Shoulder Pain Problems
Shoulder pain and its related conditions are extremely common. In fact, it is one of the leading reasons that people are forced to discontinue their favorite sport and/or recreational activities. It can also seriously interfere with one’s ability to perform their job.
Without a thorough understanding of the body’s biomechanics, shoulder problems can go on uncorrected, leading to significant pain and impairment.
Shoulder problems can begin for a variety of reasons and typically precedes outright pain. Some of these reasons may be related to improper posture, improper ergonomics, overuse, or trauma. When improper posture is the cause, movement patterns of the shoulder change and adapt over time to compensate for the altered positions. This will then put additional strain on the muscles of the shoulder and can lead to more serious problems down the road. This can go on for quite some time before symptoms begin to surface.
Eventually, abnormal stresses and strains to specific parts of the shoulder will lead to an outright injury. By the time this happens, there may be much work to do in healing the injured tissue and correcting the improper posture. Similarly, if ergonomic conditions are less than ideal, repetitive stresses and strains to joints and soft tissues will cause compensatory patterns to develop, also leading to the improper posture issues mentioned previously. Over time, this can lead to an outright injury with underlying altered biomechanics.
Trauma, such as from a fall or an automotive accident, can have long-term effects on the shoulder. These injuries can cause damage to the joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons of the shoulder. The injuries cause altered biomechanics due to the pain, discomfort, or trauma experienced; which will typically not be restored without the proper corrective action. Even minor injuries can alter normal function, setting in motion a progressive pattern of dysfunction, of which symptoms may not be experienced for weeks or even months. This is why an evaluation is essential after trauma, no matter how minor it may be and even in the absence of significant symptoms.
Problems related to an improperly functioning shoulder are common and may be debilitating. The most common shoulder problems include bursitis, tendonitis, impingement syndrome, and instability. Unfortunately, many health professionals do not understand the role that altered spine function, and compensatory patterns play in these conditions. The result is the focus of treatment being placed on the symptoms instead of the cause of the problem. Some examples of common medical treatment are prescribing pain medication or performing injections without addressing the underlying cause.
These problems are shown to often have many contributing factors. These factors include such issues as spinal joint dysfunction (AKA Subluxations) muscular imbalances, weakness of the spinal musculature (Deconditioning Syndrome), improper movement patterns, poor posture/ergonomic habits, and chronic inflammation.
The Solution To Shoulder Pain
Because these problems tend to be complex, and the associated symptom pattern can be so diverse, a multi-specialty team approach is best. In this model, patients are receiving optimal benefits because each of the specialists is focusing on their area of expertise and they are working together as a team to provide a comprehensive, holistic approach to wellness.
The primary goal initially is to return the individual to function as quickly as possible by decreasing the inflammation in the area, and increasing the range of motion in the joint. This is then followed up with patient education on strengthening and proper posture, skill training, and ergonomic modification to best prevent recurrences. This approach has shown quicker recovery times, faster return to work, decreased re-injury rates, and less dependence on therapists and medication.