Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is an extremely common complaint, and there are many causes of this problem. We have listed some of the most common conditions here to help you get an idea what they are and what chiropractic treatment can do to help.

Like any other pain condition, the sooner you get appropriate care the quicker the pain will go away and allow you to get back to normal activities. The sooner you get appropriate care the less likely you are to get a recurrent and chronic problem.

If you are unsure of the cause of your shoulder pain, or if you do not know the specific treatment recommendations for your condition, you should seek chiropractic help. Treatment of these conditions must be directed at the specific cause of your problem to be effective.


Some signs that you should be seen by a Chiropractor include:

  • Inability to carry objects or use the arm
  • Injury that causes deformity of the joint
  • Shoulder pain that occurs at night or while resting
  • Shoulder pain that persists beyond a few days
  • Inability to raise the arm
  • Swelling or significant bruising around the joint or arm
  • Signs of an infection, including fever, redness, warmth
  • Any other unusual symptoms

What are the best treatments for shoulder pain?

The treatment of shoulder pain depends entirely on the cause of the problem. Therefore, it is important for the chiropractor to accurate diagnose the problem before any treatment can start. If you are unsure of your diagnosis, or the severity of your condition, you should seek advice before beginning any self-treatment. Not all treatments listed here are appropriate for every condition, but may be helpful in your situation. Just remember, resting and taking painkillers only, is not a treatment that is likely to help your shoulder in the long term. But may well be part of what you need to do when the treatment start.


What are the Causes of Shoulder Pain?

Here is a list of some of the most common causes for shoulder pain:

  • Referred pain from the neck
    When the structures in the neck are painful, the pain is often felt over the shoulder. It is important to remember this and your chiropractor will always examine your neck when you come in for shoulder pain.
  • Bursitis/ Rotator Cuff Tendinitis = Impingement syndrome
    The most common diagnosis in patients with shoulder pain is bursitis and tendinitis of the rotator cuff musculature causing impingement syndrome.
  • Rotator Cuff Tear
    Different degrees of rotator cuff tears can occur. If the tendons of the rotator cuff separate from the bone, surgery is sometimes necessary.
  • Frozen Shoulder
    Also called ‘adhesive capsulitis,’ this is a common condition that leads to severely restricted movement of the shoulder.
  • Calcific Tendinitis
    Calcific tendinitis is a condition of calcium deposits within a tendon – most commonly within the rotator cuff tendons. Treatment of calcific tendinitis depends on the extent of symptoms.
  • Shoulder Instability
    Instability is a problem that causes a loose joint. Instability can be caused by a traumatic injury (dislocation), or may be a developed condition.
  • Shoulder Dislocation
    A dislocation is an injury that occurs when the ball-part of the shoulder joint (top of the arm bone) slips out of the socket (part of the shoulder blade).
  • Ligament injury (Acromio-Clavicular Tear)
    Also called an A/C separation, these injuries are the result of a disruption of the acromio-clavicular joint. This is a very different injury from a gleno-humeral dislocation.
  • Labral Tear
    There are several patterns of a torn labrum and the type of treatment depends on the specific injury.
  • Arthritis
    Shoulder arthritis is less common than knee and hip arthritis, but when severe may require a joint replacement surgery. However, arthritic changes are more common in the acromio-clavicular joint between the collarbone and the shoulder blade.
  • Biceps Tendon Rupture
    The upper part of the biceps tendon can rupture and cause shoulder pain.

Chiropractors are trained in medical diagnosis and one of the priorities in the examination is to rule out more serious medical conditions before any treatment can start. For more information on how chiropractic can help, contact us.