Rotator Cuff Problems
- The rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles that come together as tendons around the shoulder to help move your arm and keep it in socket. They are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis.
- Rotator cuff pain is a more common condition than most people realize. While high profile season-ending sports injuries are often the image people conjure when they think of rotator cuff tears, more commonly they occur gradually over time. Years of repetitive, overhead motions of the shoulder cause the tendons of the rotator cuff to become strained and develop small tears in the tissue. While severe, sudden tears of the rotator cuff might require surgery, the more common gradual wear and tear on the rotator cuff is best treated with physical therapy to improve the stability of the muscles and to reduce shoulder pain.
A/C Joint Problems
- The acromioclavicular joint is one of 4 joints that make up the shoulder joint complex. Where the collarbone meets the shoulder is a joint called the acromioclavicular joint or more commonly the AC joint.
- The clavicle, or collarbone, is the most broken bone in the human body. Repetitive, strenuous activities of the shoulder can cause the ligaments of the joint to weaken. As the ligaments weaken, they get looser, and the joint begins to separate. AC joint surgery is typically only performed following a severe accident. More commonly for AC joint dysfunction, physical therapy is recommended to build back the strength and stability of this vulnerable joint and reduce shoulder pain. Additionally, the thoracic spine is often involved in shoulder dysfunction. For this reason chiropractic care is often extremely helpful in reducing shoulder pain and improving the function of the shoulder joint complex.
- The subacromial bursa is a “pad” on the inside of the shoulder joint which cushions the shoulder during movement. There are several normal bursa in the shoulder that help cushion and protect the soft tissue of the shoulder. The subacromial bursa works in tandem with the subdeltoid bursa. The subcoracoid, supra acromial and coracoclavicular bursa are usually less prominent and likely to exhibit dysfunction, but may still be involved with shoulder pain symptoms.
- Repetitive stress and strain can cause this pad to become inflamed and swell. When a bursa becomes inflamed it is referred to as bursitis. Subacromial bursitis restricts how far someone can move their shoulder before it starts to hurt. As this condition progresses, people use their shoulders less and see a reduction in overall shoulder strength, making things that once seemed simple now painful and difficult. This process is referred to as deconditioning. Fortunately, bursitis can be resolved with a comprehensive care plan that may include injection therapy and a physical therapy regimen designed to promote tissue healing while building overall shoulder strength in a way designed to avoid increased pain.
Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)
Adhesive capsulitis, or as it is more commonly known, “frozen shoulder syndrome,” is exactly what it sounds like. Following an injury, scar tissue forms adhesions in the shoulder capsule, limiting the pain-free range of motion of the shoulder. As people start to find that moving their shoulder causes them more pain, they begin using their shoulder less and less. This causes the problem to worsen. Eventually, people feel that their shoulder is “frozen” and moving it past a limited, comfortable range can be very painful. Surgery exists to break up the adhesions in the shoulder, but is usually only recommended if conservative treatment, i.e, injection therapy and/or physical therapy cannot resolve the problem. Typically doctors will recommend that people receive an injection into the tendon sheath to reduce pain and a few weeks of physical therapy to gradually restore the pain-free range of the shoulder before considering surgical intervention.
Shoulder impingement is a condition many people have without realizing it! Spending hours in front of a computer or behind the wheel of a car, to name two typical scenarios, results in someone’s upper body posture shifting forward. Just like leaving braces on teeth will eventually cause them to stay in a new, more desirable position, spending too much time in a bad position will cause the body to make gradual changes that will eventually lead to pain. Fortunately, just as our body makes negative adaptations, it can also make positive ones! Consistent chiropractic care and a few weeks of physical therapy intervention are likely to help those who suffer from impingement syndrome. This course of treatment will help to realign the spine, stretch shortened postural muscles and strengthen the muscles which hold the upper body in the ideal position.
As of 2022 there is no cure for arthritis. This of course does not mean that treatment for arthritis is not possible. Just as with arthritis of any joint of the body, a strong joint will handle the stress and stiffness of arthritis better than a weakened one. Everyone will eventually develop arthritic joints, but not everyone will have the same quality of life! Allowing arthritis pain to become overwhelming and stop you from doing the things you love doing is not your only option. Joint strengthening with a customized physical therapy program designed to build muscle power and stability without worsening the symptoms of arthritis is something commonly done by physical therapists.