Types of Shoulder Injuries
Many rotator cuff and other types of general shoulder injuries can be treated with the help of professional practitioners of chiropractic care and massage therapy, as natural, safer alternatives to medications and surgery. The shoulder is made up of many muscles, tendons, and joints. The bones of this body part include the clavicle, scapula, and humerus. The tissues which help to keep the arm properly aligned and centered in the shoulder are referred to as the rotator cuff.
Shoulder pain can have many causes, and it can originate from an injury or condition which is temporary or chronic. The general categories of shoulder pain are as follows: instability, arthritis, fracture, or inflammation of the tendon, such as that which occurs in tendinitis and bursitis. Rarely, nerve problems, infection, and tumors are the cause of the discomfort, but they are still possibilities. Bursitis refers to a condition where the fluid-filled sacs of the joints (bursae), which cushion between the bones and soft tissues, have become inflamed. Typically, this inflammation is due to excessive shoulder use. In tendinitis, the tendon has become overused and worn down. This can happen as a result of an acute injury, such as physical stress from overhead activities, ball throwing, or other sports. Tendinitis may also be chronic, with repetitive stress or degenerative diseases (i.e., arthritis) as the causes.
Sometimes, tendons might be torn, due to age, overuse, injury, or degeneration. Rotator cuff injuries are a common type of tendon tear. Impingement refers to a state where the shoulder blade puts pressure on soft tissues when the patient lifts their arm away from the body. This can rub on the bursa and rotator cuff tendons, leading to a future tear. Some people may experience a situation where the arm bone is being forced out of the socket of the shoulder due to overuse or an injury; this is known as shoulder instability. The dislocation can be partial or complete, leading the shoulder to repeat this type of injury in the future, and contribute to an increase in the potential for arthritis to develop.
Osteoarthritis is the “wear and tear” type of arthritis. Because of the associated pain, sometimes patients will choose to avoid moving the shoulder in an attempt to minimize the pain that they experience. However, this could lead to tightness and stiffness and a restricted range of motion due to underuse. Fractures are breaks in the bone, and they can cause shoulder pain as well.1
Exercises and Stretches
There are many exercises and stretches that can be done to help strengthen and maintain healthy shoulder. There are also activities that can assist with rehabilitation of a problem of this body part. First, patients should practice PRICE: protection (i.e., a sling), rest, ice, compression, and elevation. When it is time to rehabilitate the area, it is important to consider both flexibility and strength. A properly functioning shoulder needs to have a balance of these two categories. Flexibility concerns range-of-motion (ROM), dynamic stretching, and static stretching. Strengthening involves exercises, dumbbells, and tubing. Some of the stretches and exercises might be performed while the patient is lying down. While others are done while the patient is in a position of standing or sitting. Some exercises involve using just the patient’s body weight, while others utilize various exercise equipment, such as weights, balls, tables, towels, sticks, or bands.
Patients might work with a physical therapist or trained instructor. They may be given the option of one-on-one training or group workouts with others who are in rehabilitation and recovery. Patients who are receiving attention from professionals for their exercises will probably also have to practice regularly at home, when guided instruction is not necessary, to keep up their own rehabilitation.2
Chiropractic and Massage Care for Shoulder Injuries
Chiropractors are professionals who have been trained in the matters of musculoskeletal therapy and rehabilitation. First, they will need to find out what the cause of the shoulder pain is. The patient may have shoulder pain from bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, or a tear, as mentioned before. They may also have frozen shoulder, biceps tendon rupture, calcific tendonitis, a labral tear or Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior (SLAP) lesion, or some other instability, dislocation, or separation.
Once the source of the pain has been identified, the chiropractor can prescribe exercises and stretches. They can also perform gentle adjustments and techniques to realign the vertebrae in the neck. Some patients might need a slower rate of recovery in order to avoid pushing their body too far at too rapid of a pace. The goals are to relieve stiffness and pain and improve mobility. Additional therapy may involve heat, ice, traction, or even massage. Many chiropractors employ massage therapists. Physical therapists, massage therapists, and chiropractors could even work together to provide the patient with the best care possible.3
Find out more information on chiropractic care and rotator cuff injuries.