Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body and it’s often not appreciated until something goes wrong.  Daily activities such as putting a t-shirt on or reaching to a high shelf become increasingly difficult with shoulder pain.  The shoulder is also one of the most vulnerable joints in the body to injury, largely due to the type of joint, but also due to the high demands put on the muscles that support and control the shoulder movements, making it susceptible to repetitive strain injuries.  

There are many causes of shoulder pain.  Here are some commonly seen at Fishguard Chiropractic Clinic:

A group of muscles and tendons that control the movement of the ball and socket joint of the shoulder. The design of the shoulder means that it works best if swinging from trees, but our modern day living sees us sitting for prolonged periods of time. The slumped forward posture weakens the muscles at the back of the shoulder whilst tightening those at the front, leading to an imbalance in the rotator cuff muscles that eventually leads to pain.

A pinching of a tendon that usually arises in conjunction with or following a rotator cuff injury. When the muscles are tight, extra stress is placed upon the tendons that attach the muscle to the bone, resulting in weakening of the tendons or inflammation.  This is often called tendonitis or tendinopathy.  It is often seen in repetitive overhead movements such as plastering, painting and swimming.

The bursa is a fluid filled sack that protects the bone from the tendon and vice versa. However, muscle and tendon imbalances can lead to irritation and inflammation of the bursa causing pain during most movements, especially when lying on it.

This condition hurts! Typically, it arises for no obvious reason. However, previous injury to the shoulder and diabetes can lead to increased occurrence of this condition.

Freezing Phase

The increasing pain and deterioration in movement is due to thickening of the shoulder capsule. This phase may last up to 6 months. 

Frozen Phase

This phase sees the shoulder stuck with significant pain on any attempted movement. Unfortunately, this phase may also last for 6 months. 

Thawing Phase

Gradually, the shoulder begins to move more. 

Although the condition usually runs its course over 18 months, the lack of movement can have detrimental effects. Dormancy of the shoulder muscles can significantly impact how well the muscles function afterwards. Unfortunately, the term “use it or lose it” is quite true. Early identification and treatment of a ‘frozen shoulder’ can reduce the amount of ‘freezing’ that occurs. Thankfully, this may reduce the stiffening and often the pain.  In turn, this can improve the amount of movement in the joint, and reduce the degree of muscle wastage. This can help to reduce the time it takes to ‘thaw’.  In severe cases, a steroid injection may be required by a medical clinician. Fishguard Chiropractors will gladly help with your referral.

Often due to trauma, overexertion or heavy lifting, a strained muscle can cause pain. This type of injury initially responds well to the immediate application of an ice pack.  It is important to check the joint and spinal alignment following a muscle strain as the increased tension and muscle imbalances can have a negative impact on normal movement.

Chiropractors are skilled in assessing the shoulder, neck and upper back to identify the cause of your pain before choosing the right technique to help alleviate it and begin to restore normal movement.  Shoulder treatment often works in collaboration with other musculoskeletal therapy available at Wintern House, combining massage and physio rehabilitation for the best route to recovery.

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