The shoulder is a combination of bones, muscles and connective tissues. The three bones of the shoulder are the humerus (upper arm bone), clavicle (collarbone) and scapula (shoulder blade). The humerus connects to the shoulder at a ball-and-socket joint. Connective tissues help keep this bone in place at the rotator cuff. Shoulder pain may occur around the joint or in the shoulder blade, and the discomfort may be a sharp pain or dull ache.

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What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain is categorized as inflammation, pain and instability. These may be caused by trauma, degenerative conditions, overuse and issues that affect the nerves. Your shoulder pain may be diagnosed as one or more conditions.

  • Inflammation of the bursa, which are fluid-filled sacs around the shoulder joint
  • Damage to the tendons that most often occurs in the rotator cuff
  • Pressure on the soft tissues around the shoulder blade, such as the tendons and bursa
  • Displacement or dislocation of the shoulder joint
  • Erosion of the tissues inside the shoulder joint
  • Fracture of the shoulder bones

When Should I See a Doctor for My Shoulder Pain?

If you experience moderate to severe trauma to your shoulder, we recommend that you be evaluated by a physician. Although the pain may subside, damage inside the shoulder can cause problems in the future. We also recommend that you see a physician for:

  • Pain and tightening in the shoulder when you use your arm
  • A feeling of weakness in the shoulder
  • Popping and cracking in the shoulder
  • Numbness and tingling in the arm

Do I Need Surgery for My Shoulder Pain?

Integrative medical care is known to be a valuable intervention for patients who live with shoulder pain. We will determine the cause of your shoulder pain and make a referral to a specialist if needed. Many cases of shoulder pain are successfully treated with integrative medical care without medications or surgery.

How Can Integrative Medicine Therapies Help with Shoulder Pain?

The complex design of the shoulder allows you to perform a range of tasks, from simple use of your arm to sports activities that require power from the shoulder. Because our shoulders are used for almost everything we do, any discomfort or reduced range of motion can have significant implications. The first priority for shoulder pain is to reduce inflammation. This can be achieved by applying heat and cold as well as using muscle stimulation. We will then work toward improving range of motion and reducing discomfort. Pain can be caused by a misalignment of the shoulder joint, and this can be treated with integrative medical interventions. We may also recommend massage therapy and release techniques to alleviate tension in the shoulder muscles.

What Can I Do at Home to Alleviate Shoulder Pain?

As part of your treatment, we will provide instructions on exercises and stretches to do at home. The exercises strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blade and those that hold the ball-and-socket joint in place. Stretching keeps the muscles loose to prevent any strain on the shoulder joint. You should also monitor your posture and body mechanics to ensure that you do not exacerbate the condition.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, we recommend that you be evaluated by a chiropractor. Contact us today to schedule your personal consultation.