The shoulder joint is a very complicated structure.There are four joints that make up the shoulder joint. Shoulder pain can be caused by problems in any one of these joints; or in any of the supporting ligaments, muscles and tendons. Problems outside the joint itself can also cause shoulder pain and dysfunction.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
Postural imbalance or joint and nerve irritation in the cervical, thoracic spine or ribs can all refer pain to the shoulder itself. Whatever the cause, there are always problems with muscle control of the joint itself. Muscles move bones and stabilise joints.
When the muscles aren’t working properly, the joint and its soft tissues are subjected to excessive stress and strain. Eventually, pain and weakness sets in and you experience significant disability in the shoulder joint.
At Burswood Health, our number one priority is to examine your spine and shoulder with the aim of obtaining an accurate diagnosis. We then clearly explain the cause of your pain and outline the most suitable treatment to resolve the underlying problem and strengthen the area to avoid future problems.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
Some of the most common causes of shoulder pain are:
- Rotator Cuff Tears
- Myofascial pain – muscle irritation
- Shoulder Impingment Syndrome
- Frozen shoulder – adhesive capsulits
- Shoulder Instability
Other Pain You Might Feel
Upper Back Pain
Are you suffering with upper back pain? Read about what could be causing your upper back pain.
If your shoulder pain is caused by tendonitis, it means one or more of your tendons has become inflamed due to repetitive or faulty movement over time. A job or hobby that involves repetitive movements for extended periods can cause considerable stress on your tendons, muscles and ligaments. We all know about the condition called “tennis elbow”, which is a repetitive strain injury of the tendons and muscles in our elbow. The tendons in our shoulders can suffer from the same repetitive muscle fatigue, inflammation and tissue damage.
Bursitis and Impingement Syndrome
There are small fluid-filled sacs between many of your muscles and bones that minimise friction during body movement. These little cushions work like a shock absorber. Each of these sacs is called a bursa and when they become inflamed the involved area will feel stiff and very painful. This inflammation is called bursitis, and it’s quite common in the shoulder and often linked to repetitive movements or poor posture. Bursitis of the shoulder usually prevents you from sleeping on the involved side and seriously affects your ability to work and play.
Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles which sit at the top of your shoulder providing stability and a wide range of motion . You are using these muscles any time you lift or rotate your arm and while you are sitting still they hold the joint nicely in its socket. Activities such as lifting, swimming, throwing and reaching all require a strong rotator cuff. The rotator cuff muscles can tear, because of injury or repetitive overuse. A complete tear may require surgery. But most are partial tears that cause moderate to severe pain, weakness and limited use of that arm. A mild to moderate tear usually results in pain that gets worse when you use the arm or try to sleep on it. Tears often worsen over time and result in wasting of the shoulder muscles. The key is to get an early diagnosis and the right treatment in order to avoid a more complicated and debilitating problem down the track.
Myofascial pain refers to muscle pain and irritation which always accompanies any type of shoulder problem. Indeed, myofascial pain and dysfunction is often the first thing that sets off a shoulder problem. So muscle therapy is an essential part of our Care Program. We treat myofascial pain with a wide range of techniques which include trigger point therapy, soft tissue therapy, laser and dry needling.
How we can help you with Shoulder Pain
With any type of shoulder pain, your chiropractor will first provide a diagnosis. It’s essential to fully understand the underlying cause of the problem, and then work out a treatment program that is tailored to your personal situation. The first stage of treatment focuses on adjustment of dysfunctional joints, soft tissue therapy (trigger point therapy) and the reduction of pain and inflammation. From the first visit, we start you on rehabilitative exercises and self-management. In long-standing or complicated problems, we may employ a unique multi-disciplinary approach combining chiropractic and soft tissue occupational therapy.
It is important to point out that shoulder pain is often the result of a long-standing problem. Even in the case of a traumatic sprain injury (such as a fall or sporting injury) the complicated nature of the shoulder joint means that treatment and recovery will take time. Joint and soft tissue injury and inflammation requires an accurate diagnosis, precise treatment, time, persistence and patience. The good news is that the right treatment can be very effective. Sorting out your problem properly as early as possible can avoid a chronic, painful arthritic problem in the future.
The first step is to make an appointment and see how we can help you recover from your painful shoulder.
Practitioners who can help you with this issue
Dr Kirsty Sterle
Chiropractor, B Sc (Chiro), B Chiro Go to Dr Kirsty's profile
Dr Angus Chow
Chiropractor, B Sc (Chiro), B Chiro Go to Dr Angus' profile