Seattle has a large community, with over 686,000 Americans residing in the big city. Since most of the population either work or attend school, the risk of shoulder-related injuries happening to you are more immense. Shoulder pain has several causes, but most will experience it in their lifetime due to sports, strenuous work conditions or from natural wear and tear from age.
Most Common Sufferers Of Shoulder Pain
It’s projected that approximately 25% of people over the age of 45 experience some form of damage to their shoulder, but may not even experience symptoms. For the residents of Seattle, with 33.9-percent or 232,554, of the population over the age of 45, around 61,740 residents will experience shoulder pain this year alone. However, it’s not just the older generations experiencing forms of shoulder pain in excess.
Students in school, specifically those who play sports, experience many shoulder-related injuries. 53,872 students attend school in 2016, with 10% playing sports. Out of the 5,495 children playing sports, 58% of these players will be dealt with some form of shoulder-related injuries. This means that at least 3,187 students in the Seattle area will experience this issue, not including other sports-related injuries like a blown knee or lower back pain.
With roughly 400,000 residents falling between the ages of 18 to 44, around 36,000, or 9%, of them, will also experience some form of shoulder pain or injury. This means over 100,000 people throughout the Seattle area with shoulder-related injuries. With the high risk of pain medication overdose occurring, many people are looking to chiropractic care as a reliable alternative treatment that helps manage and even cure pain thought to be permanent.
What Are The Causes Of Shoulder Pain?
Most Americans who suffer from shoulder pain find the source of the problem not to be bone related, rather more involved with damage to the tendons, muscles and ligaments that make up the structure of the shoulder. This leaves you prone to numerous conditions and syndromes that could be causing your shoulder pain. Here are a few of the most commonly seen shoulder pain-related injuries that may require chiropractic care.
- Impingement Syndrome: One of the more common syndromes, you’ll experience this type of shoulder pain if you move your shoulder too much in a short period or suffer from a degenerative disease. This happens when your tendons in the subacromial bursa and rotator cuff become pinched underneath a small, narrow space beneath the acromion. This causes the tendon to inflame and swell and you will experience severe pain when moving your shoulder in any direction.
- Brachial Plexopathy: You have a group of nerves that run from your lower back to your shoulder and hands called Brachial Plexus. Since they help control the function and feeling in your shoulder and hands, any damage to them can cause numbness in your shoulders, arms and hands. This is commonly caused if you overstretch, face trauma from birth or have inflammatory conditions.
- Bursitis: Your shoulder has small, sac-like fluids around the joints that reduce the amount of friction during mobility and motion. Bursitis causes the bursa to become inflamed and swell, which affects your soft tissue, causing the same reaction to them as well. When this happens, it’s referred to by many as “frozen shoulder” as it causes increased stiffness in your joint.
- Tendonitis: Your tendons play an important role in your body, connecting your muscle to the bone. Your tendons help you operate the mobility of your shoulder, giving it a complete range of motion. However, normal wear and tear can happen with the tendons, like how shoe soles get worn over time. This condition can be acute (i.e. temporary because overusing muscles during activities), chronic from a degenerative disease or from wear due to age or caused when splitting or tearing it while playing sports.
- Bone Injury/Instability: Bone-related injuries to your shoulder are the least common of these, but it does occur for those who play rigorous sports or face trauma. The ball of the humerus bone comes removed from its socket/normal position. For most, once this happens once, there is a higher chance of it reoccurring, especially without the right treatment and training on it. This is called “instability”, which can cause pain and unsteadiness in your arm. It’s also referred to as “dead arm” by many.
- Arthritis: When you wear out your joints over time, arthritis becomes more common for many in their elderly years. It’s considered a degenerative disease and comes in over 100 different forms. This makes treatment options difficult, but chiropractic care works well for many to reduce or eliminate pain.
Malignancy (cancer) may also be a symptom of severe shoulder pain. Therefore, seeking medical attention by a doctor or chiropractor is necessary to pinpoint the exact cause to help you survive from a potentially life-threatening illness. However, this is not common in patients who seek treatment options for shoulder pain.
Why You Should Pick Chiropractic Care For Shoulder Pain
Opioid overdose prescribed for chronic or acute pain suffers have been on the rise in the US, with over 20,101 Americans dying in 2015 from prescription pain relievers. Chiropractic care provides you with a safe, effective alternative method to taking these addicting pills. Even more, most people who go for shoulder pain have experienced a significant reduction in pain and others have had it eliminated completely.
When you first visit a chiropractor, they will go through a series of testing to determine the exact problem you’re experiencing. These tests are vital because it will help your chiropractor create the ideal treatment plan for you. For shoulder pain, you will start with the “Give me Five” test, where you’ll hold your arm out and the chiropractor evaluates the strength of your shoulder, using a hands-on approach to feel your muscles, bone and tendons.
After the initial evaluation, you will undergo scans or x-rays to help the chiropractor make his findings official, or to pinpoint unknown and unforeseeable issues beyond the surface. Then, beyond treating you through various forms of therapy individualized to your needs, they will also go through your daily activities and help modify certain parts of your life to prevent strain during treatment.
