Shoulder pain is second only to low back and neck pain in terms of what we treat in our clinic. Shoulder pain complaints are most common among athletes, in particular those involved in repetitive throwing and overhead motions such as tennis, volleyball players and swimmers. However, workers who use their arms repetitively in the horizontal or overhead position are also at higher risk.
So what is the cause of the problem?
With the exception of direct traumatic injuries to the shoulder joint itself (such as car accidents and falls) mechanical shoulder pain almost always stems from dysfunctional biomechanics in the neck and upper part of the back.
As we know a subluxated (dysfunctional) vertebra can cause irritation of the spinal nerve root as it exits the vertebral column to reach the part of the body it innervates. Most of the shoulder girdle muscles are innervated by nerves leaving the spine between the fifth cervical vertebrae and the second thoracic vertebrae, hence pressure on these nerves can cause referred pain to the shoulder.
Often however, faulty biomechanics in the neck and upper back cause shoulder problems indirectly. In fact, restrictions to the normal ranges of motion of the upper back and neck can affect the normal movement pattern of the shoulder blade and over time cause enough incoordination in the muscular activity of the shoulder girdle to cause adhesions, local inflammation and eventually chronic impingement of muscle tendons upon movement.
So how can chiropractic help?
With a Complete Neuro-Structural exam our chiropractors will be able to pin point the specific cause of your complaint and lay out the best treatment plan to attend to it.
In general, acute complaints of shoulder pain with a direct involvement of spinal subluxations are quicker to resolve and only require chiropractic care. On the other hand, long-standing problems with underlying muscular adhesions and neuromuscular incoordination will benefit best from a more comprehensive approach. This includes chiropractic treatment and physical therapy in the form of Active Release Technique. In the initial phase of treatment our goal is to restore normal spinal biomechanics and release any chronic adhesions within the shoulder muscles. As the symptoms improve, Redcord Neuromuscular Rehabilitation will re-educate the muscles into correct and coordinated movement patterns and guarantee long-lasting results.