Shoulder pain is a very common complaint for patients that come into our chiropractic office in Sioux Falls. One common cause of shoulder pain is an injury to the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that attach the shoulder blade to the arm. They are responsible for holding and stabilizing the humerus bone (upper arm bone) to the shoulder joint. The four muscles allow the arm to rotate, reach overhead and to reach backwards. The 4 muscles that make up the rotator cuff are called the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and the teres minor.
Symptoms and Causes of Injury
The rotator cuff muscles are small and have the job of moving the arm through a large range of motions. This makes them likely to be overworked or to get injured. Injury to the rotator cuff can come from trauma or from repetitive movements over time. Symptoms of an injured rotator cuff include shoulder pain and weakness. Pain when laying on the affected side or when reaching overhead are both common complaints with a rotator cuff injury. Some injuries are small and may be a tendinitis or a small tear. An examination and imaging, such as ultrasound or MRIs, are often used to determine if a rotator cuff tear may be present. Tendinitis or small tears are often able to be helped by conservative care such as chiropractic, physical therapy or even rest. This may become a chronic issue that has to be dealt with over an extended period. It is best to seek medical care soon after symptoms start. Complete tears can occur and typically require surgery to correct. If a complete tear is present, the patient may struggle to move their arm and will typically have more severe symptoms.
The Rotator Cuff and Chiropractic
When a patient comes to our office with a complaint of shoulder pain, we will first take a health history. We then perform a chiropractic evaluation that may include orthopedic tests, strength testing and range of motion tests. If indicated, x-rays may be taken. We also check the spine to see if that may be playing a role in the shoulder pain. If we think the symptoms may be helped by chiropractic care we will discuss a recommended care plan. If we don’t think chiropractic is likely to help, we may refer to another provider, such as an orthopedic surgeon. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment if you have shoulder pain. One of our chiropractors will meet with you and determine if you may benefit from chiropractic care.