Shoulder Problems and Treatment

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Signs that you should seek shoulder treatment include:

1. Shoulder pain that persists beyond a 2-3 days
2. Recurring shoulder pain, even if it has a history of settling on its own
3. Inability to carry objects or use the arm
4. Inability to raise the arm
5. Injury that causes deformity of the joint
6. Shoulder pain that occurs at night or while resting
7. Swelling or significant bruising around the joint or arm
8. Signs of an infection, including fever, redness, warmth or swelling

Dr. Rodwin can assess your shoulder problems and will recommend treatments specific to your issues based on her diagnosis which may include: chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, Active Release Treatment, acupuncture, stretches, etc. It is very important to seek out treatment early on before the problem becomes a chronic issue.

Common Shoulder Injuries:

Here are some common shoulder problems that we see at Back to Health. As the shoulder is a very unstable joint, there are many other shoulder problems that are not on this list.

Bursitis: The most common diagnosis in patients with shoulder pain is bursitis or tendonitis of the rotator cuff. Bursitis is an inflammation of a fluid-filled sac, or bursa that lies between a tendon and skin or between tendon and bone. Normally a bursa protects the joint and helps make movement more fluid.

Shoulder Instability: Instability is a problem that causes a loose joint. Instability can be caused by a traumatic injury (dislocation), or may be a developed condition.

Shoulder Dislocation: A dislocation is an injury that occurs when the top of the arm bone becomes disconnected from the scapula.

Frozen Shoulder: Also called ‘adhesive capsulitis,’ this is a common condition that leads to stiffness of the joint. This condition can take a long time to heal and if you ever get this it is painful. Dr. Rodwin has treated this many times and has seen this condition improve quickly with certain treatment modalities. “I cannot believe how quickly my shoulder improved with the treatments, advice, exercises that I was given. My friend did this at the same time as me, did not see Dr. Rodwin and her condition is still not back to normal 2 years later!”  – Carole (patient)

Rotator Cuff Tear: A Rotator cuff tear occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become irritated due to shoulder misalignments and the muscles or tendons will develop knots or adhesions. This then causes improper motion of the shoulder due to the shortening of these tissues. Sometimes with leaving this too long the tissue can ‘break’.

Shoulder Separation: Also called an AC separation, these injuries are the result of a disruption of the Acromio-clavicular joint. This is a very different injury from a dislocation!

Arthritis: Shoulder arthritis is less common than knee and hip arthritis, but when severe may require a joint replacement surgery. Arthritis is a gradual narrowing of the joints and loss of protective cartilage in the joints about the shoulder.

If you are wondering how we can help your shoulder problems, contact us and ask!

Watch this video about frozen shoulder and how fast we see results with our treatment plan!

Shoulder Treatment

The Traditional Approach…

In an attempt to relieve shoulder problems, a variety of treatment methods are used, either on their own, or in combination with other methods. Some of the more common approaches include: acupuncture, active release technique, adjustments, icing, anti-inflammatory medications, rest, muscle stimulation, stretching, and exercise. If the adhesions are binding the tissues together, restricting normal movements, and interfering with the normal flexibility and contraction of the muscles in the shoulder area it is really important to have the active release technique!

Passive approaches such as medications, rest, ice, and steroid injections all focus on symptomatic relief and do nothing to address the muscle restrictions and dysfunction. More active approaches such as chiropractic, active release, stretching and exercises are often needed for full rehabilitation of the condition and to restore full strength and function of the muscles, however, they themselves do not treat the underlying adhesions. In fact, without first addressing the scar tissue adhesions, stretches and exercises are often less effective and much slower to produce relief or recovery from the shoulder condition.

At Back to Health Wellness Centre we recommend the following treatments:

Chiropractic and Active Release Technique (ART):
Chiropractic treatment involves addressing any joint (shoulder/elbow/hip) restrictions with chiropractic adjustments, and using soft tissue techniques such as Active Release Technique and trigger point therapy to loosen the surrounding musculature and increase range of motion. A stretching and strengthening program is prescribed at the appropriate time to help stabilize the joint and prevent re-injury.

