Wednesday, October 29, 2014

                                Blog #32:  Chiropractic and Shoulder Health

The shoulder is the body’s most complex and vulnerable joint.  Chiropractic mobilization and massage of local tendons and muscles, as well as adjustment of the various bony structures comprising the shoulder joint can help prevent problems such as frozen shoulder, biceps tendonitis, and osteoarthritis.  Acupuncture can also be useful.  Additionally, specific stretching exercises can help maintain or increase range of motion, while specific strengthening exercises can increase shoulder stability and decrease the probability of injuries such as rotator cuff tear, shoulder dislocation, arthritis, and tendonitis.  Also helpful for maintaining shoulder health is the regular practice of disciplines such as yoga, tai qi, and qi gong.  An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle will help prevent shoulder pain and injury as well as improve general health and comfort.  Blog #16: Cooling Chronic Inflammation supplies information about foods that will tend to increase or decrease the body’s level of inflammation.  You can find this blog by going to and scrolling down until you reach #16.  You may also need to click on the tab that directs you to previous blogs.

A problem that is often overlooked or misdiagnosed is frozen shoulder.  This condition usually can be differentiated from a rotator cuff injury with a simple exam.  In both cases, the extent to which the injured person can actively move the shoulder is limited.  However, the examiner can passively move the shoulder much further when the patient has a rotator cuff injury.  When a patient has a frozen shoulder, both active and passive ranges of motion are equally limited.  Frozen shoulder almost always responds well to chiropractic, physical therapy, and other similar therapies.  Most cases  resolve within one to three years.  Resolution is defined as a return of at least 80% of the previous range of motion, without discomfort. Specific qi gong exercises as well as more conventional stretching, and eventually, strengthening exercises will usually significantly shorten recovery time.  X-rays can rule out fractures or other injuries or pathologies.  MRI is often an appropriate diagnostic tool once an exam has ruled out frozen shoulder.  If a rotator cuff tear is severe, surgery may be the best option.  Rehabilitative stretching and strengthening exercises administered by a physical therapist or chiropractor will also be necessary for optimal recovery.  Mild rotator cuff tears are best addressed with exercises that increase shoulder strength and stability.  A chiropractor or physical therapist can help in these cases.

This month’s offer:  if you are having shoulder pain and limited range of motion, contact me for a complementary shoulder examination.  I will let you know if I can help. I may refer you to an orthopedist if necessary.