Chiropractor Treatment for Shoulder Pain

A chiropractor can provide effective treatment for many musculoskeletal causes of shoulder pain. If you experience chronic or acute pain, stiffness, loss of range of motion, inflammation, or other symptoms in your shoulder, a chiropractor will assess your symptoms and diagnose the underlying cause.

Choosing chiropractic treatment for shoulder pain ensures you receive non-invasive, safe, and proven care that addresses your symptoms and the injury or condition causing them. The aim of chiropractic care is to improve your overall health through spinal adjustments, related treatments, and physical therapy.

What Are Some Musculoskeletal Causes of Shoulder Pain?

Chiropractor Treatment for Shoulder Pain

As we can see from Mayo Clinic, many musculoskeletal injuries and conditions can cause shoulder pain. This can be acute or chronic and nagging, sharp, or even disabling. Your chiropractor can take the necessary steps to diagnose your underlying condition. Some possible causes of shoulder pain include:

  • Tendonitis: Tendonitis is a common reason for shoulder pain. When a tendon becomes inflamed, it often causes pain and reduced range of motion. Car accidents, sports injuries, and overuse can cause this type of pain.
  • Tears: Sometimes, a tendon can partially or completely tear, causing significant pain and limiting the use of the affected arm.
  • Muscle Strains: Common muscle strains that cause shoulder pain occur in the deltoid, pectoralis major, or trapezius muscles.
  • Whiplash: When the soft tissues of the neck are affected by whiplash, it can cause shoulder pain.
  • Adhesive Capsulitis: Also known as a frozen shoulder, this condition causes pain and a limited range of motion in the affected shoulder.
  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome: This type of rotator cuff injury causes intermittent pain and restricted movement.
  • Bursitis: Bursitis can be extremely painful. It occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed.
  • Dislocation: The head of the humerus can slip out or be forced out of the shoulder socket, causing immediate and intense pain.
  • Subluxation: Subluxation is a partial or temporary dislocation of the shoulder.
  • Labral Tears: Tears of the cartilage in the shoulder socket, the labrum, cause pain and instability in the shoulder.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis in the shoulder joint causes pain, inflammation, and stiffness.
  • Fractures: A fracture of the clavicle, humerus, or scapula will likely require care beyond what is available from your chiropractor. However, they will be able to diagnose the condition.
  • Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Separation: A dislocation or separation of this joint is a common cause of symptoms, including pain and stiffness.
  • Scapular Dyskinesis: Abnormal movement of the shoulder blade will cause pain, instability, and limited range of motion.

Some of these conditions will improve with chiropractic care, while others require more invasive treatments. Getting an accurate diagnosis is crucial, especially since many of these conditions present with pain, weakness, and limited range of motion.

How Will My Chiropractor Diagnose the Underlying Cause of My Shoulder Pain?

Getting the correct diagnosis is the first step to receiving effective treatment for your pain. During your initial visit to your chiropractor, you will undergo an intake examination. This will likely include various tests to understand your symptoms and determine their cause. You can expect your doctor to complete the following:

  • An in-depth health history, including your symptoms, recent activities, and any previous related injuries or conditions
  • A physical exam to assess your range of motion, stability, and strength
  • Careful observation of any swelling or inflammation
  • Observing your posture and shoulder alignment
  • Performing specific orthopedic tests to rule out certain injuries, such as impingement, rotator cuff tears, and instability
  • Testing reflexes, sensation, and muscle strength to determine if there may be nerve involvement
  • Ordering X-rays and an MRI to rule out fractures, tears, or arthritis
  • Conducting a functional assessment to understand how your symptoms affect your movement, working ability, and daily activities

This process should allow your chiropractor to understand the cause of your pain and other symptoms and diagnose your condition or injury. With this knowledge, they can develop a plan to address your injury or disorder or refer you to another physician for care.

How Your Chiropractor Can Help With Shoulder Pain

Chiropractors develop a personalized plan for every patient. When you have a shoulder injury or condition, your practitioner will likely combine chiropractic care, physical therapy, and other modalities to effectively treat and rehabilitate your shoulder and prevent future injuries or recurrences.

