Meriel Davis, associate chiropractor at Back 2 Balance, Hove, has a keen interest in helping people alleviate their sporting injuries, especially those in the knees and shoulders.
We all know that chiropractic can be very effective for back pain…however it can also be very effective for extremity injuries as well. One of the most common extremity injuries we see here at Back 2 Balance is rotator cuff injuries (i.e. a common type of shoulder pain). Shoulder injuries can happen at any age and don’t have to be sports related.
The rotator cuff muscle group (see below image) lie all around the shoulder blade…in front, either side and on top…these muscle fibres then all lead up to the arm bone where they become tendons and attach onto the top part of the arm. Their function is to stabilise the shoulder joint on moving but ofcourse to also move the arm bone itself. A very common symptom of a rotator cuff injury is an inability to lift the arm out to the side, pain on putting a coat on or pain when sleeping on that side at night. Some people experience pain radiating down the arm towards the elbow or even hand.
One of the reasons why rotator cuff injuries are so common is that the shoulder is a very mobile joint. This mobility is at the expense of shoulder stability. A small injury can happen in one of the tendons/muscles but this can very easily progress to other muscle areas becoming irritated due to compensation patterns. What starts off as a simple problem can often lead to a more complex issue where the original injury sight is not so obvious.
Shoulder mobilisation, soft tissue release on the rotator cuff muscles, mid back and neck treatment are some of the treatment modalities chiropractic can incorporate into treatments. Once the shoulder function has improved a series of shoulder strengthening exercises are normally prescribed to help keep the area functioning properly. By getting the problem sorted from the route upwards there is no need to have a steroid injection or even surgery in many cases. Physical therapy for shoulder problems is far safer than painkillers/anti-inflammatories for these types of problems.
I, for one, have personal experience of shoulder/rotator cuff injury…the pain started after going to the gym in my mid twenties…and with the amount of tennis played it would just get worse and worse. I have seen lots of practitioners in my time for shoulder treatment and from that I know what it feels like to have a rotator cuff injury and what it feels like to get it treated and subsequently get better from it. This is the main reason I enjoy treating shoulder injuries…because I understand what it feels like to have had one and the effect it has on a person’s life.