The shoulder is a complex structure made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The clavicle (the collarbone), the shoulder blade (the scapula), and the upper arm bone (the humerus) are the three bones that form our shoulder. Our shoulder joint is made up of the upper arm bone and the shoulder blade. The shoulder joint is responsible for arm rotation.

The shoulders facilitate a wide range of motion for our arms and hands including the rotational movement of the arms and helps in various actions like lifting, pushing, or pulling. Our shoulders withstand substantial physical demands and hence are more susceptible to pain and injuries.

Shoulder pain is a very common problem experienced by nearly 26% of adults stated in a survey published in the Science Direct Journal. Shoulder pain can be chronic and debilitating causing difficulties in conducting daily activities and impaired performance at the workplace.

Numerous causes that lead to shoulder pain include injuries, trauma, and diseases affecting various other organs of our body including the liver and the stomach.

The symptoms of shoulder pain are experienced differently among individuals based on the underlying condition that causes the shoulder pain. Shoulder pain can be experienced deeply in the shoulder joints or on the front or back of the shoulders. It is sometimes experienced as pain that is dull and at times as sharp and acute pain.

What causes deep shoulder pain?

If you experience dull or deep pain in the shoulder joint that is felt either in the front or back of the shoulder and the upper arm, it is most likely due to rotator cuff tendinopathy (tendonitis).

Rotator cuff tendinopathy is commonly known as “rotator cuff tendonitis” is the leading cause of shoulder pain. A study on shoulder pain by the BMJ observed that rotator cuff tendinopathy was the cause of shoulder pain in 85% of patients.

“Rotator Cuff” is the term used to refer to the group of four muscles and their tendons that hold the head of the upper arm bone or the humerus. It is responsible for stabilizing the shoulder. Injury, trauma due to accident, repetitive overuse due to a profession or sports cause rotator cuff tendinopathy.

Age-related degeneration may also lead to developing rotator cuff tendinopathy. Diabetes, Obesity, and Occupations involving repeated usage of the arms and shoulders for lifting, pushing, pulling and many sports increases the risk factor of developing rotator cuff tendinopathy.

How do you treat rotator cuff tendonitis?

If you have experienced a recent onset of deep shoulder pain, resting the shoulder and home care involving hot and cold packs should resolve the pain itself in a few days to a couple of weeks. However, if you experience pain that is persistent for more than three months, you should seek professional treatment.

Treatment options for resolving deep shoulder pain are focused on providing pain relief and improving the range of motion in the affected shoulder. Prescription pain medications and steroid injections are mostly used to reduce pain and inflammation and are the first line of treatment. 

However, a randomized clinical trial published in the Cochrane Library concluded that therapy works just as well in reducing shoulder pain as steroid injections and the benefits of steroid injection shots for rotator cuff tendinopathy shoulder pain is only short term.

Surgery is not recommended unless there is acute trauma, dislocation, or tear in the rotator cuff.

Therapy is a natural way to increase the range of motion and reduce pain caused due to rotator cuff tendinopathy. It was concluded in a study published by the BMJ that non-surgical treatment options provided similar pain reduction as compared to surgery for patients with shoulder pain caused due to rotator cuff tendinopathy.

Non-surgical treatment is effective for managing deep shoulder pain

Your chiropractor can effectively help you manage your shoulder pain and help you rehabilitate your shoulder for increased movement naturally. A detailed physical examination and medical history can help your chiropractor formulate a treatment plan that works best to reduce pain and effectively improve range of motion.

Finding that you need chiropractic care for your shoulder pain? Reach out today for your consultation from the team at Cianci Chiropractic.