Some ways chiropractors address shoulder injuries include:

Manual Adjustments

Misalignments in the spine and extremities can cause shoulder pain and hamper proper functioning. Realigning the spine and adjusting the shoulder joint could be effective in reducing pain and addressing some injuries.

Soft Tissue Therapy

Massage, myofascial release, and other similar techniques can ease pain, improve circulation, and reduce muscle tension. This therapy could speed healing and encourage an improved range of motion.

Rehabilitation Exercises

All chiropractic treatment plans also include physiotherapy. This program consists of prescribed exercises to strengthen the shoulder and increase the range of motion in the joint. This improves stability and ultimately leaves the shoulder stronger than before the injury occurred.

Posture and Ergonomics

A careful assessment of posture, including both sitting and standing, could provide insight into aggravating factors for your shoulder pain. Your therapist can provide advice on posture, lifting techniques, and ergonomic adjustments to prevent future issues.

Complementary Therapies

Many chiropractors provide a wide range of complementary therapies for pain management, reduction of inflammation, and encouraging healing. This could include ultrasound therapy, electrical stimulation (e-stim), cold/heat therapy, and laser therapy.

What Are Some of the Treatments Chiropractors Prescribe for Shoulder Pain?

The specific therapies and techniques used in your treatment plan will vary based on your diagnosis, symptoms, general health, contraindications, and overall goals. However, you can expect some of these techniques and therapies to be on your personalized treatment plan:

  • Manual Adjustments: These techniques involve spinal manipulation to realign the spine and adjust the affected shoulder joint. Chiropractors have many methods to use depending on the patient’s needs and other factors.
  • Joint Mobilization: These are gentle movements of the shoulder joint to increase the range of motion and joint function.
  • Kinesiology Taping: Your therapist may teach you to apply kinesiology tape to support your shoulder during parts of your treatment. This is especially helpful as unstable joints are healing but no longer require immobilization.
  • Stretching Exercises: Your physical therapist will teach you specific stretches to relieve tightness and increase flexibility in your shoulder. You will likely need to repeat these exercises at home between visits.
  • Strengthening Programs: Your physical therapist will also teach you how to do a personalized exercise program designed to increase the strength, stability, and proper functioning of your shoulder.
  • Rehabilitation: After you complete your initial treatment and begin to recover, your physical therapist will work to rehabilitate and strengthen your shoulder. You will also learn how to safely exercise without reinjuring your arm.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Your therapist may teach you tricks and techniques to reduce the risk of another injury. This could include proper lifting techniques, how to stretch before recreational activities, or how to sleep in a way that reduces pressure on your shoulder.
  • Nutritional Counseling: Sometimes, chiropractors may provide advice on diet changes and supplements to support healthy joints.
  • Functional Training: If your shoulder injury occurred because of work or other regular activities, you may receive therapy on managing these real-life tasks safely and effectively.

When you see a chiropractor for your shoulder pain, you will receive a range of treatments as part of a comprehensive care plan. The chiropractor will prescribe this personalized plan based on your specific needs and the underlying cause of your shoulder pain.

As you continue through the program, they will reassess your progress and make necessary changes to ensure you recover as fully as possible. Many patients leave treatment stronger and healthier than they were before their injury.

How Is a Chiropractor’s Approach to Shoulder Pain Different Than Most Doctors?

Most chiropractors believe in a holistic approach to addressing pain. Their goals include managing pain, treating the underlying issue, restoring function, and preventing future injuries. They do not want to force you into ongoing treatment or stop your symptoms without treating their cause.

Chiropractic care is non-invasive and safe but backed by decades of evidence that shows its efficacy. It is a good choice for those who want to avoid pharmaceuticals and surgery for conditions that could heal without them.

When necessary, your chiropractor will recommend you see another healthcare provider if you require medical or surgical intervention beyond their therapies. Even in these cases, though, they can often collaborate to provide supportive therapies to effectively address your symptoms and rebuild your strength and flexibility.

Call the Naples Community Injury Center for Your Initial Intake Exam

At Naples Community Injury Center, our team has decades of experience helping patients manage their shoulder pain and heal the injury that causes it. Let us help you. We have clinics in Naples, Marco Island, and Estero and are accepting new patients now.

Contact us today to schedule your initial intake examination.