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A Patient's Guide to Shoulder Pain

At Kleefeld Chiropractic patients frequently present with shoulder pain.  The shoulder is a very complex piece of machinery and its design gives the shoulder joint great range of motion, but not much stability. As long as all the parts are in good working order, the shoulder moves freely and painlessly.

Cause

The most common cause of shoulder pain is repetitive "microtrauma."  Repeat injury causes micro-tears in the rotator cuff muscles and over time, bony spurs of the shoulder joints.  When tissues tear several types of pain producing chemicals are released.  The chronic inflammation caused by repeat injury causes a thickening of the rotator cuff tendons and bony spur formation making the shoulder even more vulnerable.

Symptoms

Pain with strenuous use of the arm is the most common symptom.  This is especially true when raising the arm or work above shoulder level.  Most patients complain that the pain makes it difficult for them to sleep, especially when they roll onto the affected shoulder. Weakness and inability to raise the arm may indicate that the rotator cuff tendons are actually torn.

woman  getting her shoulder examined

Diagnosis

At Kleefeld Chiropractic, the first step to diagnosis is a thorough history and shoulder examination.  Because of ionizing radiation x-rays are not routinely taken.  However, with significant trauma or should symptoms persist, x-rays and or MRI scan of the shoulder may be indicated.

Treatment

Here is a list of treatment methods that our Redding chiropractor can help administer as well as other treatment options:

  • Treatment typically includes homecare measures such as ice and heat.

  • Avoiding activities or positions that promote pain.

  • Ultrasound to reduce inflammation and minimize adhesions.

  • Interferential current to reduce muscle spasm, swelling and pain.

  • Shoulder mobilization to restore normal motion.

  • Medication management as indicated.

  • Massage therapy if trigger points are found in the rotator cuff muscles.

  • Normalizing activities of daily living and work tasks as pain complaints settle.

  • Specialty consultation and x-rays should symptoms persist.

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