Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes narrowing of joint space and is commonly seen in the shoulder. It takes a long time to develop, sometimes even decades, and is usually the long-term result of things like poor posture, lack of motion, or traumatic injuries.
Our joints need to move in order to stay healthy. When we don’t move our joints enough, or have poor posture, they gradually wear down. Osteoarthritis can also cause changes in the bone called bone spurs. These abnormal growths irritate nerves in the shoulder, causing shoulder pain. Chiropractic care and exercise are essential for managing osteoarthritis and slowing down its progression.
Frozen shoulders can be very uncomfortable and limiting in your daily life. It is characterized by restriction and pain in the shoulder joint which occurs when the connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint becomes thickened. Due to this thickening and limited space, it feels tight and you lose range of motion. The risk of developing frozen shoulder increases after shoulder surgery, a stroke, injury, or fracture.
There are 3 stages to frozen shoulders:
- Freezing stage where you begin to notice a loss in your range of motion and pain when any movement is attempted.
- Frozen stage is when pain may begin to subside. However, your shoulder is now extremely difficult to use as movement has become further restricted.
- Thawing stage is the final stage in which your range of motion finally begins to improve.
As chiropractors, we see frozen shoulders quite frequently in various stages. The 3 stages can occur over several months and it’s never too late to receive relief.
The rotator cuff’s main role in the shoulder is to stabilize the joint by compressing the humeral head. There are 4 muscles that hold your arm in place which all help to make all of your shoulder movements. Due to continuous movement over the years, age increases risk of rotator cuff injuries. Unfortunately, some occupations increase the risk because they require quick upward motions such as construction workers and carpenters.
It’s important to do what you can to prevent this injury. This includes maintaining good posture, avoiding sleeping on your side, targeting your shoulder with certain exercises, avoiding smoking to increase blood flow, and avoiding motions with repetitive arm movements. More serious rotator cuff injuries may require surgery. Chiropractic is gentle and non-invasive. We have helped many patients avoid surgery so it’s important to get thoroughly assessed right away.
How can you tell if your shoulder is “strained” or “sprained”? Although the pain may feel very similar, the difference is that a strain involves the muscle or tendons in your shoulder, while a sprain involves ligaments that connect the bones in your shoulder.
The most common symptoms of a shoulder sprain include pain, swelling, tenderness when touching the area of injury, decreased range of motion when moving the shoulder, and instability. To find out if your shoulder is strained or sprained, it is important to get checked right away for the best results. At Priestley Family Chiropractic, we take x-rays and nerve studies to find the true cause of your shoulder pain. Depending on what we find, we can provide specific exercises to increase strength and stability in your shoulder.
Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon that causes pain and swelling in your shoulder. This condition is commonly referred to as “Pitcher’s Shoulder” or “Swimmer’s Shoulder” due to repetitive shoulder motion which can result in micro tears in the tendon. This can make your shoulder painful and weak. Tendinitis can occur from an acute injury such as a fall or from consistent overuse due to sports or occupation. Proper technique is vital in any sport to avoid overload on tendons.
In order to avoid tendinitis, use limited force and limited repetitive movements. Although this may be unavoidable in many jobs and sports, it is important to slowly build up your activity level by stretching and taking it slow. It is common for shoulder tendinitis to resolve on its own; however, it may take weeks to months to recover. As chiropractors, we specialize in locating and finding the cause of your shoulder pain so it is important to get a thorough evaluation as soon as possible so it won’t continue to affect your daily activities.