The shoulder is the most mobile of all your joints, therefore shoulder pain and injury are very common. Shoulder pain can even stem from the neck. When a nerve root in the cervical spine is irritated, the pain can radiate into the shoulder, arm, and hand.
Shoulder impingement is caused by the tendons of the rotator cuff becoming impinged as they pass through the shoulder joint. It is sometimes referred to as ‘swimmer’s shoulder’ because repeated over the head shoulder movements are a risk factor. Over time, impingement syndrome can lead to inflammation and thickening of the rotator cuff tendons (tendinitis) and bursa (bursitis) which can exacerbate the problem. If not treated appropriately, the rotator cuff tendons can start to thin and tear. Symptoms can include:
- pain on the top and outside of the shoulder
- pain when raising the arm out to the side and above the head
- sudden pain when reaching, lifting or throwing
- loss of strength and motion
The goal of treatment for shoulder pain is to reduce pain and inflammation and increase strength and range of motion. The first step is to suspend performing any aggravating activities. Applying ice to the affected area may also be in order. Manual therapy such as joint movements, soft-tissue massage, and shoulder stretches are important to rehabilitation. A program of mobility and strengthening exercise is paramount to recovery. In addition, many patients can benefit from functional training where they learn about using proper posture and mechanics while performing activities that involve the shoulder.
A chiropractic examination is the best place to start. Shoulder pain should not be ignored and an examination will get to the source of the issue. Listen to your body and don’t shrug shoulder pain!