How to Describe Your Type of Shoulder Pain to Your Doctor

Shoulder pain can be a real problem. Not only can it wreak havoc with everyday activities that are usually taken for granted, it can also cause problems for an individual’s professional life.

Because of the difficulties associated with shoulder pain, seeing a chiropractor for help is important. Solving problems caused by shoulder pain begins with understanding the different types, all of which should be diagnosed and subsequently treated by a chiropractor:

  • Rotator Cuff Syndrome. The rotator cuff is composed of a group of four muscles and their corresponding tendons. These muscles and tendons wind around the front, back and top of the shoulder. The rotator cuff muscles work together in guiding shoulders through many motions and also lend stability to the joint. The ends of the rotator cuff muscles form tendons that attach to the humerus (arm bone). This is the tendinous portion of the muscle that is normally involved in a rotator cuff injury. The most common mechanisms of a rotator cuff injury are separated into two categories:
    1. Repetitive Use Injury. These are the result of repeated activities that result in damage to the rotator cuff tendons. Over time, the tendons wear thin and a tear can develop within the tendons of the rotator cuff. Patients who experience repeated use injuries to the rotator cuff frequently experience shoulder pain prior to developing a tear through the rotator cuff tendons.
    2. Traumatic Injuries. Falling against an extended arm can often injure the rotator cuff by tearing the surrounding tendons. This is much less common than repetitive use injuries, and is usually the culprit of rotator cuff injuries in patients under the age of 60.
  • Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulittis. This is a common condition that results in a loss of motion of the shoulder joint. Frozen shoulder is often diagnosed for any painful shoulder condition associated with a loss of motion, but it is important to understand the cause of the symptoms to guarantee effective treatment. Other conditions can also cause restricted motion and a stiff joint. Individuals often experience trauma to the shoulder prior to the onset of frozen shoulder. At other times, there is no known cause for the development of a frozen shoulder.

Other characteristics of a Frozen Shoulder include:

  1. A decrease in motion that is primarily seen by lifting the arm and turning it inwards;
  2. Frozen shoulder is most common among individuals between the ages of 40 and 60, and is twice as likely to occur in women;
  3. Pain is usually the first symptom of a frozen shoulder, followed by a loss of motion and decrease in pain;
  4. Frozen shoulder responds well to a multi-disciplinary approach that includes chiropractic care and physical therapy.
  • Swimmer’s Shoulder. Swimmer’s shoulder is an inflammatory condition caused by the mechanical impingement of the suparspinatus muscle. The condition is usually caused by the repetitive overhead arm motion of the freestyle stroke while an individual is swimming.
  • Bicipial Tendinittis. This is an inflammatory condition that affects the tendon of the long head of the biceps. It commonly causes should pain due to its position and function.

While shoulder pain is frequently dismissed as bursitis or arthritis, it should never be neglected. This is because it may be a sign of a larger problem that could get worse if left untreated.

Shoulder pain doesn’t have to prevent an individual from enjoying life and chiropractic care is a way to quickly and effectively deal with the problem. Chiropractic care is a preferable option not only because of these factors, but also because it avoids the possibility of painful surgery or pain-killers which may produce harmful side-effects.

Chiropractic care should always be considered when dealing with shoulder pain because of its ability to restore the strength and integrity of shoulder’s supporting soft tissues, along with keeping joints flexible and working free of pain.

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