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Everything You Need To Know About Shoulder Pain

Learn what shoulder pain is, what causes it, and how routine chiropractic care can provide natural relief.

New Patient Special
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The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the human body with a wide range of motion allowing us to rotate our arms up to 360°. Over time, such motion puts a lot of pressure on the joint, causes wear and tear, and increases the risk of issues occurring in the shoulder. In fact, shoulder pain affects 18 to 26 percent of adults1 at any point in time, making it one of the most common physical complaints.

When shoulder pain strikes, it affects your ability to function normally as even a small movement of the arm can cause severe pain. A simple task such as lifting your arm to wave at a friend or changing positions while sleeping can become impossible and if left untreated, shoulder issues can lead to severe damage and chronic pain.

On the bright side, there are natural pain relief solutions for shoulder pain provided by our doctors here at Spine Stop Chiropractic. We’d be happy to take a look at your shoulder and see if we can restore its normal functionality so you can get back to your busy lifestyle pain free.

What is Shoulder Pain?

The shoulder is made up of numerous parts that work in synchronicity to give your shoulder a wide range of motion and strength. They consist of:

  • Three bones - the scapula (shoulder blade), clavicle (collarbone) and humerus (upper arm bone).
  • Two joints - the acromioclavicular joint and the glenohumeral joint
  • Cartilage - tissue that absorbs shock and allows the joint to move easily
  • Rotator Cuff - a network of muscles and tendons that cover the top of the humerus to hold it place and enable the arm to rotate
  • Deltoid - the largest and strongest muscle of the shoulder that provides the strength to lift the arm
  • Biceps Tendon - attaches to the biceps muscle, which allows the elbow to bend and the forearm to rotate
  • Synovium - a thin membrane that produces a fluid (synovial fluid) to cushion and lubricate the joint
  • Shoulder Bursa - sac-like structures that reduce friction
  • Major Nerves - carry the brain signals that move the arms and also sense pain, touch, heat, and cold
  • Blood Vessels - supplying blood flow to and from the arm

With so many parts working together and how often we use our shoulders on a daily basis, it is easy to damage, irritate, break, or tear one or more at any given time. Which causes us to experience pain.

What are the common causes of shoulder pain?

Shoulder pain can appear suddenly or develop over time with some types having an obvious cause such as an injury, overuse, or overexertion during physical activity. For others, the cause may be due to an underlying condition, repetitive stressors, or wear and tear as we age.

Some common causes of shoulder pain include:

  • Rotator cuff injuries and tears - tissues in the rotator cuff break down often due to wear and tear; especially when lifting the arm over your head repetitively
  • Osteoarthritis - a form of arthritis caused by chronic degeneration of the cartilage and synovial membrane of the joints
  • Frozen shoulder syndrome - a painful condition caused by the gradual loss of movement in the shoulder (glenohumeral) joint
  • Dislocation - caused when the round ball at the top of the upper arm bone, or humerus, leaves the socket in the shoulder blade, or scapula.
  • Fractures - any break in one or more bones of the shoulder
  • Whiplash - neck injury caused by a forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck
  • Fibromyalgia - widespread musculoskeletal pain
  • Arthritis - inflammation of the joints
  • Lupus - a chronic (long-term) disease that can cause inflammation and pain
  • Tendon inflammation - inflammation typically resulting from injury to the tendon or surrounding muscle or bone
  • Muscle strains and/or tears - injury to the muscles surrounding the shoulder
  • Inflamed bursa - pain associated with an inflamed bursa
  • Referred pain - shoulder pain may also be caused by problems affecting your abdomen (e.g., gallstones), heart (e.g., angina, heart attack), neck, back, and lungs (e.g., pneumonia).

If you feel shoulder pain that is radiating down your arm or you’re experiencing a tight feeling across the chest and shortness of breath, call 911 immediately and seek medical attention without delay.

What are the symptoms of shoulder pain?

With numerous causes of shoulder pain, there are also numerous symptoms that you may be experiencing. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain - located deep in the shoulder joint, in the back or the front of the shoulder, and/or in the upper part of the arm. Can be aching, stabbing, shooting, or dull and is aggravated with movement
  • Reduced Movement - inability to move your shoulder to its full range of motion; unable to lift the arm; reach behind you, etc.
  • Weakness of the Shoulder/Upper Arm - feeling of weakness when moving the arm and there may also be a sensation of the joint slipping out and back into the joint socket, or the shoulder can become completely dislocated
  • Sensations of Pins and Needles (tingling) and Burning Pain - often associated with nerves from the neck rather than the shoulder joint itself; can be related to a pinched, damaged, or compressed nerve
  • Sleep Disturbances - pain when moving during sleep; inability to lie on the affected shoulder; insomnia

How can chiropractic care help me?

Chiropractors here at Spine Stop Chiropractic are professionally trained to diagnose and treat shoulder pain effectively and naturally. Using a whole-body approach to healthcare, our doctors work to discover the root cause of your shoulder pain allowing for treatments to be personalized to your needs.

Natural, safe, non-invasive, and non-addictive chiropractic treatments will return your shoulder function to normal without the use of over-the-counter pain medications.

Chiropractic Benefits for Shoulder Pain Include:

  • Relief from chronic discomfort and pain
  • Increased range of motion
  • Improved joint function
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Decreased spasms and/or muscle cramping
  • Better quality of sleep
  • Recommend lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of further injury

If you or a loved one are suffering from shoulder pain, book an appointment today to see how our doctors can help restore your quality of life.

We understand that not everyone is familiar with chiropractic care, so all new patients receive a consultation, examination and if necessary, an x-ray. Then our doctors will review your condition and walk you through an easy-to-follow treatment plan that’s unique to you.

There’s no pressure when you visit our office. Our friendly staff want to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

  1. Luime JJ, Koes BW, Hendriksen IJ, Burdorf A, Verhagen AP, Miedema HS, Verhaar JA. Prevalence and incidence of shoulder pain in the general population; a systematic review. Scand J Rheumatol. 2004;33(2):73-81. doi: 10.1080/03009740310004667. PMID: 15163107.
*Patient results may vary

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Frequently Asked Questions

Calm your nerves with answers to the most commonly asked questions among new patients.

Do I have to be popped during my treatment?

Simply put, no. There are many adjusting techniques chiropractors use to remove nerve interference. Let the doctor know if you're concerned about being "popped."

Does it hurt to be adjusted by a chiropractor?

Most patients report painless adjustments. However, some experience involuntarily stiffness due to resisting the adjustment. This usually stops once they're able to relax.

How long does the average office visit take?

The first visit usually requires 30 to 45 minutes of a new patient's time. The following appointments usually last 10 to 15 minutes.

What's the difference between a chiropractor and a medical doctor?

Chiropractors remove nerve interference by correcting the spine's position. A medical doctor often refers patients to prescription drugs or surgery for pain management.

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