Shoulder Pain and Chiropractic - How We Can Help
You probably already know that chiropractic can help with back pain and headaches. But did also you know that shoulder complaints are the number three reason that people seek chiropractic services?
The shoulder is a very complicated joint; chiropractors are able to test more than 15 specific muscles by performing a thorough shoulder exam. When patients are experiencing shoulder pain that is preventing them from performing simple day-to-day tasks (such as reaching up for the top shelf in the cupboard, or into the back seat of the car, or even pulling open a heavy door against our South Dakota gale force winds!), chiropractic can help identify the problem and correct the source of the pain, thereby alleviating discomfort. Chiropractic care can also treat a variety of shoulder problems in patients who have been medically diagnosed with conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis, rotator cuff problems, or even frozen shoulder syndrome.
So how exactly does chiropractic help treat shoulder problems? In order to provide accurate care for a shoulder complaint, we must first identify the source of the problem. We go beyond the medical diagnosis and determine the underlying cause of the issue. For example, why did a patient develop tendonitis or bursitis? What is the underlying dysfunction that predisposes a person’s shoulder to be injured by day-to-day activities?
The first thing chiropractors look for when determining the source of shoulder pain is a subluxation in the neck, which can produce a nerve deficit to specific shoulder muscles. If a particular shoulder muscle isn’t doing its job due to interrupted nerve communication, then the shoulder itself won’t be able to function properly. Instead, the shoulder will wear incorrectly in a certain area, and this will eventually lead to the development of a condition like tendonitis. When a patient has a subluxation causing a nerve deficit, no amount of exercise or physical therapy will correct the problem until that subluxation is addressed and treated. In layman's terms, a shoulder muscle can’t function properly unless its nerves are correctly “plugged in”. When it comes to chronic shoulder problems, a pinched nerve (or cervical spine subluxation) is almost always the underlying cause, whether the problem has started recently or has developed gradually over time. (NOTE: a rotator cuff that is completely torn or has a maximal tear will need to be surgically repaired. Chiropractors can detect a torn rotator cuff during an initial examination, and can then recommend an orthopedic surgeon.)
There are seven separate joint actions involved in shoulder movement. When one of these joint actions is missing from the equation, normal shoulder movement becomes painful and/or restricted, and delicate structures become irritated.
While the science of chiropractic is locating and identifying a subluxation, the art of chiropractic is adjusting it. When I find that a certain part of someone’s shoulder isn’t moving the way it is designed by nature to move, I adjust that part or joint accordingly, and function is restored. For each of the seven specific joint movements that take place in the shoulder, there are a few ways to restore correct movement. Some adjustments work better on some individuals than on others, depending on the patient's build, health, activity level, and any other problems or conditions they might be experiencing.
The shoulder is a complicated joint. The brain must "tell" the shoulder muscles what they need to do in order to accomplish a particular task, whether it be throwing a hundred-mile-an-hour fastball or painting a work of art. Once the task is completed, the brain registers how it felt to perform that particular movement. When we do something that hurts, the brain detects and remembers that pain, and it changes our movement patterns in order to avoid that pain in the future. Unfortunately, these deviations from proper form and movement put undue stress on other joints – joints that aren’t built to handle that stress.
That’s when our ARP Wave Neurotherapy can help. ARP therapy essentially "erases" the bad part of the brain’s hard drive – the part that remembers pain and associates it with certain movements – and it re-formats that loop in the brain to allow your shoulder to move in proper form, without pain. This enables you to move correctly and stop performing the improper movement that is causing your shoulder pain or condition.
For example, if a person has a broken toe, this might cause him to walk with a significant limp. If that painful toe lasts for a long time, the person's subsequent limp becomes his normal walking/gait pattern. Therefore, years later - even after the broken toe is healed – this person has now developed hip pain because of his abnormal gait. ARP Wave Neurotherapy can help this patient by "re-setting" the brain and telling it that because the toe is no longer sore, the limp is no longer necessary. By this process, the patient is able to stop walking in a way that is causing hip irritation. Similarly, ARP Wave Neurotherapy can also relieve pain in patients who've experienced a recent shoulder injury or who have developed improper shoulder form/movement. And when applied to chronic shoulder problems, ARP therapy cuts the patients' response time roughly in half!
If you are suffering from shoulder pain, whether as the result of a recent injury or a chronic condition, our team at Reinecke Chiropractic can help. We can determine the cause, correct the problem, restore you to full function, alleviate pain and discomfort, and - most important - get you back to doing the things you love to do!