The Secret to Managing Shoulder Pain: From a Chiropractor
One of the most common– and persistent– musculoskeletal conditions shoulder pain will reportedly affect approximately 67% of Australians at some point within their life time (Ackerman, et al. 2018).
Fortunately, our Chiropractors are well versed in the treatment of this issue and have compiled a list of their best kept 'secrets' around managing shoulder pain specifically.
1. Get Adjusted
While it may not seem like the obvious fix, receiving a Chiropractic adjustment can be highly beneficial in the treatment of shoulder pain. This is because the mid back and neck vertebrae directly link nerve supply to the muscles of the shoulders. Shoulder and joint pain can also be an indication of disposition. If the neck, shoulder, or thoracic spine become misaligned this may cause pain or 'impingement' in unnecessary places (such as the shoulder or joints).
2. The Benefits of Movement
As we mentioned above, the shoulder has a close relationship with both the neck and thoracic spine (mid back). Often, creating better movement and function through these areas can have a significant impact at the shoulder joint. Some of our favourite at home solutions include: Foam Rolling (available for purchase at the clinic), the cat-cow yoga stretch, or a thoracic rotation (shoulder circles; best results if done while half kneeling). All of these are great, low impact exercises that will get your thoracic spine (mid back) moving.
3. Pillow Talk
If the height of your pillow is incorrect– either too high or too low– this can have a strong impact on the shoulder joint. This is because when we sleep we spend hours putting pressure through our shoulder joints. The wrong pillow can quickly make this become a painful experience.
4. The Chest Stretch
A commonly recommended solution for office workers, the Pec (Pectoral) muscle stretch can work wonders when it comes to relieve pressure at the front of the shoulders. Accurately titled "band pull-aparts" this stretch is done by holding a theraband with both hands in front of your chest before "pulling apart". Our Chiropractors encourage clients reporting shoulder pain to keep the band close to their office desk and do this stretch a number of times throughout the day.
5. Check Your Work Set-Up
A guilty suspect when it comes to experiencing shoulder pain, your office set-up may be the cause behind your discomfort. This is because when sitting at a desk, our body is inclined to allow our shoulders to "creep" toward our ears. Often a result of desk chair, keyboards, screen height, or perhaps even your desk itself, all of these sources when not positioned properly can cause incorrect posture, and as a result, pain.
6. The Best Kept Secret
If you've read this far it's time we let you in on our best kept secret for releasing shoulder pain at home. Trigger point balls. Simply place the ball between your shoulder blade and the wall and lean back to make contact. From here, move around while managing to keep enough pressure that the ball does not drop. Lean further forward or backward to find the amount of pressure that feels most comfortable.
Sarah Jane Stuchbery, Chiropractor; Function.allied Health
Patrick Quin, Chiropractor; Function.allied Health
Rebecca Ryan, Chiropractor; Function.allied Health
Ackerman, I, et al. (2018). Exploring the personal burden of shoulder pain among younger people in Australia: protocol for a multicentre cohort study. BMJ Open 8(7). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-021859