If you ever have had shoulder problems you know there is nothing quite as restrictive to your daily life as a bum shoulder. Having complete loss or even partial loss of mobility in a shoulder makes almost every task more difficult. Not to mention the pain. An injured shoulder also affects the neck, upper back and shoulder blade. Depending on how quickly your shoulder condition presented itself provides some insight to what the diagnosis might be. If you injure the shoulder during an activity or a direct trauma then most likely you have torn a rotator cuff muscle. If your shoulder pain is gradual then you are probably dealing with a shoulder impingement.
Impingement Syndrome is characterized by restricted and painful range of motion. The most common restricted and painful range of motion is abduction and external rotation of the shoulder. Although dysfunction of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus are implicated as being most commonly involved with Impingement Syndrome, the subscapularis is often overlooked and therefore under treated.
The subscapularis muscle functions as a shoulder depressor and as an internal rotator. A disruption in normal function of scapula-shoulder complex can result in altered biomechanics of the shoulder. Impingement Syndrome commonly affects supraspinatus, but also targets the posterior rotator cuff muscles. This may lead to a compensatory increase in activation of the subscapularis in order to accommodate for the deficient or inhibited ability of the affected muscles to sufficiently counteract the superior sheer force of the shoulder as the deltoid muscle contracts during elevation of the arm. When a muscle is over worked it isn’t allowed a proper recovery from the increased work load. This leads to scarring and shortening of the muscle fibers. When this happens the muscle loses it’s ability to fully stretch out causing restricted movement in the joint.
Earlier this year I wrote a blog about the likelihood someone could develop a shoulder condition by examining the structure of their spine. [Read here]. Individuals who have the highest probability are those with a hunched over posture. The thoracic and cervical spines have shifted from normal alignment. This causes abnormal movement between the neck, upper back and shoulder blade. This abnormal movement pattern causes damage to the joints, soft tissues of the spine and shoulder. This abnormal structure will lead to weakening of the supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles causing the over activation of the subscapularis muscle.
Standard treatment for rotator cuff muscles primarily focus on the shoulder area only. This is one of the reasons for individuals to develop chronic shoulder problems. Shoulder problems involve the neck and the upper back as well. In our office we focus our approach around improving the structure of the spine (reverse the granny hump) to heal a rotator cuff pathology. By doing so this will reduce the abnormal stress upon the spinal column and the soft tissue that supports it. We accomplish this with structural chiropractic adjustments. This restores proper movement between the neck, upper back and shoulder blade reducing the micro-traumas. We will also use corrective exercises and specific muscle therapies to address the damage to the soft tissues. By focusing on all three areas for proper shoulder function will give your body the best chance of a full recovery.
If you would like to know if Structural Chiropractic could help you can schedule a complimentary consultation right here.