Did you know the shoulder is a ball and socket joint and is considered the most mobile joint in our body? Shoulder injuries are among the most prevalent injuries of the body and can affect people of all ages.
In younger individuals, injuries tend to be related to falls, sport injury or repetitive overuse from work or poor posture. In older individuals, we start to see more cases of frozen shoulder, Arthritis and Calcific Tendinitis.
Shoulder injuries present differently based on the diagnosis and can involve joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments and can be accompanied by neck pain and back pain. Here, we will review some common shoulder injuries and suggest appropriate treatment options like Chiropractic and Physiotherapy.
We will also discuss our unique approach to treating injuries using evidence based approaches and a collaborative attitude to get you back to full function.
The Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
Pain in shoulder may occur due to several reasons which we are going to discuss just a few. Some of your shoulder pain causes could be:
Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis
Your shoulder being frozen refers to a condition where the shoulder loses its natural range of motion and becomes increasingly “stuck” for a period of time ranging from a few months to over a year.
Frozen shoulder is not fully understood however, we know there are 3 stages associated with this diagnosis and they include the freezing stage, frozen stage and the thawing phase also known as stage 1-3.
The condition presents initially with pain and discomfort that increasingly worsens accompanied by stiffness and loss of mobility in the affected joint. This condition most commonly affects females over 40 and is more prevalent in those with previous shoulder pain, stiffness, trauma or past shoulder surgery.
Rotator Cuff Tear/Injury
These injuries can be chronic and acute and can affect all age groups to varying degrees. High risk factors for rotator cuff injuries are repetitive overuse such as overhead work, age related degeneration or trauma. Interestingly, smoking is also associated with higher incidence of rotator cuff tears.
Ultrasound and MRI are the best tools for diagnosing these conditions. Full thickness tears warrant surgery in younger individuals, however many cases of partial or small tears are recommended to be managed conservatively with physiotherapy, chiropractic care and massage therapy.
Because the shoulder joint is a mobile joint, it is stabilized by many ligaments and tendons that surround the joint. These structures have to work together in a synchronous pattern to allow for the pain free movement of the shoulder. Repetitive overuse, heavy lifting and overhead work can strain tendons and result in tendon inflammation also known as tendinitis.
Rest combined with appropriate rehab and manual therapy is a great treatment option for tendinitis of the shoulder and can prevent this condition from becoming a recurrent issue in the future.
Dislocations of the shoulder can occur either at the glenohumeral joint (GHJ) or at the acromioclavicular joint (AC). GHJ dislocations are often associated with trauma, rotator cuff tear or a ligament tear. Symptoms are swelling, weakness and numbness. Surgical intervention reduces the rate of recurrent instability in those <35 years old.
ACJ dislocations are associated with trauma or heavy lifting over a period of time. There are 6 types of AC joint dislocations that range in severity and warrant a different clinical approach. For those patients with a type III dislocation and higher, surgical consultation and management may be indicated. It is best to have this condition assessed by your practitioners and collaborate with your medical doctors for best treatment outcomes.
Degenerative arthritis refers to “wear and tear” of the joint. It is associated with age and can result in extra bone growth or narrowing of joint spaces that affect mobility at that joint and can be accompanied by pain and stiffness. There are also other types of arthritis that are related to immune dysfunction such as rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
Although arthritis has no cure, there are strategies to assist in reduction of pain and conservative management of the condition. Treatment options include a range of mobilization techniques, soft tissue therapies and exercise therapy appropriate for the type and degree of arthritis.
Shoulder injuries are certainly more common in racquet sports such as Tennis, Badminton and Lacrosse but also in Volleyball players that play overhead majority of the time.
Sports related injuries are often acute and most commonly involve tendinitis of the rotator cuff. We have experience in treating a variety of sports injuries through manual therapy and rehabilitation that are movement based exercises and appropriate in preparing athletes for return back to sport in an appropriate length of time.
Spinal conditions can range from mild to severe and can involve nerves to varying degrees. Corrective rehabilitation exercises that work on core strengthening and back mobility are beneficial for treatment of shoulder injuries.
An active body leads to a healthy spine, improved alignment and mobility. Proper movement of the joints are fundamental to ensuring optimal alignment and function throughout the whole body. In chronic shoulder injuries, spinal restrictions are common, scapular mobility is affected which also affects our neck and mid back regions in terms of stiffness and pain.
Ensuring ideal spinal alignment will also assist in improving the speed of your shoulder recovery and remove any hindrance that spinal restrictions may be placing on your shoulder mobility.
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How Can We Bring Relief for Your Shoulder Pain?
Through our physiotherapy and chiropractic sessions, Dr. Kimiya and Dr. Amber work together to ensure we have a correct working diagnosis for your injury. Using evidence based protocols, we provide the necessary treatment to address your mobility restrictions, muscle tightness or weakness.
Both our practitioners work closely to design an appropriate rehab program that is progressive and repeatable at home. We recommend seeing both our Coquitlam chiropractors and physiotherapists if you are suffering from a shoulder injury for the most comprehensive approach to your care and speedy recovery.