We don’t think too much about our shoulders until they start to give us pain. Then we realize that we are constantly using our shoulders to lift and extend our arms, to carry, wave, and perform numerous other motions and tasks.
The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, and as a result it is subject to a wide range of injuries and conditions.
Shoulder problems that go unchecked can lead to lifelong, debilitating issues. In order to properly treat the shoulder joint and achieve long-term relief it is important to identify the cause of shoulder pain. This following explains some of the common causes of shoulder pain and how chiropractic care can return the shoulder to functional health.
The Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
The causes of shoulder pain are seemingly endless, but let’s go over some of the more common causes for pain in the shoulder. Shoulder pain may be the result of conditions, such as:
- Neck and upper back tightness
- Spinal misalignment
- Abnormal patterns of movement
- Athletic injuries and automobile accidents
While a few of the items on this list may indicate localized swelling in the shoulder joint, more of them point to the spine as the probable source of pain. The nerves that control the shoulder originate in the spine. If the vertebrae around the neck and upper back are compressed or injured, the nerves that go to the shoulder will be irritated and cause pain. Even a minor spinal misalignment can interrupt communication between the nerves and the shoulder and a cascade of problems can begin. So, what appears as shoulder pain may actually be referred pain from the spinal column.
Symptoms of Shoulder Injury
Due to the wide range of causative factors, shoulder pain and abnormal motion in the joint may develop gradually or come on suddenly. Symptoms of a shoulder injury are occasionally very subtle, but even these can develop into major issues. Since the shoulder joint is used in the vast majority of activities that we engage in daily, all symptoms involving the shoulder should be monitored carefully and treated promptly to avoid progression of the problem. Symptoms indicating the need for an immediate evaluation of the shoulder complex include:
- Shoulder pain that lasts for more than a week
- Shoulder pain that goes away and then returns frequently
- Difficulty raising your arm above your head
- Trouble or pain when carrying objects
- Pain in the shoulder joint that becomes more pronounced in the evening
- Any visual signs of damage to the joint such as bruising or swelling
- Unusual snapping or clicking sensations in the joint during movement