When you think about your local chiropractor, what comes to mind? Back pain? Neck pain? Maybe sciatica or joint pain. Most people never seem to link chiropractic care with shoulder pain and yet, it remains one of the most effective ways to treat painful shoulders and arms.
Some of the typical types of shoulder pain issues include:
While many people believe that they either must live with shoulder pain or have surgery, the fact is that comprehensive chiropractic is extremely effective in treating shoulder pain and restoring range of motion.
Absolutely! Shoulder pain is often due to an irritation of the tendons, muscles, ligaments or nerves in the area. Other times, it’s due to an inflamed bursa capsule, called bursitis. Sprained or strained triceps muscles (which is in the upper arm) or the subscapularis muscle (underneath the shoulder blade itself) is sometimes to blame.
Your chiropractor will do a through exam and discover the root cause of your shoulder or arm pain, then create a treatment plan to address the underlying issue.
Frozen shoulder is a very painful problem that is absolutely debilitating! It makes everyday tasks, such as brushing your hair or putting on a shirt, impossible! Frozen shoulder will ruin a good night’s sleep with the pain and, if left untreated, sometimes leads to the inability to use the affected shoulder/arm for years!
Chiropractic care will treat frozen shoulder, reducing the pain, while the shoulder heals itself.
If you have ever wondered if chiropractic is good for shoulder pain, you will want to keep reading and discover the 4 main ways chiropractic can stop that annoying shoulder pain.
Can a chiropractor help with bursitis of the shoulder? Yes, they certainly can! Bursitis is a painful inflammation of the bursa sac that can take months to heal and even then, scar tissue can make this condition chronic and continue to be painful for years afterwards if not treated promptly,
Ultrasound has been shown to lower inflammation, along with chiropractic massage therapy, which not only reduces pain, but helps to break down scar tissue. Once inflammation is under control, chiropractic manipulation of the joint alleviates the pressure and friction over the affected bursa area. One study found that, even a month after treatment, subjects who received chiropractic care and ultrasound had no pain and had returned to their normal activities.
Sometimes, your chiropractor might also suggest the use of herbal anti-inflammatories to help reduce inflammation more quickly. Bursitis, like tendonitis, tends to reoccur, making regular chiropractic care a vital part of your ongoing health care regimen.
Many people believe that the only way to heal an injury to the rotator cuff is surgery, but this isn’t what the facts say. Rotator Cuff Syndrome is an inflammation of the muscles that support the shoulder. Inflammation causes pain, stiffness, and even weakness that can spread to the neck area. If you are unable to raise your arm(s) over your head or scratching your back, or if sleeping on that side is painful, you might have a rotator cuff injury.
Most patients who have damaged rotator cuffs need chiropractic massage therapy to release trigger points and relax the tight muscles in the arm pit and anterior shoulder. Ultrasound is also helpful to reduce inflammation and if your chiropractor believes it necessary, they might also employ the use of cold laser, to allow the micro tears in the muscles to heal more quickly.
Once pain has been reduced and the shoulder is more flexible, you will need rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the muscles and stabilize the shoulder. Only if these treatments fail after 6 months will surgery be necessary, but this is rarely the case.
Frozen shoulder occurs in about 2% of all adults, most often striking those between the ages of 40 and 60. This condition is also more often seen in women, than men, although the reason for this is unknown. Frozen shoulder is when the shoulder becomes so stiff and painful that a person either cannot move their shoulder or the shoulder appears to be “frozen” in place.
Frozen shoulder happens when the connective tissue in the shoulder joint becomes very thick and tight, forming tough bands of tissue called adhesions. The reason why the body does this is unknown. Most doctors will suggest surgery to remove the adhesions, but chiropractic care has been proven to be extremely effective in healing this painful problem.
Most people will benefit from low force instrument adjustments and chiropractic massage therapy. Your chiropractor might also suggest ultrasound or cold laser, as well as a set of exercises designed to restore a range of motion to the shoulder.
Chiropractic care can provide a very effective method of treatment for frozen shoulder that eliminates the need for prescription pain medication, steroid injections, or surgery.
Tendonitis happens when the tissues which connect the muscle to the bone becomes inflamed. Inflammation causes rather intense pain. In some cases, tendonitis becomes so extreme that the shoulder is virtually immobile since trying to move it causes debilitating pain. More than 4 million US adults will seek some type of medical care for tendonitis.
While most cases of tendonitis occur in those over the age of 40, it can also happen to people who are involved in accidents, play sports, or have jobs that require repetitive motion, such as carpentry. Most doctors will suggest steroid injections to stop the inflammation, but corticosteroids are so damaging that these can only be used two or three times maximum before they end up causing more damage to the tissues of the body than the inflammation.
After your chiropractor has done a through exam and examined imaging tests, such as x-rays, they will design a treatment plan designed especially for you. The doctor will want to reduce inflammation at first, which can be done through herbal anti-inflammatories, ice therapy, use of a TENS device, and chiropractic massage.
Once pain and inflammation have been reduced, the doctor will most likely use a combination of joint manipulation, adjustments, stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as instructing the patient on how to avoid a repeat performance of tendonitis. This usually involves changing the way the patient performs certain tasks.
There is no reason to think of this as an either-or situation. Chiropractic care and massage are the perfect complimentary couple! This is why you will find nearly every chiropractic clinic offers massage therapy on site.
Massage will loosen tight muscles and relax the body, as well as improving circulation, which reduces inflammation and promotes healing. This preps the body for the chiropractic adjustment, allowing the doctor to more easily manipulate the joints.
Your chiropractor can also diagnose the root cause of your shoulder pain, which is something that a massage therapist cannot do. Why not take advantage of both by making your first choice for shoulder pain a visit to your local chiropractor?
This will depend on the problem and the extent of the damage or injury.
Most people find that the pain subsides significantly within the first week or two, but this doesn’t mean that your shoulder is healed, and you can stop treatment. It is vital that you continue with your chiropractor’s treatment plan until the end to ensure that your shoulder fully heals and that the problem does not return.
If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t remove the cast after two weeks simply because your leg stopped hurting, would you? This really isn’t much different.
Inflammation tends to decrease within the first 3 weeks but complete healing, in most cases, will take about 6 weeks. Even after healing has taken place, it will still take some time to break down the scar tissue that has formed so that the shoulder will have complete mobility restored.
It’s important that you discover the root cause of shoulder pain so that it can be treated correctly. Your chiropractor will have you perform a range of movements to see where the shoulder or other problem is so that it can be corrected.
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At Better Health Chiropractic and Rehab, we encourage you to call one of our 4 clinics if you are experiencing pain in your shoulder. Like all chiropractors, we also treat back pain, neck pain, sciatica and other types of joint pain, as well as many other conditions.
You don’t have to live with shoulder pain or go through the risks of surgery. We can help you heal without drugs, without surgery, and help put you on the road to recovery. Call us today.
Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.