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Shoulder Pain


Shoulder pain is a tricky thing to assess.

Often the problem is an "NMS" problem. 

"NMS" (neuro-muskulo-skeletal) means it comes from a malfunction or injury to the muscles or joints and affects the nerves. If you are able to reproduce pain during joint motion, the condition is most likely NMS in origin. Pain that cannot be reproduced points towards a visceral origin.


As the shoulder lies between the neck and the hand, pain from the neck or the end of the arm may be referred to the shoulder.  Also, a shoulder problem may refer pain to the neck or hand as well.

A common source of shoulder pain is a herniated cervical disc (usually at C5–6).  This pain may radiate from the neck into the arm, forearm, hand.  Numbness and tingling may be found corresponding to the disc involved. 


When assessing shoulder problems, the chiropractor looks at the neck, the upper thorax, and even check for referred pain from viscera (commonly from the gallbladder, lungs, coronary vessels, etc).


Pain can also be referred to the shoulder by a nerve bundle known as the brachial plexus. This is usually from a rib, muscle or group of muscles pressing on the bundle.  Rarely a spinal cord tumour, or blood vessel disorder can cause shoulder pain.  


Since urgent visceral problems may manifest initially as shoulder pain, if the shoulder pain is on your left arm, sudden onset, unrelated to a known strain or injury and is radiating into the shoulder or arm, seek medical attention immediately.  (call 999)

Chiropractors have expertise in assessing and diagnosing shoulder conditions.  If the problem is from a visceral condition, you may be referred to a consultant.  If the problem is from an NMS origin, there are number of different treatments your chiropractor may use to get you back to pain free, full function.

These may include special shoulder exercises, soft tissue techniques,  joint mobilisation/manipulation or dry needling.

Acute soft-tissue injuries such as muscle-tendon strains, ligament sprains, and ligament or tendon ruptures occur frequently in sports and exercise. Without correct diagnosis and proper treatment, they may result in long-term breaks in training and competition. Far too often, injuries become chronic and end careers of competitive athletes or force recreational athletes to abandon their favorite activity. For these reasons, your chiropractor places increased focus on finding ways to ensure optimal healing.


Shoulder problems are not "wait and see" problems.  It is important to be assessed as soon as possible in order to achieve the best outcomes.

Often, treatment for a shoulder problem is delayed, thinking it will go away on its own.  The shoulder gets protected and there is less movement due to soreness and pain.  As a result the joint begins to "freeze up".  "Frozen shoulder" (adhesive capsulitis) is the result of delayed appropriate care of a shoulder injury.  It is one of the most painful rehabilitation processes as well, and it can usually be easily avoided.  Dr. Peace has successfully treated dozens of frozen shoulder cases, but in this case - prevention is always better than needing a cure!

If you have shoulder pain, do not delay - make an appointment today!

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