Shoulder pain is a common complaint expressed to the Doctor of Chiropractic during a spinal evaluation. There are three categories of shoulder pains:
1. Joint problems
2. Peripheral soft tissue injuries
3. General discomfort or tension
The most common of these is the third group: general tension. We complain of general shoulder pain by describing a tightness or tension across the upper back extending to one or both shoulders. These are in fact spinal and posture problems and not a true shoulder condition.
Stress (mental) and poor posture (physical) create tension in the large Trapezius muscles that start at the base of the skull down to the middle of the spine between the shoulder blades and then attach into the back part of the shoulder joint. Exercise and improved posture can resolve these complaints.
Often, underlying spinal misalignments can cause increase tension or spasms of these muscles so exercise and better posture will only produce partial or temporary improvements. Only a spinal evaluation by a Chiropractic Specialist will give insight into these types of problems.
The next shoulder pain category involves the muscles, tendons and bursa located around the shoulder. Rotator Cuff tendonitis, tears or strain are caused by injuries to the shoulder mechanism. A proper evaluation of the shoulder reveals that either a bursitis or a tendonitis is the cause for shoulder pain and restricted range of motion. Physical therapy and rehabilitation can provide much help but occasionally surgery is required.
Arthritis of the shoulder, frozen shoulder syndrome and capsulitis of the shoulder are conditions that directly involve the shoulder joint (ball & socket). Many times this is the result of failure to treat the shoulder when it was externally involved but lack of normal shoulder usage over extended periods of time produces degenerative changes. Not much can be done to cure things at this stage, but some restoration of function and mobility can be achieved.