Shoulder pain is very prevalent in our culture, more than most think. From athletic sports injuries to working around the house, shoulder pain has become a common occurrence. But the good news is that chiropractic care can help people get back to a healthy life.
Q: How does the shoulder joint work?
A: The shoulder joint (actually a complex of joints working together) has many planes of motion compared to solid joints such as the knee which has very limited planes of motion. To use a well worn expression- the shoulder compromises stability for mobility.
Not only is the joint strung out there in the extremity (ergo the expression), it's also very susceptible to injury. With a head the size and weight of a bowling ball sitting on a spine, its amazing we can take the punishment we give out routinely. When these little bones become “subluxated” the brachial plexus (braid work of nerves exiting the cervical spine and upper back and supplying the shoulder) pays the price. Most shoulder issues can be solved with corrective spinal care or chiropractic “adjustments”.
Q: How serious can trauma from shoulder pain be?
A: Shoulder trauma can cause myriad problems from capsular damage to joint damage to rotator cuff tears. Treating the joint and ignoring the source is much less effective than the other way around. This is not to say we ignore extremity problems looking only to the spine. The analogy is simple.
If a circuit breaker goes out because a bulb shorts out it does no good to change the bulb without checking the breakers first. The difference is that we are self healing living organisms. By turning the switch back on,the body is released to fix most problems on it's own. That is the magic of who we are.
Q: What factors contribute to a healthy return from shoulder pain other than rehabilitation exercise and resting?
A: Nutritional/herbal factors help and I'm all for it. Extremity adjusting can really help and I'm all for it. Rehab, when well managed, can be useful and has it's place. But as a well seasoned chiropractor, I can tell you this- always look first to the spine for the cause and the cure. This truth has not changed and will not regardless of what new high tech fad gadget or surgical procedure comes along.
As an athlete, more than any other patients we come across, demand a quick fix, mostly because their careers depend on it. As a result, shoulder pain can be the toughest cases we see. One thing we can't know for sure is time.
Understandably, medication, rehab, surgery is usually required for them. Just because they are the most amazing human specimens on the planet, the are not necessarily the healthiest. Chiropractic needs to be a part of this team so that they have a chance of surviving this mess. When they do retire, they may face a life of bad joints and pain killer addiction, Jerry Rice, arguably the greatest wide reciever of all times has become a spokesperson for chiropractic. Having survived all the punishment football has to dish out, he credits chiropractic for allowing him a life in retirement of heath and longevity. Fortunately for all our busy lives, we still can heal over time with minimal scar tissue and no drugs nor surgery thanks to chiropractic. For those of us with physically demanding jobs, some time off can be mandated. Overall, however, fewer lost days off work with much less costly treatment is the chiropractic answer.
The solution is to manage the spine for functionality before it becomes a debilitating problem and you'll be way ahead of the game.