St. Louis Shoulder Pain Chiropractor
Shoulder pain refers to any pain that you are experiencing in and around your shoulder area. It can originate from several different sources such as the joints, tendons and muscles found in the shoulder. This type of pain typically gets worse during activities that involve shoulder and arm movement.
Certain diseases and bodily conditions can cause shoulder pain too but these are a referred pain so they will not worsen when you move your arm or shoulder.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
The shoulder is made up of several tendons, muscles and ligaments that combine to allow a very large range of motion in the shoulder. There are also three primary bones located in your shoulder (the clavicle, the humerus and the scapula). When the soft tissues in the shoulder are impinged upon or suffer instability it often results in shoulder pain. You may or may not feel pain when you move and the pain can be temporary or constant; constant pain normally requires a medical diagnosis and treatment.
Most shoulder pain results from one of four different shoulder problems:
- Bursitis, tendinitis or a tendon tear
- Shoulder Instability
These are best described as tiny jelly like sacs that are found throughout the body; this includes the knee, heel, shoulder, hip and elbow areas. Each one contains fluid and they are located between the bones to reduce friction and provide cushion.
When these sacs become inflamed that is called bursitis. Swelling results when bursa are continuously subjected to small stresses and overuse. It is often present in conjunction with rotator cuff tendonitis. When bursitis happens your shoulder can become inflamed and painful. This results in even the simplest daily tasks such as getting dressed and combing your hair becoming difficult.
The tendons in your body connect your muscles to the bone. Tendinitis results when the tendon is slowly worn out over time.
There are two general types of tendinitis:
- Acute – These types of soft tissue injuries are caused by sudden trauma. They are often the result of such events as a fall, twist or collision. These result in sprains, bruises and strains.
- Chronic – these types of shoulder injuries are the result of Degenerative diseases such as arthritis or constant wear and tear due to age.
The most common tendon injuries are those associated with the rotator cuff which provides stability to the shoulder and shoulder motion.
These can result from either acute or degenerative conditions. The injury can be either a partial or complete tear also. This happens most to the rotator cuff and biceps tendons.
This happens when the shoulder blade puts pressure on the soft tissues underneath it when your arm is lifted up and away from your body. This can lead to bursitis and tendonitis and if it gets bad enough can tear the rotator cuff.
This happens when the top of the upper arm bone is pushed out of the shoulder socket. This can be sudden or happen slowly over time. Once the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the shoulder become torn or loose this can happen repeatedly.
When an acute shoulder injury occurs you may have to seek medical attention right away; especially if the pain associated with the injury is severe. If there is less severe pain it’s normally ok to wait a few days to see if it goes away on its own. If it does not then it is recommended you go see your chiropractor or doctor.
Your doctor will perform a thorough evaluation of your case to best determine the source of your shoulder pain and the ideal treatment for it.
The first step in any medical exam is always going over the history of your injury and other pertinent information in your medical history. Your doctor will ask such things as how the injury occurred, what makes it better or worse and if you have had this type of injury before. Most shoulder problems are brought about by specific activities and relieved by certain conditions, so a medical history review is vital to finding out the source of your pain.
During the physical examination your doctor will look at your shoulder structure and check your range of motion. They will also look for abnormal movement and put pressure on different parts of your shoulder to determine what areas are sensitive and painful.
Tests your doctor may order:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- EMG (electromyogram)
Treatments for Shoulder pain
This includes rest and altering your daily physical activities.
These will usually be medications that reduce pain and inflammation. Steroid injections may also be given.
Over 90% of shoulder pain patients will get better using non-surgical methods but for those who don’t surgery is an option.