The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and their tendons that surround the shoulder, supporting it and helping it to move through certain ranges of motion. It is a common area of complaint in the population since rotator cuff tendinopathy can result from injury, chronic overuse, or even just age. Degeneration of the tendons and shoulder joint causes a dull, toothache-like pain that can be worse at night. Acute tendonitis usually causes a burning type of pain which can be severe with reaching, repetitive motions, or attempting to lift the arm upwards, especially to the side of the body and overhead. Rotator tendon tears can cause pain at night and when resting and may cause weakness and inability to lift the arm. Many people associate rotator cuff injuries with elite athletes, however, the tendons of the rotator cuff can become prone to injury and inflammation as we age or with certain activities such as swimming or repetitive use.
Shoulder pain and stiffness can also be caused from adhesive capsulitis, the medical term for frozen shoulder. This condition usually starts between 45 to 60 years of age and can become slowly and progressively worse. It may start after trauma or surgery especially if shoulder movement is limited or guarded due to pain. With frozen shoulder, there may be no pain unless certain motions are attempted such as lifting or reaching above shoulder height.
If you suffer from shoulder pain, the rotator cuff may be responsible and chiropractic can help. Through physiotherapy modalities such as ultrasound, massage therapy, trigger point therapy and electric therapy, healing can be stimulated, and various manual treatments by your chiropractor can put you on the road to recovery. A recent study showed that thoracic spinal manipulation can help relieve symptoms from rotator cuff tendinopathy. After chiropractic adjustments, patients in the study had decreased pain in the shoulder and increased strength in raising the shoulder.
Finally, your chiropractor can prescribe a series of home rehabilitative exercises that stabilize and strengthen the rotator cuff to help prevent a recurrence of shoulder problems in the future. Our offices also offer Kinesio taping and muscle activation technique (M.A.T.) which are effective in supporting and strengthening the muscles of the shoulder.
Dr. Ralph Kruse is a board certified chiropractic orthopedist and a Fellow of the Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists. He has completed extensive postdoctoral education in orthopedics and has passed rigorous board examinations demonstrating advanced proficiency in the evaluation and management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions such as rotator cuff tendonitis, impingement and adhesive capsulitis.
If you’ve been dealing with shoulder pain, give us a call at either office to schedule an appointment!