Ranging from a car accident injury to a chronic problem like arthritis, shoulder pain can have a number of different causes. Patients who experience shoulder pain may be surprised by the intensity and duration of the pain. As the shoulder area is essential for completing daily activities, this injury should be taken seriously and treated to avoid worsening your condition.
A number of factors and conditions can contribute to shoulder pain. The most prevalent cause is tendinitis. This is a condition characterized by inflamed tendons. Another common cause of shoulder pain is an impingement syndrome where the rotator cuff gets caught between the acromium (part of the scapula that covers the ball) and humeral head (the ball portion of the humerus).
Sometimes shoulder pain is the result of injury to another location in your body, usually the neck or bicep. This is known as referred pain. Referred pain generally doesn’t worsen when you move your shoulder.
Other causes of shoulder pain include several forms of arthritis, torn cartilage, or a torn rotator cuff. Swelling of the bursa sacs (which protect the shoulder) or tendons can also cause pain. Some people develop bone spurs, which are bony projections that develop along the edges of bones.
Pinching a nerve in the neck or shoulder, or breaking a shoulder or arm bone, are also causes of pain. A frozen shoulder is when tendons, ligaments, and muscles stiffen and become difficult or impossible to move. A dislocated shoulder is when the ball of the humerus pulls out of the shoulder socket. An injury due to overuse or repetitive use can cause injury.
Serious conditions such as a spinal cord injury or a heart attack may lead to shoulder pain.
Some signs that shoulder pain needs immediate attention may include a decreased ability to hold objects, decreased functioning of the arm, pain that persists even while at rest, pain that lasts more than two days, and unusual twinges or aches in the shoulder area.
Chiropractic care can be an extremely effective treatment for shoulder pain regardless of its cause. A chiropractor will often begin with an examination of the patient’s neck area since shoulder pain can frequently be the result of “referred” pain from the neck. Whether the shoulder pain is connected to the neck or is limited to the lower part of the shoulder, it can generally be treated with non-invasive methods of natural healing with chiropractic care.
Care for an injured shoulder may include application of heat, application of ice packs, gentle manipulation from the chiropractor to help the shoulder return to its original state of functionality, and gentle stretching and strengthening exercises that the patient can perform at home.