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When Should I See a Chiropractor for Shoulder Pain?

By Brandi Goodman

Shoulder Pain

Tension is commonly felt in the shoulders, though this type of discomfort is often over with quickly. That is, as long as you stretch out the area and work to relieve the stress you’re experiencing. When you have other issues with a shoulder joint, the pain is often much more severe and unbearable. You should seek pain relief with chiropractic care if you suffered an injury or have an unusual ache that you haven’t noticed before. If left untreated, the pain and problems can worsen.

What Could Be the Cause of My Sore Shoulder?

There are a number of shoulder injuries that can lead to discomfort. Some of the most common types of shoulder pain stem from a rotator cuff injury, shoulder impingement syndrome, and frozen shoulder. Both too much movement and a lack of movement can lead to problems in this particular area of your body, including within the connective tissues surrounding it. Strenuous exercise, lifting heavy objects, trauma to the site, and a lack of movement can all cause shoulder pain in one way or another.

Rotator Cuff Injury

An injury of the rotator cuff involves the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint. This is one of the biggest culprits of shoulder discomfort, as it is typically due to repetitive movement. Individuals in nearly any job field can experience it, from construction workers to painters, and recreational athletes to heavyweight champions. It often feels like a dull ache that makes it difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep at night. If left untreated, a tear can develop that will only result in further pain. A tear may also require surgery.

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Often simply called impingement syndrome, this problem occurs when a tendon in the shoulder becomes swollen. It is common in older adults. Pain may only occur when lifting the arm or when lying on the particular side that is experiencing swelling. This syndrome is generally chronic, and chiropractic treatment may help to alleviate symptoms and reduce discomfort.

Frozen Shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis is the true name for frozen shoulder. It is caused by inflammation, and often results in severe shoulder stiffness. It may feel sore and difficult to move because of how inflamed and stiff it is. It can be caused by an injury, though it usually develops alongside a certain disease, such as cervical spondylosis or thyroid disease. It is most commonly seen in those aged 55 and older. Proper self-care and therapy exercises are best to help.

Bone Spurs

If there is visible swelling, numbness, or a lump felt in your shoulder, bone spurs could be the culprit. These develop slowly, with the pain starting out minimally and worsening as time goes on. Pain may be minimized with chiropractic, but these spurs do not go away on their own. Surgery will be required to remove them, and they sometimes reappear.


Osteonecrosis is another possibility. This disease occurs when the blood supply to a particular bone gets cut off. It often occurs in the femur (thigh bone) or humerus (upper arm bone). It can cause the ball of the shoulder joint to break down and may lead to arthritis. This is one of the most severe shoulder problems there is, and it will require care from a doctor.

What Is the Risk of Not Getting My Shoulder Repaired?

If you do not do anything at all about your shoulder concerns, some more significant problems can develop. You may become unable to raise your arms and experience a loss in your overall range of motion of your upper body. Let an injury go untreated, and you may even allow further damage to occur. Arthritis can easily develop, leading to even more pain and discomfort as time goes on. The damage will be long-lasting.

Are Painkillers an Option?

Painkillers are always an option for discomfort in any part of your body, including pain in the shoulders. You can try to take over-the-counter medications or speak to your doctor about receiving a more worthwhile dose. However, painkillers tend to mask symptoms rather than actually alleviate them. You may not feel any discomfort when you take certain medications, but you will feel it once again after they wear off. The best solution is to work with a chiropractor to get to the root of the problem and find a solution to minimize the pain overall, not just mask it for a moment.

How Does a Chiropractor Adjust My Shoulder?

Before you visit a chiropractor for shoulder discomfort, it’s ideal to learn about what the process entails so you can be prepared. Your doctor of chiropractic, or DC, will begin by asking questions. They need to know what medications you’re currently taking, whether you’ve experienced an injury or had a trauma, whether you’ve had surgery, and any other pertinent details pertaining to your medical history and lifestyle.

After an assessment, the DC will come up with a treatment plan that best suits your individual needs. This will often include a chiropractic adjustment followed by some guidance on how to proceed at home to help yourself further. This often entails a list of stretches or exercises you can try, as well as recommendations for foods that reduce joint pain, and encouragement to drink more water.

The precise maneuvers during the adjustment period will vary and depend on the type of injury or ache you’re experiencing, and what your answers were during the doctor’s evaluation. But generally, the chiropractor will find the restriction causing the problem and deliver a quick but shallow thrust to improve motion and function.

Does It Hurt to Have My Shoulder Adjusted?

An adjustment for shoulder pain may be tricky. There may be some discomfort involved, mostly because the shoulder is already irritated and painful, so the discomfort is an extension of that while also being a means to achieving relief. Even if you’re not already in pain, there might be some discomfort as a means of correcting the issue. The chiropractor will be as gentle as possible with their manipulation techniques so you can experience the least amount of discomfort and may provide instructions on using ice or heat at home to help alleviate your symptoms.

Visit The Joint Chiropractic for a Shoulder Adjustment

Proper care from a chiropractor can effectively treat many shoulder issues. Visit The Joint Chiropractic to have a shoulder adjustment and get the relief you deserve. If there are other underlying issues, such as osteonecrosis, then your chiropractor will recommend speaking with your doctor. Chiropractic may still work to offer you some relief in the meantime. The Joint offers extended evening and weekend hours so you can come in for an adjustment at a time that best fits your schedule.

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