, according to a study that evaluated the effectiveness of myofascial therapy, was reported to reduce symptoms of chronic shoulder pain. The approach used was myofascial therapy (or myofascial release).

How Do Chiropractors Treat Shoulder Pain?

The following are chiropractic techniques employed in treating shoulder pain.

  • Myofascial release
  • Stretching
  • Exercise- functional and strengthening exercises
  • Scapular mobilization
  • Manipulation

Myofascial release is a hands-on soft tissue technique used in chiropractic care. It is performed by applying sustained pressure into the tissue barrier for some minutes and then facilitating a stretch into restricted areas that cause pain, tension, and reduce the range of motion. These areas include trigger points, muscle tightness, etc. Myofascial release has been proven to relieve pain and tension, as well as increase the range of motion of the joint.

Stretching as its name implies means stretching your muscles to reduce pain and tension. Myocardial release and stretching could help muscles of the chest and arm- pectoralis major, biceps, and upper trapezius.

Strengthening exercises are also used to treat shoulder pain. Side-lying forward flexion, external rotation, prone extension, and/or pure horizontal abduction are used to strengthen the middle and lower trapezius may be strengthened in. Quadruped and push-ups target the serratus anterior. Scapular mobilization refers to a set of strengthening exercises for shoulder girdle muscles to restore physiological function and motion. Also, these exercises are used to correct dyskinesia- involuntary movement or twitching of muscles.

Manipulation is usually the preferred treatment for shoulder pain. It promotes healing and quick recovery. However, scapular mobilization may help assist in restoring scapular thoracic mobility.

How Can I Prevent Shoulder Pain?

Here’s how to prevent shoulder pain:

  • Rest – If you notice shoulder pain during your chores, exercises, or work, take time to rest. Stop wherever you are doing at that time. You may find something else to do that will not stress that shoulder excessively.
  • Warm-up – Warm-up before doing any major exercise. You could start with a walk and later jog. Don’t just start exercising or doing major training without mild exercises to raise your heart rate, prepare your muscles, and activate the synovial fluid that lubricates your joints.
  • Exercise Gradually – If you have been away from the gym or doing any strenuous activity for a while, do not start wildly and long when you hit the gym again. Instead, start with a few minutes before increasing it to an hour. If it’s weights, you could start with smaller ones and gradually increase them.
  • Change Your Sleeping Position – If sleeping on a side affects your shoulder and causes pain, try the other side or some other convenient sleeping position.
  • Practice Stengthening Exercises – These exercises provide support and stabilization to your shoulder joint. They also make your shoulder joint stronger and prevent shoulder dislocation.

Suffering from Shoulder pain? Book an appointment with a chiropractor today!