Mechanical dysfunction of the shoulder is becoming a problem of near epic proportions. From the child athlete to the weekend warrior; therapy, cortisone injections, and surgeries for this joint are at an all time high.
Causes of shoulder joint dysfunction can include trauma/injury, overuse, chronic stress, or non-use to the shoulder joint itself, but often times the kinetic chain is involved. This means that an old injury or dysfunction somewhere from your big toe, ankle, knee, hip, pelvis, or anywhere in the spine itself could actually be causing the problem you’re having with your shoulder. But, it doesn’t matter HOW your shoulder began to dysfunction, the important issue is getting you out of pain, and returning your body to normal function.
Breaking down shoulder dysfunction itself, we know that the compromised components include muscle, fascia (thin continuous tissue network surrounding the muscle), blood vessels (arteries and veins), joint complex (tendons and ligaments), and the mechanoreceptors (small nerve fibers within the joint complex). But trusted research and my own clinical experience is now showing that the main key player in nearly all shoulder joint issues is the alpha motor neuron disruption of rhythms causing negative bio-mechanical effects on the shoulder complex . What?! Basically, the sensory fibers that signal from your shoulder to your brain aren’t working correctly. Knowing this, we can functionally stimulate these specific nerve pathways to ‘turn the rhythms back on’. This in turn decreases and many times eliminates alterations in joint motion which will then release the joint tension and allow the shoulder to properly function without pain. If the blood flow is compromised even to a slight degree via muscle and fascial restrictions, a dramatic decrease in healing ensues. Research now shows us that a single joint restriction in the body can decrease your performance (athletic or otherwise) by a minimum of 20%. Two or more joint restrictions in the body can decrease your performance by up to 300%! Having a shoulder or another joint working improperly will effect your entire body. In my experience, it is truly amazing to watch the body heal itself once these neural restrictions are handled.
I must briefly touch on the dietary component of joint dysfunction as well. First, understand that blood supplies the nerves with the energy (oxygen and nutrients) to do their job. So it would be obvious then that the quality of the blood is an important factor in healing. Smoking dramatically decreases this blood oxygenation. Acidic and diuretic food/drink such as coffee, soda, sugar, refined grains, and pasteurized dairy, will increase the body’s level of inflammation and steal the calcium from your bones and soft tissues, eventually weakening the area of concern. Prevention is always important as well. An easy step is to get out and MOVE your body! Of course check with your trusted doctor before embarking on changes to your health journey.
The point is, if you’re dealing with shoulder pain or dysfunction and it isn’t getting better, there is hope. Not all roads lead to injections and surgery. Talk to your Chiropractor (come in and see us!), Physical Therapist, and/or Osteopath and find out if they are well versed in conservative shoulder techniques based on fascial adhesion/muscular restrictions involving the restoration of proprioceptive neural pathways. Please remember, the longer you leave your shoulder dysfunction unaddressed, the more adhesions and restrictions will occur. This leads to less nerve function, and then less oxygen (by way of blood) is able to get to your arm. This also increases your risk of bone and joint degradation and degeneration. Please note that not ALL shoulder issues are handled conservatively. There are cases that do warrant surgical intervention. If you have specific questions in your case, I can certainly help you find the answers you need.