Common symptoms of the shoulder may include: pain, pins and needles, decreased mobility, weakness or stiffness. The type of pain / symptoms may be described as burning, dull, sharp or throbbing. These symptoms may range in intensity from mild to severe. Frequently, symptoms perceived in the shoulder are actually referred from a lesion in the neck and vice versa. Here is a selection of common injuries that have been diagnosed at this clinic.
Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common cause of shoulder and upper arm pain. The ‘rotator cuff’ is a group of posterior shoulder muscles that stabilize the top of the humerus (arm) into the shoulder socket. When these muscles become weakened and lose their ability to stabilize the shoulder complex, the tendons of these muscles (particularly the supraspinatus tendon) are liable to be compressed / sandwiched between the bony acromion process and top of the humerus.
This rotator cuff tendonitis may occur in isolation or may be in combination with inflammation of the shoulder bursa (bursitis), culminating in shoulder impingement syndrome. Sometimes, the term ‘frozen shoulder’ is inappropriately used to name this condition. The subsequent inflammation of these tissues results in swelling and increased symptoms or pain and immobility. The symptoms are often described as a ‘toothache’ type of pain and abduction of the arm above shoulder level and hand ‘up the back’ becomes increasingly difficult. Hence, reaching for high selves and fastening bra straps exacerbates symptoms.
Although this condition can happen at any age, it becomes more of an issue as we get older. The rotator cuff tendons degenerate and are less likely to heal, as they once did, resulting in total or partial tendon tears. A tendonitis of the biceps tendon may also give similar symptoms and mobility issues. Occasionally, X-rays may be required to rule out osteoarthritis and sub-acromial spurs.
A good diagnosis is the first step to alleviating your symptoms. Once this has been achieved, then the appropriate treatment and rehabilitation exercises may be given.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome comes from the words ‘myo’ which means muscle, and ‘fascia’ which is the connective tissue that covers all muscles and organs of the body. You will have no doubt heard of a ‘knot’ in a muscle and most probably experienced some ‘tension’ in a muscle or group of muscles. Myofascial pain, often referred to as ‘trigger points’, are points of hyper-tension (knot) within a band of tense muscle fibres. These trigger points can be either ‘active’ or ‘latent’. Active trigger points may refer pain to areas of the body, far from the trigger point.
Active trigger points in the muscles of the upper shoulder girdle may refer pain and pins and needles into the neck and arm, depending on where the trigger points are located. When these active trigger points are further stressed by poor posture, sustained contraction, cold / hot weather, then they may refer symptoms to their predictable site.
Latent trigger points do not refer symptoms but do cause local pain. These latent trigger points will evolve into active trigger points if left untreated and if the original stress continues. A diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation is required to de-activate these trigger points which will alleviate the symptoms.
A Slipped Disc in the cervical spine (neck) may
refer pain and symptoms into the shoulder, due to compression or chemical
irritation of the cervical nerve from the adjacent ‘bulging’ or herniated
cervical disc. The cervical nerve is
‘irritated’ by the slipped disc as it exits the cervical spine, before it
courses down the neck.
It may produce symptoms of pain, pins and needles and/ or numbness and is often called ‘radicular’ pain or a ‘radiculopathy’. The symptoms are often described as ‘shooting’ or ‘throbbing’ pains and symptoms may increase when you cough or sneeze. Surgical intervention is sometimes required, to reduce the nerve compression.
Another cause of a ‘radiculopathy’ is osteoarthritis of the cervical spine. In this case, the exiting cervical nerve is trapped by the surrounding bony cervical vertebrae, commonly found in people with degeneration (wear and tear) of the neck joints. This diagnosis is not amenable to chiropractic intervention.
It is absolutely paramount to your good health that the underlying causes of your shoulder symptoms are found and correct diagnosis is made. Dr Doherty will use his wealth of experience to achieve this and to make the appropriate management plan for you.
Please phone 0161 482 0786, to
make your consultation and examination appointment or to make further enquiries.
The Family Chiropractic Clinic, 15 Station Road, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport. SK8 5AF.
Chiropractor serving the people of Cheadle, Stockport, Manchester, Trafford and Tameside.