What is causing my shoulder pain?

St George Chiropractor

Shoulder pain is a very common. At my chiropractic office in St George, I see shoulder complaints on a daily basis. Today alone, I saw three new patients complaining of shoulder pain. Each had a different diagnosis, but each had a similar type of shoulder pain. That is the tricky thing when treating shoulders. There can be a number of things that go wrong with the shoulder, but the pains are very similar. If you are having shoulder pain, you need to see an experienced chiropractor.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Each of us has heard the term ‘rotator cuff injury’.  Frequently the word surgery is in the same sentence.  The rotator cuff is a tendon structure that supports and directs movement of the shoulder.  There are four muscles that make up the rotator cuff.  Their four tendons merge and connect into the upper portion of the humerus, right next to the ball and socket joint of the shoulder.  The most common injury for which treatment is sought is an injured or torn tendon to the supraspinatus.   That muscle takes a lot of abuse and its shape leaves it vulnerable to repetitive use injury.

Scapulohumeral Muscles

In addition to the four rotator cuff tendons, there are three other muscles that hold the upper arm bone into the shoulder socket.  Those muscles are deltoid, coracobrachialis, and teres major.  These muscles and tendons are less commonly injured and require fewer surgeries.  These seven muscles are prone to myofascial pain, or trigger points.

Trigger Points

A myofascial trigger point is a type of muscle spasm that produces pain and irritation in surrounding nerves.  The region of the muscle which is in a state of spasm tends to be small, about the size of a thumb-nail.  Trigger points are firm to the touch and generally illicit pain when compressed.  Occasionally, compression of the trigger point will produce quivering, or fasciculation which can be seen and felt.  There is some debate over what causes trigger points.  I am of the opinion that there is a decreased supply of oxygen to the muscle which produces a sequence of events leading to altered pH and potentiated muscle spasm.

Trigger points are painful and cause radiation of pain.  So a trigger point in the back of the shoulder can cause pain into the back of the upper arm, along the triceps muscle.

Treatment for trigger points are best handled by the chiropractor.  We have tools and special training to address the various aspects of the trigger point, including the vascular, and neuronal components.

Exercises for Shoulder Pain

Exercising the shoulder is important for reducing the pain and reducing the risk of re-injury.  One does not need expensive gym memberships or specialized equipment.  You can do your own exercises at home.  Stop by our office and we can customize a specific exercise program for your shoulder problem.

Dr. Andrew White
Shoulder Pain and Rotator Cuff injury Chiropractor St George UT



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One response to “What is causing my shoulder pain?”

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