Understanding shoulder pain begins with a bit of awe for how the three bones in your shoulder function together. Any imbalances among this functionality can quickly limit mobility and result in pain. Aside from the obvious fractures and dislocations, most shoulder pain arises through inflamed or torn tendons, muscular instability, arthritis, and poor thoracic spinal posture.
Touching on the basics, the three bones that comprise your shoulder joint are the collarbone, shoulder blade, and long bone of the arm. Furthermore, the connection of two joints creates mobility to raise your arm above your head, move the arm in a circular motion, and bring your arm toward and away from your body. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that pull the long arm bone into your shoulder blade.
Anyone who’s experienced shoulder pain knows how simple, daily arm motions can become challenging. For starters, take care of this range of motion by paying attention to your posture.
Posture can impact shoulder pain
Mayo Clinic provides a posture self-analysis through the “Wall Test”.
- Stand with the back of your head, shoulder blades, and buttocks touching the wall. Your heels should be two to four inches from the wall.
- Put a flat hand behind the small of your back. You should be able to barely slide your hand between your lower back and the wall for a correct lower back curve.
- Too much space behind your lower back? Draw your belly button toward your spine to gently bring your lower back closer to the wall.
- Too little space behind your lower back? Arch your back so your hand can slide behind you.
- Walk away from the wall while holding a proper posture. Then, return to the wall to check if it’s still correct.
Improving posture through chiropractic treatment
When poor posture causes shoulder pain, pain management can include chiropractic adjustment along with posture-correcting exercises. The overall goal for a chiropractor’s adjustment is to help bones and joints maintain correct alignment. When these align, you reduce stress on ligaments, reduce injury risk, prevent muscle strain, and decrease joint wear.
Depending on your posture, you may require a series of chiropractic adjustments over several months to correct the challenges that may cause shoulder pain. As you strengthen the body toward maintaining good posture, topical pain relief products can minimize inflammation and support the healing process. NeoRelief for Pain is a clear pain relief gel made from active botanicals and minerals known for anti-inflammatory soothing of muscles and joints. This can provide targeted shoulder pain relief, as noted by Dr. Patrick Dixon:
“Whenever I am treating a patient with bicipital tendonitis, I find that adding NeoRelief to the treatment regimen, significantly reduces the pain and inflammation of the tendon, helping hold alignment much better,” said Dr. Patrick Dixon of Dixon Family Chiropractic. “I apply NeoRelief, especially, before applying Kinesio tape to a patient, and send them with instructions to apply every hour until their pain subsides, then to use as needed.”
If you suspect your shoulder pain may be due to a fracture or dislocation, promptly contact your primary care doctor for diagnosis and further treatment.
Check your core and ergonomics
Lastly, posture improvements can be achieved by strengthening the abdominal muscles and observing your ergonomics. Be mindful of how you hold yourself. If you work at a computer, investigate ways to improve ergonomics so you sit up straight — including keeping your feet flat on the floor and looking eye level at the screen. If you stand for long periods of time, slightly bend your knees, keep your feet shoulder-width apart, and bear your weight on the balls of your feet. When you walk, pull the shoulders back, tuck the tummy, and let your arms hang gently at your sides, palms in.
When you’re home after a long day, sneak in abdominal exercises while watching television or incorporate them into your fitness routine when you hit the gym. Listen to your body and live well.
American Chiropractic Association