As a chiropractor, I am always suprised when people ask me ‘do chiropractors do anything for shoulder injuries?’. In fact chiropractors successfully treat all joints and their associated structures (muscle, tendon, ligament, bursa, fascia) including shoulders, knees, ankles, thumbs, ribs and even jaws.
The most common shoulder injury is rotator cuff tendonitis. The rotator cuff muscles are four muscles around the shoulder which anchor and stabilise the shoulder to the shoulder blade. Of these rotator cuff muscles the infraspinatus, supraspinatus and teres minor muscles and the most commonly injured of all shoulder muscles. These muscles are the most susceptible to tendonitis injury. The reason for this is that as a shoulder stabiliser they are always in use and so tension is developing in them every day, and they are muscles that are rarely stretched so they are often too short.
Biceps tendonitis is another common shoulder injury that responds well to chiropractic therapy. It is a muscle that is used everyday to lift and carry things. It is commonly injured because it is very difficult to stretch. As you lengthen the biceps muscle the elbow locks when your arm straightens and this limits the length that you can get in this muscle. There is a technique for stretching the bicep muscle that involves anchoring the bicep muscle and then stretching it but this is best achieved with the help of a qualified professional.
Tendonitis occurs when the muscle is spasmed or shortened through repetitive use and pulls so hard on the tendon that it strains the tendon causing inflammation. This ailment is quite easily corrected with the use of chiropractic adjustive therapy, muscle release techniques and tendon release techniques. Treatment of most tendonitis injuries lasts for four to six weeks.
Some people have the misfortune of suffering from a frozen shoulder. This is a very painful and debilitating condition. It is characterised by several different shoulder injuries occurring simultaneously resulting in significant reduction of movement in the shoulder due to pain, weakness and stiffness. Treatment of this painful condition involves intensive massage, stretching and adjustive techniques.
Other common causes of shoulder injuries include referral of pain from neck or thoracic subluxations, impingement syndromes caused by subacromial bursitis, rotator cuff tears in the elderly or young (associated with severe trauma and often dislocation), and osteoarthritis. All of the above conditions can be treated successfully with chiropractic care.
It is important to get the advice of a chiropractor on shoulder injuries as we may be able to save you from unnecessary surgery, or if necessary guide you on to the appropriate specialist.