The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the human body. It is a “ball and socket” joint, meaning that it can move in any direction. In fact, it is considered to be the most mobile joint in the body, which is helpful given the wide range of activities we need our arms for! However, because it is so mobile, it is not a very stable joint, which makes it highly susceptible to injury. For this reason, shoulder pain is a very common condition that is treated by our doctors at the Springfield Wellness Center.
Shoulder pain will occur in around 70% of people at some point in their lives. Like other musculoskeletal conditions, shoulder pain can be easily divided into two main categories: acute and chronic. Around 50% of these cases will resolve within 8-12 weeks, but 40% turn into chronic problems that last for 1 year or longer, making it an incredibly frustrating condition to experience. The point is, if you experience a shoulder injury, it is extremely important to address it as quickly as possible to prevent it from becoming a chronic condition that gets more difficult to treat over time.
One of the most common causes of shoulder pain seen at the Springfield Wellness Center is poor posture. Several different muscles attach to the shoulder, which makes it heavily reliant on these muscles being balanced in order to keep the joint stable. Poor posture often creates muscle imbalance, namely in the form of the shoulders rolling forward (typically in response to prolonged computer/desk work). Other common causes of shoulder pain include traumas such as falls or car accidents, stress, repetitive movements, and osteoarthritis (joint degeneration). Many of these causes tend to create misalignment of the shoulder joints. Chiropractors specialize in identifying and correcting these misalignments through chiropractic adjustments. Because there are many different causes of shoulder pain, it is essential to uncover the root cause of your problem so that your problem can be addressed appropriately.
How We Treat Shoulder Pain in Springfield, IL
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
At the Springfield Wellness Center, we approach every new patient encounter the same way – with a thorough consultation and examination. In the consultation, your doctor will ask you several questions about your history of this problem as well as any other problems you are experiencing. They want to know about any past traumas you’ve experienced, what your day-to-day activities and hobbies are, and what kind of work you do. These things provide valuable insight into the origins of your shoulder pain and from where it could have developed. Additionally, your doctor wants to understand the effect this has had on you and your quality of life. This is your opportunity to help your doctor truly understand you, and our doctors are here to listen.
After the consultation and history, the doctor will perform an examination to best determine what is causing your shoulder pain. They will perform tests such as Range of Motion, orthopedic testing, neurologic testing, and palpation to be able to rule in or rule out certain shoulder conditions. It is the job of the doctors to put the puzzle pieces together based on this information. Based on their findings, they will give you their best recommendations for care on how to best address this problem and help you accomplish your goals. In some cases, x-rays may need to be obtained in order to further understand your condition. The purpose is not to cause you any further concern, but rather it is merely to ensure our chiropractors are not missing anything when it comes to your shoulder problem.
Specific Chiropractic Care
Many people think of the shoulder joint as the joint where your arm meets your torso. But did you know there are actually other joints that are considered to be part of the shoulder as well? The glenohumeral joint is the most widely known, as it is where the humerus of the arm meets the scapula. But two other shoulder joints that commonly cause issues are the AC joint (where the collar bone meets the scapula) and the SC joint (where the collar bone meets the sternum). Joint restriction and misalignment can occur at any of these joints, and chiropractors are trained to adjust these joints to provide pain relief and restore motion and function.
Our chiropractors will also take a global approach to your shoulder issue, and make sure that the areas around your shoulder are functioning well, too. It is common for people with shoulder pain to also experience neck or upper back pain, and chiropractors are experts at helping people with those types of discomfort. At the Springfield Wellness Center, we take this approach with every patient to ensure they receive the best care possible.
Massage Therapy and Soft Tissue Work
A crucial element to the success we have in treating shoulder pain at the Springfield Wellness Center is utilizing massage therapy and other types of soft tissue rehabilitation. The shoulder is surrounded by many different muscles, and it is common for these muscles to become tight and irritated as a result of everyday life. Our massage therapists are experts in alleviating the tension that builds up in these muscles, which can increase both range of motion and function of the shoulder. They will work to address the specific locations of dysfunction and help restore proper shoulder mechanics so you can get back to feeling great again.
Also, our chiropractors are trained in various soft tissue techniques that are also effective in treating various shoulder conditions. One technique is known as Active Release Technique, in which the doctor will shorten the specific muscle, apply tension to it, and then lengthen and stretch the muscle through a full range of motion. This helps to break up muscle adhesions that develop and become deeply rooted in muscle tissue over time. Another soft tissue technique that is effective in reducing muscle adhesions is the Graston technique, in which the doctor will utilize a metal tool to break up the adhesions and attract blood flow to the site so the tissue can heal properly. No matter your preference, the Springfield Wellness Center is the place to go for your shoulder muscle needs.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise Plan
The glenohumeral joint of the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body. It is surrounded by the rotator cuff muscles that assist with movement and provide some stability, but not nearly as much as other ball and socket joints like the hip, for example. Striking the right balance of mobility and stability is essential when treating a shoulder condition, and our doctors and trainers at the Springfield Wellness Center are well-positioned to help you with your shoulder pain.
In the exam process, our doctors will identify areas of weakness or restriction in your shoulder. From there, they work closely with our trainers to come up with a custom exercise plan that will address your unique needs. If your shoulder is weak, it likely means that more strengthening and stabilizing is necessary. If your shoulder is too restricted, it may need more stretching and mobility work to improve its range of motion. Many different kinds of shoulder conditions can cause pain, and it is our job to diagnose your problem and put you on the right path towards healing and resolution.
Deep Tissue Laser
At the Springfield Wellness Center, we leverage technology to help us stay on top of musculoskeletal conditions like shoulder pain. The most common technology we use is called Deep Tissue Laser. Laser works through a process called photobiomodulation, in which red light is used to penetrate deep into damaged tissue down to the cellular level. Through this process, inflammation is reduced, and the healing process is accelerated. Treatment only takes about 3-5 minutes to complete, and it is very comfortable. At most, you will feel a soothing warmth felt in the area being treated.
Deep Tissue laser has numerous applications for shoulder conditions, making it an effective tool for our doctors to use as part of your treatment plan. It can help muscles and tendons heal by stimulating healing and inflammation reduction. It can reduce inflammation in damaged joints in the shoulder complex. The applications are vast, and that is why it is a go-to therapy for our chiropractors here at the Springfield Wellness Center.