In Canada, shoulder and neck pain are common ailments affecting adults of working age, and the impact of the pain varies. Even when mild, the pain could still prevent the people from enjoying their life fully, or performing job-related tasks. Intense shoulder pains, meanwhile, can be a symptom of an underlying problem.
One of the best ways to relieve and treat shoulder pain is through chiropractic care. Pains, wherever they might occur, are often caused by a misaligned or strained musculoskeletal system. Special chiropractic methods can be used to realign the musculoskeletal system to completely heal most shoulder pains.
When to see a chiropractor
First, it’s important to determine what constitutes serious shoulder pain. This is because we all feel pain in the shoulders from times to time, especially after sitting for long hours or working for an extended period. That small pain doesn’t always necessitate chiropractic treatment.
The following are some of the conditions that require chiropractic care:
- Frozen shoulder
Also known as an adhesive capsulitis, a frozen shoulder is a persistent and painful stiffness that often limits range of shoulder movement. Frozen shoulders mostly occur when there is swelling, tightening, or thickening of tissues that surround the shoulder. Diabetes and stroke are risk factors.
People with frozen shoulders find simple tasks such as dressing impossible. You may also not be able to drive and even sleeping becomes a chore. In worst cases, you may not be able to move your shoulder at all.
- Rotator cuff disorders
The rotator cuff is a collection of tendons and muscles found around the shoulder joint. Tendons are tough cords that link your muscles to your bones. This network of muscles and tendons help to keep the shoulder in position, enabling it to move in a controlled way.
There are two main types of rotator cuff injuries; tendonitis and bursitis. Tendonitis refers to inflammation or swelling of the tendons. Bursitis refers to inflammation of the bursa (a small fluid-filled sac found in the shoulder joint, between the bones and the tendons).
- Torn muscles
Muscle tears are generally also considered as rotator cuff disorders. The simplest way to know if you have a muscle tear is severe pain in the shoulder. The affected arm may also become weaker, while some people have reported a popping sensation when they move the shoulder.
These tears are most common in adults aged 40 or more where they are caused by impingement syndrome. It is estimated that close to half of people aged over 60 have partial to complete shoulder tears. In younger people, the tears tend to be associated with accidents.
- Shoulder instability
The shoulder joint comprises a ball and a socket. The top of the upper arm bone forms the ball which then fits into the socket formed by the shoulder blade. When you have shoulder instability, it means that the ball has not fit perfectly in the socket. Maybe there is slipping, or it could be a total shoulder dislocation.
Shoulder instability can cause tingling, weakness, numbness, or fatigue in the arm. Some people may also experience clicking or locking and feel a popping sensation on the affected shoulder.
There are many other forms of shoulder pain.
Chiropractic treatments forpainful shoulders and neck
It all begins with thorough diagnosis. Since the shoulder is complex, your chiropractor will commence with looking through the patient’s medical history to understand whether the condition is a symptom of an underlying disease. Then, he or she will perform extensive examinations to determine the exact location and extent of the damage.
Once diagnosis has been made, treatment usually starts with resting of the injured shoulder. Specific resting techniques, if applied correctly, can allow the pain in the shoulder to significantly subside over a short period of time. After resting, the following are other techniques that a chiropractor can use to treat shoulder pain:
- Ice and heat application
Ice packs and heat pads are effective in relieving shoulder pain. But you need to know when to heat and when to use ice packs. Fortunately, chiropractors are experts in this.
Stretching can also help to reduce shoulder pain. But, remember that the same stretching can worsen joint pains. That’s why a chiropractor’s expertise is key when applying stretching movements.
Finally, rehabilitation exercise is crucial in treating these pains. But again, it’s important to know which exercises can help and when to begin exercising. The chiropractor will provide professional advice on both.
In most cases, these treatments should be sufficient to resolve shoulder pain. However, if your situation doesn’t improve, the chiropractor can recommend further courses of treatment.