When people find I am a chiropractor they usually imagine me helping neck pain and back pain. Research strongly supports chiropractic care for back and neck pain relief. But what about chiropractic care for shoulder pain relief?
This article will provide information for those suffering from shoulder pain. The anatomy and function of the shoulder will be discussed, research noting scientific evidence for treatment of pain of the shoulder will be introduced and chiropractic care for the evaluation and treatment of shoulder pain will be presented.
When evaluating for shoulder pain it is important to examine the whole person. The human shoulder is a complex mechanism. To be accurate we should consider the entire shoulder girdle which is made up of three different joints. The first is the ball and socket joint which is called the glenohumeral joint. It consists of the bone of the upper arm called the humerus and the wing bone which is called the scapula. The second is the acromioclavicular or AC joint. It is on the top of the shoulder and when significantly damaged the diagnosis is a “separated shoulder.” Last is the scapulothoracic joint which is the movement of the scapula/wing bone along the back of the rib cage.
Additionally, it is prudent to perform analysis of the spinal bones of the neck and upper back. Misalignments and improper movement of the spinal bones are commonly associated with those with shoulder pain complaints.
Chiropractors look to restore normal movement and function to the joints of the shoulder and spine by use of various manipulative and mobilization techniques. Chiropractic care may also include exercise training focused on restoring motion, strength and stability of the muscles and soft tissues surrounding the shoulder region.
In 2010 and 2014 the United Kingdom published research of various forms of treatment for musculoskeletal problems. These reviews noted there is favorable scientific evidence for the use of chiropractic treatment with regards to shoulder related problems including rotator cuff pain, shoulder girdle pain/dysfunction and adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder).
Many times, in my practice, patients suffering from shoulder pain will come to me after they’ve seen other providers. Frequently, these providers are specialists. Since they only specialize in evaluation of the shoulder their focus is narrow in the only concentrate on the glenohumeral joint. As mentioned earlier, evaluation needs to be expanded in the whole person must be taken into consideration. When this approach is taken success can usually be achieved in providing relief of shoulder pain.