Shoulder pain can arise from a multitude of places—from joints, muscles, tendons, and bursa in and around the shoulder region as well as from more distant locations like the neck, upper back, or even referred pain from the gall bladder. The onset of shoulder pain is highly variable as it can arise without an obvious cause or be related to a specific mechanism of injury such as a work or sports injury. Shoulder pain can also occur as a result of repetitive trauma over time, such as a job requiring overhead reaching. Neurological injuries such as stroke or a pinched nerve in the neck can cause shoulder pain as well. Experts estimate that as much as half of the population experiences shoulder pain each year, though many people often decide to “just live with it” and therefore, don’t seek treatment. However, shoulder and neck disorders do account for 18% of disability payments for MSK pain.
These following factors contribute to shoulder pain, either alone or in combination with each other:
Impingement is a common cause of shoulder pain that arises from swelling or inflammation from the tendons and/or bursae. Here, the ability to raise the arm is limited. Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat shoulder conditions using the standard approaches like mobilization, exercise, ice, job modifications, and anti-inflammatory measures (modalities and nutritional approaches), as well as those unique to chiropractic such as shoulder joint manipulation, which can reduce impingement.