One of the most common misconceptions that Dr. Nathen Horst hears is that chiropractic care only addresses spinal pain issues. While it is true that the primary focus of chiropractic care is spinal adjustments, all of the joints in the body, including elbows, ankles, knees, and shoulders can benefit from this type of treatment. Shoulder pain in particular can be treated with chiropractic care. According to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology that included the results of 18 smaller studies, the prevalence of shoulder pain has provided numbers ranging from 6.7 percent to as much as 66.7 percent, depending on whether current, one month, or lifetime shoulder pain are being studied. Another study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found prevalence anywhere from 20 percent to 48 percent, depending upon how shoulder pain was defined.
What Causes Shoulder Problems?
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMSD), many shoulder problems result from overuse and straining the soft tissue. Over time, the soft tissue will break down, leading to shoulder problems. If the pain travels along the arm to the shoulder, it could be a sign of other, more severe health problems such as gallbladder, liver, or heart disease. In other cases, the actual shoulder joint itself may have shifted out of alignment or become dislocated. Other causes include injuries or diseases of the neck or spine, in which pain is felt in the shoulder. Arthritis is a good example of such a disease. Other causes of shoulder pain include fractures or problems with the rotator cuff that restrict the shoulder’s full range of motion within its joint.
Standard Treatment for Shoulder Problems
In most cases, primary care physicians will provide recommendations that include resting the shoulder, the application of heat or ice (depending upon the cause of the pain), wearing a shoulder sling, and gentle stretching exercises after a few days to increase range of motion. The doctor may also recommend over-the-counter or prescription painkillers or anti-inflammatory medication. In some severe cases, such as a torn rotator cuff, surgery could be an option.
There are several different chiropractic techniques that Dr. Horst may use, depending upon the nature and cause of shoulder pain. If the shoulder joint has actually come out of alignment, Dr. Horst may use a small, handheld, spring-loaded instrument to guide the joint back into place. Dr. Horst may also adjust the neck and back, which will release pressure on the nerves leading to and from the spine.
Dr. Horst may also carefully examine and correct the patient’s sitting and standing posture, which will help the shoulder maintain its proper position for a longer period of time. He may also recommend a regular schedule of maintenance treatments to keep the shoulder in its proper location.
Whether due to poor posture, a chronic sports injury, or dislocation, shoulder pain that remains unaddressed can lead to severely reduced range of motion. Chiropractic care provides a safe, fast, effective way to reduce shoulders pain.