Shoulder Pain Problems
Shoulder pain and its related conditions are extremely common. In fact, it is one of the leading reasons that people are forced to discontinue their favorite sporting and recreational activities. It can also seriously interfere with the ability to perform their job. Without a thorough understanding of the body’s biomechanics, shoulder problems can go on uncorrected, leading to significant pain and impairment.
Shoulder dysfunction can begin for a variety of reasons and typically precedes outright pain. Some of these reasons may be related to posture, improper ergonomics, or trauma. When improper posture is the cause, movement patterns of the shoulder change and adapt over time to compensate for the altered positions. This can go on for some time before symptoms begin to surface.
Eventually, abnormal stresses and strains to specific parts of the shoulder cause an outright injury. By the time this happens, there may be much work to do in healing the injured tissue and correcting the postural faults. Similarly, if ergonomic conditions are less than ideal, repetitive stresses and strains to joints and soft tissues will cause compensatory patterns to develop. Over time, this can lead to an outright injury with underlying altered biomechanics.
Trauma, such as from a fall or a car accident, can have long-term effects on the shoulder. These injuries can cause damage to joints, labrum, ligaments, muscles and tendons. The injuries cause altered biomechanics, which will typically not be restored without the proper corrective action. Even minor injuries can alter normal function, setting in motion a progressive pattern of dysfunction, of which symptoms may not be experienced for weeks or even months. This is why an evaluation is essential after trauma, even in the absence of significant symptoms.
Problems related to an improperly functioning shoulder are common and may be debilitating. Typical problems can include bursitis, tendonitis, impingement syndrome, and instability. Unfortunately, many health professionals do not understand the role that altered spine function plays in these conditions. The result is the focus of treatment being placed on the symptoms instead of the cause of the problem. Some examples are prescribing pain medication or performing injections without addressing the underlying cause.
These problems are shown to often have many contributing factors. These factors include such issues as spinal joint dysfunction (malfunctioning of the spinal joints); muscle imbalances; weakness of the supporting spinal musculature (Deconditioning Syndrome); improper movement patterns; poor posture/ergonomic habits; and chronic inflammation.
Because these problems tend to be complex, and the associated symptom pattern can be so diverse, a multi-specialty team approach is best. In this model, patients are receiving optimal benefits because each of the specialists is focusing on their area of expertise and they are working together as a team to provide a comprehensive, holistic approach to wellness.
The primary goal initially is to return the individual to function as quickly as possible. This is followed up with patient education on strengthening and posture, skill training, and ergonomic modification to best prevent recurrences.
This approach has shown quicker recovery times, faster return to work, decreased re-injury rates, and less dependence on therapists and medication.