Why Isn’t My Shoulder Pain Getting Better?

Shoulder Anatomy
Shoulder Pain

Many people suffering from shoulder pain, who have tried conventional treatment continue to suffer with complaints of their shoulder. They have tried anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections and physical therapy yet their shoulder is still giving them pain. It is not commonly known that shoulder conditions can be associated with problems of the neck. This article will discuss shoulder pain and how it is related to neck problems. A treatment solution for shoulder discomfort will be addressed.

The shoulder joint is one of three joints in the body that can move in every direction. (The thumb and the hip comprise the other two). Over the course of our lives this joint undergoes a tremendous amount of physical stress and subsequently can become injured.

Our neck, which is anatomically called the cervical spine, can be associated with problems of the shoulder joint. The cervical spine is made up of seven vertebrae or spinal bones. Between the bones are openings where nerves exit. Some of these nerves innervate the muscles which make our shoulder joint move in various directions. If nerves in the neck are pinched or irritated it can refer pain into the shoulder area. It can also cause the muscles to work improperly, which over time can cause the shoulder joint and various structures like bursas, tendons and ligaments to undergo excessive stress leading to bursitis, tendinitis and ligaments sprain.

Research study published in August 2018 in the Physiotherapy Research International publication noted that pain can affect the shoulder movement. In this study, researchers found that among a group of 60 adults under the age of 45, those with chronic neck pain exhibited reduce function and range of motion in the shoulder. Additionally, the research team observed a relationship between greater neck pain intensity and worse shoulder joint performance.

This indicates that shoulder problems and problems of the cervical spine, the neck, are directly associated.

If a healthcare practitioner only focuses on the shoulder and prescribes medication, or performs steroid injections of the shoulder, or performs physical therapy of the shoulder without addressing an underlying neck problem it is likely that treatment of the shoulder will be unsuccessful.

Fortunately, a doctor of chiropractic is eminently qualified to treat problems of the shoulder. Chiropractors are healthcare practitioners that are trained to examine both the cervical spine and the shoulder. Chiropractic examination of the shoulders would include checking the range of motion of the shoulder, and if there is associated bursitis, tendinitis and ligament problems. A chiropractor will also examine the cervical spine to see if there are misaligned or improperly moving vertebrae which would affect the nerves associated with the shoulder.

A doctor of chiropractic can then direct gentle, safe, effective treatment to both the shoulder and the cervical spine. In most instances this will lead to successful resolution of conditions affecting the shoulder.

It is best to try a conservative rehabilitative approach initially with this kind of condition. If more aggressive therapies like pharmaceutical intervention or surgery are performed it is not uncommon for patients to experience side effects such as gastrointestinal problems, deleterious reaction kidney and/or failed surgery.

To learn more about shoulder pain chiropractor Pittsburgh North hills see this video. Dr. James Schofield’s tips to help shoulder pain can be found here.

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