Treatment Options Available For Shoulder Pain From Chiropractic Care
Every chiropractor has his or her own treatment options and programs they feel work best. However, the basis of your treatment should be consistent no matter what problems you have or where you go. The focus will first be to treat your pain and inflammation. Here are some common treatments and therapies used first to help subside the pain you feel.
- Heat/Cold Therapy: Alternates between hot packs and ice packs to help reduce swelling and inflammation by constricting the flow of blood and muscles with the cold packs and then using the heat packs to help stimulate the flow of blood and loosen the muscles.
- Electrical Muscle Stimulation: Sensors are placed on your body, where they send electrical impulses to your muscles and decrease the number of ATP (energy) in your muscles. This removes muscle spasms, decreases pain and reduces inflammation, causing your muscles to relax. This is great before joint readjustment to make it easier for the chiropractor to do the job correctly and without hurting you.
- Ultrasound Therapy: Sends acoustic waves to targeted tissues and muscles to reduce swelling and stiffness and increase blood circulation. This provides targeted relief to whatever area needs immediate relief.
Next, your chiropractor will focus on improving your range of motion in your shoulder and the surrounding tissue. This will be done through one or more of the following treatment options.
- Graston Technique: Patented steel tools are used during this procedure and have been known to help eliminate all pain from patients, many of which have chronic inflammation or soft tissue fibrosis. These tools effectively break down any scar tissue formed over time. This method helps increase recovery times and reduces the need for patients to take opiates.
- Extremity/Spinal Manipulative Therapy: Referred to many as an “adjustment”, your chiropractor will often always use this as part of your treatment option. This helps you correct your posture and structure of your back and extremities in your shoulder. Don’t be surprised if your chiropractor recommends that you get both your back and shoulder readjusted. Both can help you increase your range of motion and decrease recovery time.
- Myofascial Release Therapy: Myofascial release therapy is a type of massage that kneads over your muscles and soft tissues specifically. This helps to stretch, soften and lengthen necessary muscles and tissue causing you excessive pain or discomfort. It increases lymphatic flow throughout the body, increases your range of motion, relieves muscle spasms and helps decrease inflammation.
After a few sessions, your chiropractor will begin strength and flexibility exercises to help keep the humerus in its socket, improve strength and control of your shoulder blade muscle and rotator cuff. Finally, with several sessions, your shoulder will begin moving smoothly and frictionless with activities.
During your treatment, your chiropractor may suggest Kinesio-tape if you suffer from orthopedic, neurological, medical or neuromuscular conditions with your shoulder. This tapes’ design helps to facilitate a speedy recovery and helps to support and stabilize joints and muscles without fear of mobility restrictions. It can help prevent future injury to your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones in your shoulder while you recover and will give you optimal performance. This may be necessary during your strength training.
How Long Does Treatment Take?
This therapy takes around six to eight weeks to complete and must be followed exactly as planned by your chiropractor. Most people have found results to be permanent, even for the most chronic, painful problems. However, failure to follow the regiment exactly or doing unnecessary strenuous work may cause you more problems in the future and results may not be seen at all.
Proven Results That Chiropractic Care Works For Shoulder Pain
If you’re in need of chiropractic care, but feel skeptical, there have been many proven results and clinical trials showing the effectiveness of chiropractic care. Most research only dates back from the past decade or two, when alternative therapies were sought as an alternative to modern medications. Since these trials have been published, many people are exploring it and finding it to be more effective than pharma drugs.
A study performed in 2009, and published in 2011, took 72 participants with chronic, non-traumatic shoulder pain. The study showed how many shoulder girl muscles with myofascial trigger points were detected in the group. The results showed that participants had a high number of myofascial trigger points in their shoulder. This study proved that alternative treatments like myofascial release may significantly help reduce pain in patients with chronic shoulder pain.
Another study tested a 54-year-old man who suffered from chronic pain from his neck down to his right shoulder. After being prescribed 800 mg of Motrin for his pain (4x per day) and a muscle relaxer, the patient only slept better but felt no relief from his pain medication. Eventually, he went to a chiropractor, where he was identified having fixation and nerve irritation between the C5 and C7 vertebrae. After three sessions of treatment, the patient felt 90-percent relief from his pain and symptom and felt full relief after 6 treatments.
In even another study, four (4) patients were treated for impingement syndrome using chiropractic techniques. After the full term of their treatment, all patients felt symptom-free. They were brought back in for a 1-month follow-up. All the patients still showed no signs of symptoms, had a full range of motion in their shoulder and could perform their usual activities.
Proven Results From A Chiropractor For Any Shoulder Pain Issues
Before these in-depth studies were published, most people used medical drugs to help with managing pain in their shoulder. However, people never felt full relief from these medications and most would begin to feel the pain come back as strongly if medication dosages weren’t raised. This made the need for alternative therapy imperative.
Now, you can get permanent pain relief by visiting a chiropractor for a few weeks. Going to a chiropractor once a year for several treatments may be more effective for those suffering from chronic pain in their shoulders. Since most of these symptoms are caused by degenerative diseases, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and regimen to keep the pain away.