A painful condition of the shoulder is a common complaint. Shoulder pain is the third leading cause of musculoskeletal discomfort. Two thirds of adults will experience shoulder discomfort at some point in their life. A painful shoulder occurs most commonly in middle age (40-65 years).
Some patients shoulder pain is such that they will undergo surgery. Many will gain a great deal of pain relief. However, some will continue to have a painful shoulder even after surgery. This article will discuss a natural method for providing shoulder pain relief after surgery. It will also introduce research detailing a non-surgical, drug free approach in helping post-surgical shoulder problems with persistent pain as well as two successful case study presentations.
As a practicing chiropractor of over 35 years, I have treated many people for shoulder pain. It is a complex joint. There are several bones, bursas, tendons, muscles and ligaments associated with the shoulder. There is also a fibrous capsule, containing fluid, surrounding the joint. It is a joint that moves in every direction.
A very important feature of the shoulder is that it is associated with our neck which is also called the cervical spine. Nerves exit openings between the bones of the cervical spine that travel to muscles which help the joint to move freely and properly.
Chiropractic treatment for shoulder pain looks to improve improper movement or misalignment of the bones of the cervical spine, and thus improve muscular function of the shoulder joint. Additionally, treatment aimed at injury of the shoulder joint itself must be addressed with chiropractic care.
I recall a patient named George, who came to me after having rotator cuff surgery. His surgery had improved his shoulder movement significantly, however he still had moderate discomfort with certain shoulder motions. When I examined George, I found he had some misalignments of the bones of his neck and some mild restrictions of movement of the bones of the shoulder socket. Chiropractic manipulation (sometimes called the chiropractic adjustment) helped to realign his spine and restore normal movement of the shoulder joint. Following this George had full shoulder pain relief and normal shoulder motion.
Another patient of mine, Tom, had surgery for a labral tear of the shoulder. His recovery was initially quite good but seemed to plateau a couple months after the surgery. He said his pain level was improved approximately 80% from the surgical procedure. However, he still felt some mild postsurgical shoulder pain both at rest and with activity. My examination of Tom revealed spinal misalignments of his neck and upper back and some restriction of movement of the scapula bone which is familiar to most people as the shoulder blade. By utilizing chiropractic adjustments, we restored proper movement and alignment of these areas and Tom had full resolution of his shoulder discomfort.
A 2018 research study showed post-surgical shoulder patients with persisting pain, receiving spinal manipulation significantly increased shoulder movement and stability. Other studies have reported similar improvement of pain, motion and shoulder stability when chiropractic care was performed, post surgically for lingering shoulder pain.
Most patients who go to chiropractors find that having a chiropractic adjustment is a safe, pleasant experience because it corrects spinal misalignments and locked up movement of fixated extremity joints.
For this reason, many patients turn to natural, drug free, gentle, chiropractic care for shoulder pain relief after surgery.
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