Like many other joints in your body, the human shoulder is a marvel of engineering. It can rotate in a number of directions, extend, and flex. In fact, the shoulder joint is crucial to the ability to manipulate tools and generally live life as a two-legged creature.
However, the shoulder is not the most stable of joints. It does not constantly bear weight and a few ligaments generally hold it steady. Since it is capable of a wide range of motion, it is subject to a number of problems. These issues can occur in people of any gender or age, but those who engage in regular overhead work or sports like baseball, tennis, and golf are particularly prone to shoulder injuries.
Fortunately, chiropractic treatment can often aid shoulder issues by easing pain and restoring range of motion. Here are three common shoulder complaints and how chiropractic medicine can help relieve them.
Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
The shoulder joint is actually made up of three bones, the head of the humerus, the scapula, and the clavicle. When any of these bones impinge, or pinch, the shoulder tendons or joint capsule, shoulder impingement syndrome can result. This syndrome is characterized by pain, especially with overhead motions. The pain is persistent and typically will not fully resolve on its own.
Rotator Cuff Syndrome
The rotator cuff refers to the collection of tendons and muscles that hold your shoulder in position. If, through overuse or injury, these tendons become inflamed, you may experience pain and shoulder dysfunction. The symptoms of rotator cuff syndrome can vary from a slight catching sensation to excruciating pain that prevents use of your shoulder.
A frozen shoulder occurs when the rotator cuff has been damaged to the point that adhesions, or thick fibrous tissue, form. These adhesions can prevent or greatly reduce your shoulder’s range of motion. Frozen shoulder often results from other untreated or improperly treated shoulder issues, such as rotator cuff syndrome.
It’s important to visit your chiropractor during the initial onset of shoulder pain or movement difficulties. The longer you ignore your symptoms, the worse the problem can become.
The first steps your chiropractor will usually take are a complete physical examination followed by x-rays. These measures are important to determine your exact shoulder problem, especially since different shoulder issues can present with similar symptoms.
Next, your chiropractor will speak with you about an appropriate course of treatment. This may consist of adjustments directly to your shoulder joint along with spinal adjustments to ensure that your shoulder is receiving proper blood flow and that nerve signals are traveling freely. Massage, icing, heat, electrostimulation, and ultrasound therapy may also be important parts of your treatment plan to soothe inflamed tissues and break up any adhesions.
Additionally, your chiropractor is likely to recommend some rehabilitative exercises for your shoulder problem. These are useful for strengthening your rotator cuff and restoring full range of motion. By working in conjunction with your chiropractor and following their expert advice on physiotherapy, you’ll likely notice an improvement in shoulder symptoms after a few treatment sessions.