Acupuncture:
Acupuncture, in conjunction with other treatments, speeds up the healing process, and decreases inflammation. Acupuncture does this by stimulating the natural release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killers. Dr. Rodwin and our Naturopathic Doctor are certified acupuncture practitioners at Back to Health.

Massage Therapy:
The aim of massage therapy is to first assess the source of the joint restriction, which may include trigger points, adhesions, tendonitis or bursitis. Once this is determined, treatment may include decreasing inflammation, reducing muscle spasms, and increasing circulation in order to maintain tissue health and range of motion. Massage also eliminates any scar tissue that restricts the joint’s movement.

Cupping:
Many of our patients have been asking lately, what exactly is Cupping Therapy? Cupping is a technique that involves the application of glass or plastic “cups” to the surface of the skin. A gentle suction is applied to the cups to create a vacuum which draws the skin, small blood vessels, muscle and connective tissue into the cup. At Back to Health Wellness, our Naturopathic Doctor and one of our Registered Massage Therapists use it typically in a “sliding” technique with oil applied to the skin to allow the cup to “glide” up and down the length of a muscle. This functions to relieve muscle tension by stretching and loosening the muscle and connective tissue, while increasing blood flow and draining the lymphatic vessels to bring nutrients and drain wastes from the area. This technique has been found to be extremely useful in acute or chronic muscle tension, IT band syndrome, shin splints and Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and has been used by our very own Dr. Rodwin with great success. Derived from Chinese Medicine, Cupping Therapy is used to “relieve stagnation” and allow for “qi” and blood to flow freely throughout the body’s 12 meridians. If you’d like to learn more or try a treatment, talk to our practitioners for more information.

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Click this photo to watch our video on cupping therapy!

Interferential Current Therapy (IFC) is a treatment to aid the relief of pain and the promotion of soft tissue healing. It produces electrical currents that pass through the affected area of the body which decrease swelling, reduce pain, and decrease muscle spasms.

Not sure which shoulder treatment is best for you? Ask us! At Back to Health, we work together as a team to get you feeling your best.

Shoulder Test

Questions

1. Side bend your head/neck to the left. Does your right shoulder rise up?
2. Side bend your head/neck to the right. Does your left shoulder rise up?
3. Rotate your head to the left; are you able to rotate completely?
4. Rotate your head to the right; are you able to rotate completely?
5. Bend your head/chin to your chest; can you go all the way?
6. Bend your head backwards, can you go all the way and is there stiffness?
7. Do you get stiffness in your neck or shoulders during the day while sitting?
8. Do you get headaches/migraines?
9. Bring one arm up and the other behind your body, can your hands touch?
10. Go the other way.
11. Bend one elbow in front of you; wrap the other one around – can your hands touch?
12. Go the other way.
13. Are your shoulders even?
14. Roll your shoulders both forwards and backwards; is there tightness or noise?
15. Do your shoulders round forward?
16. Bend the right wrist up, is there stiffness/tension in the arm.
17. Bend the left wrist up, is there stiffness/tension in the arm.
18. Bend the right wrist down, is there stiffness/tension in the arm.
19. Bend the left wrist down, is there stiffness/tension in the arm.
20. Do you round forward at the shoulders?

Key Points on using an Acuball to decrease Shoulder Pain:

  • You should work the shoulder, the upper back, and the neck with the Acuball because they all work together – NOT JUST THE SHOULDER
  • When you work deep into the shoulder, the small Acuball might be more effective at getting in to the small spaces
  • You can also use the Acuball on your arm
  • When using an Acuball, you can find a tender spot and just stay there, or you can roll around on the Acuball
  • The Acuball can also be useful on the arms (both biceps and triceps) as well as the chest (pectoral muscles)

The shoulder is a complicated joint. It moves in all 3 planes of motion and is the least stable joint in the body. Shoulder pain can be the result of many different tight muscles so it is good to work on all of them with the Acuball.

Acuballs:

  • Relax tight muscles
  • Enhance joint movement
  • Reduce nervous system irritation
  • Stimulate blood flow to flush out built up muscle wastes
  • Release natural painkillers and sedatives
  • Improve nervous system energetic flow
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