Understanding Shoulder Pain

The most important goal of chiropractic care for shoulder pain its to restore a patients shoulder back to full function, while reducing and eliminating the pain caused by the injury.  Basically, making it work pain free again.  Shoulder pain can have many different causes ranging from macro-trauma, like a car accident, to repetitive micro-trauma, as in overuse injuries associated with sports.  Whatever they may be, you can be surprised by the intensity and duration of the pain.  This becomes evident because your shoulder is essential in completing many daily tasks, and it makes sense that this should be taken seriously before the shoulder injury could potentially worsen or heal incorrectly (leading to degenerative arthritis or a frozen shoulder).


Your shoulder has three joints that govern its movements.  The main Glenohumeral joint, the Acromioclavicular joint, and the Strenoclavicular joint.  There is also a pseudo-joint between the ribcage and the Scapula (shoulder blade) or Scapulothoracic joint.  This is why we call it the shoulder girdle.  Unlike our hips and pelvis, which have broad dense ligaments for stability,  shoulder ligaments are thin and band-like to allow more movement or range of motion.  Thus, the stability of the shoulder falls on the coordinated strength of muscles working together.  The primary stabilizers are the four rotator cuff muscles (or S.I.T.S. muscles shown above) and the secondary stabilizers are the long head of the biceps and triceps.  Therefore, it is imperative that treatment should involve ALL of the working joints and stabilizing muscles of the shoulder.  A fact that is not overlooked in my office.

Chiropractic care can be an extremely effective way to treat shoulder pain.  A thorough examination of the neck and shoulder will be performed to rule out possible “referred” pain from the neck to the shoulder.  Whether the shoulder pain is connected to the neck or coming from the shoulder girdle, it can generally be helped with the non-invasive methods of chiropractic manipulation (adjusting) and neuromuscular reeducation (helping your nerves and muscles work together to restore normal movement).  Application of heat and ice packs might also be used, as well as, gentle home exercises and stretches given to the you to perform.

Signs and symptoms that your shoulder pain needs immediate attention may include a decreased ability to hold objects, a decreased functioning of the arm, pain in the shoulder/shoulder blade and/or down the arm with exertion, pain that persists at rest, pain that lasts for more than a few days, and unusual twinges or aches in the shoulder.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Joshua Longo, call 916-581-9600 today!