The shoulder is a very mobile joint and important for normal life activities. We often take it for granted until it no longer does what we need it to. Whether from accident, injury or just over work, shoulder pain can be debilitating. Sleep can be disrupted due to pain and healing can sometimes be a long process.
Common areas of pain include the front of the shoulder joint (likely bicep tendinitis) outside/top of shoulder joint (supraspinatus inflammation or even tears). Pain high on the shoulder closer to neck or even slightly lower near shoulder blade is often the result of a scapular dysfunction but can directly affect the shoulder and neck. This pain can limit movements like putting on a shirt, reaching up to hang clothes on the line or just washing your hair.
Regardless of the main injured tissue the compensations that the body requires can really limit overall motion at the joint that if left too long can lead to all types of bad loading and can impact other areas. Also the progression from a minor niggle to something a little more drastic is likely if not treated, rested and fully healed. Unfortunately, a possible development of a relatively minor injury can lead to a condition known as 'frozen shoulder' and this has horrible consequences.
The early phase of care is important. The sooner the inflammation is controlled the quicker healing can start.
- Rest. Stop doing whatever causes pain.
- Apply ice at the location of pain. 10min on and off as much as possible.
- Light massage to surrounding muscles. This will help reduce bad motion that can keep loading injured tissue.
If by one week pain is substantially reduced the tissues are healing and the injury was quite minor. If pain and restriction is still present after one week and/or developed in adjacent areas then your injury is most likely in need of assessment and treatment.
What tends to happen with these more injured tissue problems is that they become chronic and repetitive with each episode bringing more scar tissue and restriction to the joint.
This is where a thorough chiropractic assessment is required. The shoulder blade rhythm must be addressed, shoulder joint position restored, upper back function and neck involvement identified and corrected.
So, if you or someone you know is suffering any type of shoulder pain no matter how long or how many times they have had it they should get their spine and shoulder checked so complete healing can be encouraged.