Chronic lower back, shoulder and neck pain and reciprocal twins.

  • Share:
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • twitter

What is a reciprocal twin?   

A reciprocal twin is when you develop a problem in a hip capsule and it affects the opposite shoulder on the other side due to mechanical and neurological adaptations, the most common being shoulder impingement, rib pain, or a frozen shoulder.   You can also develop these problems on the same side as well where the hip affects the shoulder.   Conversely, a chronic shoulder problem can affect the hips, in the same way, altering the way you walk and resulting in lower back pain. A tight hip capsule will usually affect the opposite shoulder due to these mechanisms.   Often shoulder pain results when these lower back issues are normalized or just chronic.  The result is pain, tight fascia, and mechanical dysfunction.   Add tight abdominals and tight legs and you increase your likelihood of a shoulder injury as these restrictions place tension on the shoulder and limit how it can move.  This is a reciprocal twin.

Why is this an important concept for anyone experiencing back, neck, shoulder, or other problems in the upper body?

We all adapt but we are all different.  Some of us have different parents whose body styles are markedly different and we are the result.   We then pass these traits down to our children. We have been adapting ever since we learned to walk and continue to do so. We readapt after injuries as well. When we become symptomatic, it most often happens during a sport or lifting or some other activity and after we recover, often these problems continue but we may feel better and often normalize it.   I often explain to patients that there is no normal, only a normal for you which is discussed in my book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain.   When you experience soreness or tightness all the time, we attribute it to age, activity, or ist just normal... It is common for injuries or exacerbations to become more frequent over time since the original reason for your injury was never identified or treated.   This is a common problem in our healthcare system that rewards treating the part rather than the patient and it has been reinforced by the bad behavior of insurance carriers.    Americans have been trained since they were little that there is a specialist for everything and every part, yet after we have failed them miserably at the primary care level, you can replace that part at great risk and pain to you. There is a better way, and it begins with holistic approaches to primary care of the musculoskeletal system.  Chiropractic physicians are the only healthcare professionals that is trained holistically for primary care of musculoskeletal problems. Understanding shoulder pain or knee problems properly requires a thorough exam of the person, not just the part.   What is making the shoulder hurt and why.   Most shoulder problems [caption id="attachment_14221" align="alignright" width="251"] How does your doctor look at you?[/caption] develop gradually and have an acute incidence of pain that does not resolve which sends people to a doctor. In the typical medical world, you see the primary doctor who sees you for a short visit and sends you to an orthopedic or therapist to evaluate and does stuff to the part, usually after a medication fails to do anything.  Since shoulders are mechanical, it is important, in the absence of trauma to understand why the shoulder is painful.  The same goes for the knee, the ankle, and the plantar fascia.   Ignoring the rest of the person results in treating the symptom, while the patient may now develop multiple painful conditions over time as the actual cause is ignored. This is why you must look at everything and customize the care to the patient after a holistic history and evaluation. The old idea of seeing a person with pain, giving it a diagnosis that the insurer likes, and then sending them for a protocol for the part is passe.

Posture is the window to your painful problems

Chiropractic physicians evaluate their patients from the ground up, evaluate posture, postural adaptations, and distortions as well as how you function mechanically.  A squat can reveal why there is a kneecap tracking problem which both the doctor and you can see.   Looking at the knee alone tells you very little other than where it hurts.   The squat looks at the pelvis, the upper body, the knees, the hips, and how you function while doing it.  Why would you ever just want to look at the painful area and just do things to it when the problem obviously starts from the ground up? A common finding in our office when pain is chronic is tight joint capsules.   This affects how we move and also how we walk, how we hold ourselves, and how we move our upper bodies.   Walking is like a big x.  We take one step, and the opposite arm and shoulder move back and then we take our next step. On a treadmill, we can see these adaptations, and often, when chiropractic treatment alone does not fully resolve a painful condition, placing someone on a treadmill for a minute with video will. Painful parts have mechanisms behind why you hurt.   A good chiropractor will look at those mechanisms, identify what doesn't work, and improve the way you move.  Part of this is looking at symmetry from the ground up.  

What to expect during your initial chiropractic visit.

The doctor will do a thorough holistic history and then use this information to customize the evaluation to understand why you are in pain. First-time chiropractic patients are often unsure of what to expect when first seeing a chiropractor.  A thorough evaluation helps them understand themselves and why they hurt. The evaluation may include x-rays.   Once the problem is fully understood, treatment often commences the same day. Chiropractic treatment in our offices includes manipulation of the spine and extremities as well as myofascial release treatment to improve the way you move. Exercises are given to strengthen and reeducate a problem area.  Foot orthotics are often used to level the pelvis and improve core and gait function. Hip or shoulder capsule stretches may be given to help you resolve reciprocal pair issues from a tight and dysfunctional joint capsule.   This improves how joints work, reduces overall pain, and most importantly, helps your joints stay healthy. Recommendations are given to address functional and structural problems and resolve the underlying problems making you hurt.   It is not unusual fo come in with one or two major complaints, a number of minor complaints and leave asymptomatic with all problems markedly improved or resolved. Patients are then discharged after the problem has stabilized and the patient has achieved their goals.   Followup or periodic care is common to help prevent future problems from developing called well care or maintenance or supportive care.  Patients are also offered periodic guidance during these visits on how or what they need to do to maintain themselves and stay out of pain. Chiropractic care is safe, effective, and a profession that enjoys very low malpractice rates due to the high level of safety and has been given high marks from numerous sources for its effectiveness on painful problems. Do you have problems conventional treatments have failed to resolve?   Many do; call us today or book online here.