The shoulder has more range of motion than all other joints in the body so it's more readily injured. When something goes wrong with your shoulder, it hampers your ability to move freely and can be quite painful. You can injure your shoulder by performing manual labor, playing sports, or even by repetitive movement.
Anatomy of the Shoulder
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that has three main bones: the humerus (long arm bone), the clavicle (collarbone), and the scapula (also known as the shoulder blade). Shoulder movements are made possible with mostly the rotator cuff so it's important to have functional shoulder joints and rotator cuff muscles.
These bones are cushioned by a layer of cartilage. There are two main joints. The acromioclavicular joint is between the highest part of the scapula and the clavicle. The glenohumeral joint is made up of the top, ball-shaped part of the humerus bone and the outer edge of the scapula. This joint is also known as the shoulder joint.
Shoulder Pain Musculoskeletal or Visceral?
Certain symptoms and conditions can bring about pain that travels to the shoulder. These can be related to the cervical spine (neck), as well as liver, heart, or gallbladder disease.
You're more likely to have problems with your shoulder as you grow older, especially after age 60. This is because the soft tissues surrounding the shoulder tend to degenerate with overuse wear and tear.
In many cases, it's very difficult to treat shoulder pain at home. However, chiropractors can adjust the shoulder and ensure the muscles are working properly by reducing the stress causes by spinal compression or misalignments. At JP Chiropractic in West Ashley Charleston SC we also do a bit physical therapy, stim, cupping, graston, ART, trigger point and more to help reduce inflammation, reduce muscle spams and increase healing.
Several factors and conditions can contribute to shoulder pain. The most prevalent cause is rotator cuff tendinitis.
This is a condition characterized by swollen tendons. Another common cause of shoulder pain is impingement syndrome where the rotator cuff gets caught between the acromion (part of the scapula that covers the ball) and humeral head (the ball portion of the humerus).
Sometimes shoulder pain is the result of injury to another location in your body, usually the neck or biceps. This is known as referred pain. Referred pain generally doesn't get worse when you move your shoulder.
Other causes of shoulder pain include:
torn rotator cuff
swollen bursa sacs or tendons
bone spurs (bony projections that develop along the edges of bones)
pinched nerve in the neck or shoulder
broken shoulder or arm bone
injury due to overuse or repetitive use
spinal cord injury
The Charleston chiropractor will want to find out the cause of your shoulder pain. They'll request your medical history and do a physical examination of the shoulder, neck and potentialy other areas.
The doctor will feel for tenderness and swelling and will also assess your range of motion and joint stability. Imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, can produce detailed pictures of your shoulder to help with the diagnosis.
Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of the shoulder pain. Some treatment options include chiropractic, massage therapy, physiotherapy, injections or surgery depending on the case.
Your traditional doctor may prescribe medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can be taken by mouth or your doctor can inject into your shoulder. These are often just to try to reduce the inflammation. If you have physical problem you often need a physical solution. So while pain med and anti-inflammatory drugs may help in the interim they aren't technically "treating" the cause.
Some minor shoulder pain can be treated at home. Icing the shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes three or four times a day for several days can help reduce pain. Use an ice bag or wrap ice in a towel because putting ice directly on your skin can cause frostbite and burn the skin.
Resting the shoulder for several days before returning to normal activity and avoiding any movements that might cause pain can be helpful. Limit overhead work or activities.
Other home treatments include using over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce pain and inflammation and compressing the area with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling.
If you're ready to schedule an appointment our Charleston SC location here at JP Chiropractic text or call us at 843-473-7246.