The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint connecting the arm to the rest of the body. It is where the shoulder blade, the collarbone, and the humorous (the upper arm bone) meet. Shoulder pain has a host of causes and may become worse with overhead movement or even limit mobility completely, inhibiting the ability to raise the arms above the head. At Utah Sports and Wellness in Millcreek, we encourage you to seek treatment if you experience frequent shoulder pain.
Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is the group of tendons and muscles that encompass the shoulder joint. Damage to the rotator cuff can be the result of injury or degeneration associated with age or disease. Symptoms include a dull ache or other shoulder pain that may be worse with repetitive movement above the head. Rehabilitation exercises can help to strengthen the muscles in the shoulder and increase flexibility. Rotator cuff injuries should be treated early on to prevent permanent damage.
Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, describes shoulder pain and stiffness caused by the thickening of the shoulder capsule (connective tissue in the shoulder). Though the exact cause of the tissue thickening is unknown, it can accompany the recovery from a medical condition which requires the arm to remain immobile. The onset of shoulder pain is gradual, and it worsens over time. Rehabilitation exercises to regain mobility in the shoulder is recommended.
Ligaments connect bones to each other, and the mobility and strength of the shoulder depend on ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the joint working together. However, tears in shoulder ligaments can cause shoulder pain and limit the ability to lift one’s arms. Chiropractic treatment methods for ligament tears include electrostimulation therapy to help muscles relax, adjustment to correct positioning in the shoulder, and exercises designed to increase strength and flexibility.
The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is where the highest point of the scapula (shoulder blade) meets the clavicle (collarbone). In the case of AC separation, which can be caused by a fall on the shoulder, the connective ligaments tear, separating the collarbone and shoulder blade. Shoulder pain is accompanied by swelling and limited range of motion. As with most shoulder injuries, rest, icing, and exercises to build up strength and regain flexibility are key to treating AC separation.
Tendonitis and Tendonosis
Tendons serve to attach muscles and bone. They are bands of tissue sheathed in membranes to isolate them from other muscle tissue. Tendonitis describes the acute inflammation of tendons. Tendonosis is a chronic form of tendonitis.
When tendonitis presents itself in the shoulder, perhaps after overuse or incorrect use of the shoulder, it is the biceps tendon or the rotator cuff that become inflamed. The tendonitis is then referred to as bicep tendonitis or rotator cuff tendonitis, respectively. The result is shoulder pain, achiness, or tenderness that can disturb sleep and daily activities. People sometimes experience a popping sensation in the shoulder or the inability to position the arm in certain ways. Rest accompanied by ultrasound therapies and followed by strengthening exercises can provide relief from tendonitis shoulder pain.
The shoulder labrum is a thick piece of cartilage that attaches to the rim of the shoulder socket and helps keep the ball of the joint in place by deepening the socket. It also provides a place for the tendons of the bicep to anchor.
The labrum can be damaged by a fall on or pull to an outstretched arm or by a direct blow to the shoulder. Tears in the labrum can lead to shoulder pain, the feeling of catching or locking in the shoulder, decreased range of motion, and loss of strength. Gentle exercises to improve range of motion can promote healing after a labrum tear. Your chiropractor may also recommend that you keep the arm in question in a sling for several weeks.