The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the human body. We are able to reach over our head, behind our back, and across the front of our body. This extreme motion in the shoulder can lead to shoulder injuries rather easily. The shoulder joint is very shallow and is held together mostly by ligaments. The muscles surrounding the shoulder are what actually give it most of its stability and strength. The rotator cuff is a group of small muscles that hold the humerus, the bone in the upper arm, against the shoulder joint. Several muscles in the upper chest and upper back stabilize the shoulder even further by ensuring smooth and even motion of the shoulder.
Shoulder pain can range from a mild annoyance to inability to move the shoulder due to pain. This is because shoulder pain can actually come from many different causes. Mild shoulder pain following over-use is often caused by swelling and inflammation of the muscles, tendons or joint itself. This is referred to as tendonitis or bursitis and will often go away on its own in a few days. Pain that lasts past a few days is something that should be evaluated by your Chiropractor. Lasting pain or more severe pain can indicate more serious conditions such as rotator cuff syndrome.
Rotator cuff syndrome is caused by inflammation, swelling, or even tears in the muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff. The most common tendon injured in rotator cuff syndrome is the supraspinatus tendon. The supraspinatus tendon is on the top of the shoulder and is located between two bones. Whenever you raise your arm to the side and up to your ear, the supraspinatus tendon can be pinched between the two bones. Any muscular imbalances between the upper chest and the upper back can place the supraspinatus tendon in a position where it is even more likely to be pinched. Muscular imbalances between the chest and upper back are common because many people have poor posture and tend to let the shoulders sag forward. Rotator cuff syndrome causes shoulder pain in the front and side of the shoulder, and the pain is often worse at night. Lifting the arm to the side, especially if you are holding anything, is very painful. Any activity that involves a lot of overhead arm motion, such as swimming, throwing, or even sleeping with your arm up, can cause rotator cuff syndrome.
Rotator cuff syndrome can lead to other shoulder problems if it is not treated quickly and effectively. Many people with rotator cuff syndrome will stop using the shoulder because it is too painful. This can actually lead to frozen shoulder. A frozen shoulder is caused by adhesions that develop between the tendons and ligaments. These adhesions actually cause the structures to get stuck together, and this can severely limit shoulder motion. Another complication of rotator cuff syndrome is degenerative changes in the shoulder. If the rotator cuff is injured and not rehabilitated properly, years later the shoulder can develop calcium deposits in the tendons or osteoarthritis in the joint itself.
To minimize complications from your shoulder injury, you should seek an evaluation if you have shoulder pain that lasts past a few days. Even though there are many causes of shoulder pain, the treatment for most conditions is similar. It is important to keep the shoulder moving to avoid the complication of frozen shoulder. Your Chiropractor will tell you what shoulder motions to emphasize and which ones to avoid as your injury heals. Therapeutic treatments, such as ultrasound and ice, can be used to remove the inflammation in the shoulder. Removing the inflammation in the joint usually results in a significant decrease in pain. Specific muscle stretching and at home exercises are used to correct any muscular imbalances between the upper back and chest. Correcting these imbalances helps to ensure smooth and even shoulder motion. Most shoulder conditions do not require surgery. However, if your pain does not resolve with these conservative treatments, further testing, such as an MRI, may be required to determine exactly how much shoulder damage is present.
To determine if chiropractic care could help you manage your shoulder pain, or to speak with a chiropractor in the Edwardsville, IL area, call Dr. Emily Brueggeman at 618-692-0000 . Ask for a free Invitation to Health that includes a consultation and screening to determine if yours is a chiropractic case.