Shoulder bursitis; Is this really why you have shoulder pain or is it something else?

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If you have ever had shoulder pain that was not due to an injury, it can be a very frustrating experience.  Sleeping on the shoulder can be painful, as well as reaching for things in your kitchen cabinet.   Throwing a ball with your child can cause a significant amount of pain as well.

Who you visit first can determine the length of the condition as well as the cost.  If you visit your primary doctor, it is likely they may diagnose you with shoulder tendonitis or shoulder bursitis, give you medication and then send you on your way.  When that doesn't help, they may send you to an orthopedist or for therapy for the painful part.  You may also have an MRI of the shoulder recommended as well to diagnose a joint problem. If you have the right primary doctor, they may suggest you visit a chiropractor first.

Are shoulders that difficult to properly diagnose?

Shoulder pain often involves the entire body, rather than just the shoulder. The typical approach of looking at the painful part may be an effective way to diagnose a shoulder problem with trauma, however, when the problem develops gradually, it is important for health practitioners to understand why?

The shoulder is acted upon by other parts of the body and requires movement of the ribs, joints, and fascia that surround the shoulder.  The scapula is an important part of the mechanism of movement within the shoulder as well.

The most common reason for shoulder pain is impingement, followed by restrictions of the capsule of the shoulder which limits movement.  Impingement and shoulder capsule problems can be quite painful and are often misdiagnosed as being bursitis. These problems are postural and develop as a result of how we move and walk.   They are mechanically based problems that involve the entire body. Only a thorough holistic evaluation can properly diagnose and properly treat the painful problems that develop as a result in the shoulder.  If you get a sharp pain when reaching, the problem is likely a mechanical impingement problem.  Surgeries that have been recommended in the past for impingement are ineffective solutions and are risky.  Exercises to the shoulder that ignores the rest of the body is likely to aggravate the condition long-term.

Chiropractors are the most uniquely trained physicians to evaluate the shoulder because they evaluate holistically which means they will look at your shoulder, your back, how you move, walk and evaluate your posture as well.

One of the more common reasons for shoulder pain is due to gait asymmetries with result in a distorted hip and a resultant distorted upper back as well.  While these postural accommodations may seem subtle, they will affect how you squat, how your neck moves, and can even affect your knees.

Perhaps, this is why people who have shoulder problems may have also suffered from foot pain, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, neck problems, and even lower back pain.  Are these conditions independent or does the body move as a system?

Mechanical problems such as shoulder pain require a mechanical solution.  They also require an understanding of what surrounds the shoulder and how mobility is being restricted, which may be quite different than an acute shoulder injury that damaged the joint through trauma.

The idea of controlling pain through the use of medication has resulted in problems such as the overuse of opioids.  Exercising a shoulder that is under tension from other parts of the body is likely to tighten up the surrounding joints such as the neck and mid-back.

A more holistic chiropractic approach may include;

  1. Foot orthotics balance the pelvis and improve core function, which can immediately reduce shoulder pain.
  2. Myofascial release to tight tissues affects shoulder movement either in the shoulder girdle or in the surrounding musculature.
  3. Chiropractic manipulation to the pelvis, mid back, ribs, and shoulder to restore normal shoulder and scapular movement.
  4. Corrective exercises improve shoulder movement patterns and reduce the likelihood of a reoccurrence.
  5. Physically testing these body areas to see how they tolerate movement and weight after treatment.  This assures that our treatment was effective.

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