If you or someone you know has shoulder pain, you’re not alone.
In my clinic shoulder pain is the second most common physical ailment that I treat after low back pain.
We ask a lot of our shoulders. This joint has the largest range of motion and yet it must be strong and stable enough to allow us to move heavy objects.
In order to have more insight into shoulder pain it is important to understand a bit of the anatomy of the shoulder.
The shoulder joint consists of:
- the humerus (arm bone)
- the scapula (shoulder blade)
- the clavicle (collar bone), which articulates with both the scapula and the manubrium (the top of the sternum in the center of the chest)
- and there are 19 muscles that can affect the shoulder!
It is this grand diversity of joints and muscles which makes the shoulder joint so strong, but can also make shoulder pain more difficult to identify the cause and treat.
Rotator cuff injuries are very common and acupuncture is very good at treating these. Four muscles and their tendons make up the rotator cuff. They initiate all the movements of the shoulder and they stabilize the joint. These muscles often develop micro tears or worse, resulting in inflammation, pain, and/or weakness. A frozen shoulder falls into this category and has very little range of motion and can be quite painful.
In my experience, shoulder pain is easier and quicker to treat when it is a more recent injury, for example in the first three months after the pain started.
It can be treated later as well, but will usually require more treatments for a full recovery. That is why it is always best to treat your injuries sooner rather than later. It saves you time,money, and pain.
The goal with acupuncture is to reduce the pain and increase the mobility of the joint. At least some relief and improvement can often be seen and felt during the first treatment, but a few treatments will most likely be necessary before the shoulder is back to top shape.
There are many good shoulder exercises you can do, but this is one of the simplest and yet one of the most effective. It’s called
the pendulum. Bend forward at the waist and let your arm hang down
. You can place your other hand on a table or counter to help your balance. Sway your body a little so that your arm swings in small circles. Start with 2 sets of 10 revolutions and work up to 2 sets of 20. Go in both directions. You can also add a light weight – a can of soup works great.
Hope this helps and enjoy the spring!