You may not think much about your shoulders or how often you use them – until they start to hurt.
Shoulder pain impacts between 18 and 26 percent of adults at any given time. One reason may be that the shoulder is an incredibly complex and flexible joint, and problems can develop in multiple ways.
Shoulders are integral to many of our daily tasks, and once you start to have shoulder pain, you may find it hard to go about your normal activities.
Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medication, ice, and rest, but if that doesn’t work, you could find yourself searching for other options.
Why Do I Need Grayson Shoulder Pain Treatment?
This is always the first question we try to answer when evaluating your shoulder issues. We’ll begin by taking a medical history, inquiring about your symptoms, performing a physical exam, and running tests such as imaging studies. Here are some common causes of shoulder pain:
- Overuse. Using your shoulder more than usual could cause irritation, swelling, and inflammation of the tendons (tendonitis). But over time, overuse can also contribute to osteoarthritis in the shoulder and issues with the bones. Examples of situations that may cause overuse include sports where you throw or pitch a ball, lifting anything heavy (especially above your head), and any repetitive activity that involves raising your arm up (such as hanging items up high or waving).
- Trauma or sudden injury. Unlike overuse, this kind of injury usually happens quickly. The most frequent cause is car accidents, but you can also suffer an acute injury playing sports or if you have a fall for any reason. A heavy object falling and striking the shoulder is another possible cause. Sometimes a traumatic injury appears to heal at first, but the patient still has chronic shoulder pain following an accident. If your shoulder isn’t feeling “back to normal” in the indicated time frame, you may need a second opinion.
- Bone spurs. These can be a natural response to aging or may be caused by long-term arthritis in the shoulder. They occur when hard bumps of extra bone form, often in joints or other places where two bones meet.
- Arthritis. Either inflammation or the breakdown of cartilage can contribute to arthritis pain in your shoulder.
- Frozen shoulder. This occurs when the soft tissues in the shoulder, such as muscles and ligaments, become stiff, inhibiting your movement and causing intense pain. Physical therapy is often necessary to get the joint moving again, and some people may benefit from pain relief injections.
- Nerve injury. This can happen due to some of the other causes. In certain cases, the nerve is compressed because of repetitive motions or because a bone spur is pressing on the nerve.
- Poor posture. This may make you more prone to shoulder problems as well as referred pain from the spine.
- Sleeping position. Sometimes people develop shoulder pain after sleeping in an uncomfortable position, which can contribute to spinal misalignment and other issues.
- Shoulder separation. This painful condition happens when ligaments between the clavicle and the end of the shoulder blade are torn.
Should You Have Surgery for Your Shoulder Pain?
Some doctors may recommend surgery if you have persistent shoulder pain, but you should think carefully before committing to this option. Surgery involves many risks, including the possibility of infection, nerve damage, blood clots, and worsening pain.
While surgery is effective for some patients, considering other options is always a good idea.
Here are some shoulder pain treatments we offer at Optimum Health Rehab:
Many people are skeptical that having their back adjusted can help their shoulder pain, but in some cases, it’s just the treatment they need. This is because shoulder pain is sometimes referred from the spine.
One example is if a misaligned vertebra (a small bone in the back) puts pressure on nerves leading into the shoulder. Or, you might have a condition called shoulder impingement, where the shoulder blade creates friction by rubbing against the rotator cuff.
Some patients are surprised at how well a spinal adjustment reduces their pain from shoulder impingement.
Physical Therapy(remove and replace with REHAB)
We often recommend that patients work with one of our skilled physical rehabilitation specialists in addition to other treatments. This can be helpful in situations where you have new shoulder pain or when you are recovering from an injury that prevented shoulder movement.
The goal is to strengthen the muscles and tendons of the shoulder and promote flexibility, preventing further injury. Additionally, we will work to help you recover lost function.
Depending on your diagnosis, your physical rehab specialist may have you do certain exercises each day in an attempt to improve your range of motion. Sometimes these exercises are frustrating at first, but it’s helpful to remember that you may improve in small increments each day.
Even if you can’t see your progress immediately, it’s essential to keep going.
However, if you experience intense pain, please inform your Physical rehab specialist immediately. They may be able to modify exercises or work with your chiropractor on pain relief solutions, such as injections, to temporarily reduce your pain.
If you have an overuse injury, your physical rehab specialist may also help you find solutions to avoid overuse in the future.
For example, there may be a mobility aid or other device that helps you avoid reaching over your head as much. Or you might work on improving your posture and avoiding positions that put stress on your shoulder.
Sometimes with shoulder injuries that are severe or persist despite other treatments, we may consider platelet-rich plasma injections or PRP therapy. This exciting new therapy has been studied recently for soft tissue and nerve injuries.
One study found that PRP injections were more effective at diminishing pain and improving the quality of life for patients with shoulder diseases than other common interventions like steroid injections.
Steroids also have many potentially serious side effects and should not be used frequently.
How does PRP treatment work? It’s a safe, simple procedure that takes place in our office in only one appointment.
First, we draw a sample of your blood, then we use a centrifuge to separate the blood into its components, one of which is plasma.
This pale yellow liquid contains platelets, disc-shaped cell fragments that promote blood clotting after an injury. Proteins and other healing factors are also found in the plasma.
Next, the plasma is again run through the centrifuge and separated into two samples – platelet-rich plasma and platelet-poor plasma. The platelet-rich plasma is injected into your shoulder with ultrasound guidance, which helps speed up the healing process.
Some people want to know how quickly they will see results, but the answer varies widely depending on the injury and other factors.
Certain patients may feel better within a week or two, while others may not see results for 6 to 8 weeks. In some cases, patients see some improvement quickly and continue to get better over the next few weeks or months.
We encourage people to take it easy for several days after the procedure and avoid NSAIDs, fish oil, or other medications or supplements that decrease clotting.
Electrical stimulation, or E-Stim, can be helpful during physical therapy if you’re having a hard time recovering strength or function after a shoulder ailment, and it can also be utilized for pain relief.
We use a small device that attaches to your shoulder with electrodes and runs a low-voltage current. This current blocks pain signals between local nerves and the brain, so you don’t feel the typical level of pain.
We may conduct a nerve conduction study if we suspect a pinched or compressed nerve. This is a simple procedure where we attach electrodes to your shoulder or around the nerve in question and run a current through.
It’s similar to using E-Stim for pain relief, but in this case, we only run the current briefly to determine how quickly it passes through the nerve. If it travels more slowly than usual, that’s a sign the nerve is inflamed or damaged.
We will then work to address the cause with other therapies like spinal adjustment or physical rehabilitation.
How Can I Learn More About Shoulder Pain Treatment Options?
The first step is getting an accurate diagnosis, so please contact Optimum Health Rehab for a consultation about your shoulder pain. Our friendly staff members are happy to help with any questions or concerns, including issues with insurance, medical records, or scheduling.
When you come in for your appointment, we’ll take the time to talk about your symptoms and medical history, then examine your shoulder. If needed, we’ll run additional tests, such as X-rays, a CT scan, nerve conduction studies, etc.
Once we have a firm diagnosis, we’ll review your treatment plan and schedule follow-up appointments to check on your progress. Our treatment philosophy is holistic, so we may also recommend diet, exercise, or supplement solutions to improve your overall health.