As a Brookfield chiropractor specializing in sports chiropractic and personal injury care, shoulder pain and rotator cuff syndrome are some of the most commonly seen conditions in our office. The shoulder is unique because its stability relies primarily on proper muscle balance instead of being supported by the strength and integrity of surrounding ligaments. These muscles, the infraspinatus, supraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis, are known collectively as the rotator cuff and allow the shoulder joint to function properly. When these muscles become inflamed we call it rotator cuff syndrome.
Additionally, three bones come together to form the shoulder joint: the humerus (the upper arm), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle ( collar bone). Issues with alignment between any of these three bones can and will directly affect the shoulder’s motion, resulting in pain, swelling and inflammation in the joint.
Finally, multiple nerves lead to and through this joint, controlling motor function in the shoulder and the rest of the arm and hand and providing sensory feedback to the central nervous system. These nerves exit your lower cervical spine (neck) and form a bundle called the brachial plexus before going to supply the neck, arm and hand with information.
How The Spine Affects Shoulder Function
Like all joints in the body, the shoulder joint functions optimally when all its parts are moving in proper alignment. That’s a given. However, the number one most important factor contributing to proper shoulder function is spinal alignment, with your cervical and thoracic regions playing a major part in shoulder health.
First, because nerves directly connected to the shoulder originate in the neck and upper back, those spinal regions are the first areas usually examined when a patient complains of shoulder pain. Misalignments of the vertebra in your spine can cause compression or irritation of nerve roots, often leading to motor or sensory deficits or referred pain in the arm related directly to the misalignment.
Second, because the shoulder blades rest on top of the ribcage, alignment of the thoracic (mid-back) spine and ribs are integral to the proper function of the shoulder. When the thoracic spine becomes too rounded, for example, ribs can shift out of position, altering shoulder blade position and shifting the entire joint forward. If this altered shoulder positioning persists, over time it can cause imbalances in the rotator cuff, leading to shoulder strains and rotator cuff syndrome. In fact, rotator cuff strain is a alarmingly common complaint in patients with poor thoracic alignment.
Eliminate The Cause Of Shoulder Pain With Chiropractic Care
When your spine is in optimal alignment your shoulder joints will also be allowed to be positioned properly, resulting in shoulders that can move freely and are pain-free. Treatment at Ascent Chiropractic, focused on correcting misalignments in the spine, is one of the most effective tools for keeping stress off your shoulders. We utilize a low-force, non-invasive, conservative approach to treatment of spine and shoulder disorders for our patients in Brookfield, West Allis, Greenfield, Wauwatosa, Brookfield, New Berlin & surrounding areas. To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.