What causes shoulder and arm pain?
The cause of many instances of shoulder or
arm pain is obvious. You do something to injure the arm or shoulder and immediately
feel pain. Or you begin feeling the pain a day or so later. You may have broken
a bone or dislocated your shoulder. Perhaps you strained tendons or ligaments by
carrying too much weight for too long, by lifting something that was too heavy,
overreaching or overexerting your arm, as when playing sports when you're out of
shape, or by keeping your arm in an awkward position, or even by sleeping on the
shoulder. The resulting pain may range from an annoying ache to acute pain that
makes it hard for you to use the injured arm. Fortunately, the majority of such
injuries are seldom critical.
But there are other, less obvious causes
of shoulder or arm pain. Each is distinguished by where it is felt, whether it comes
on suddenly or over time, when it is felt, when it is at its worst, if the pain
extends to other joints in your body, and if other symptoms such as swelling, numbness,
tingling, fever, fatigue, and insomnia accompany the pain. The causes of shoulder
and arm pain include tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, and gout. Such pain may also
result from a reaction to medications such as penicillin, anti-anxiety drugs, and
oral contraceptives. Whiplash injuries, common in auto accidents, can also cause
shoulder and arm pain.
Shoulder and arm pain may be referred from
some other region of the body, as when someone suffering a heart attack feels pain
in the left shoulder and down the left arm. The pain may also be referred from nerves
associated with the joints in the upper spine or "trigger points" in the back, which
are particularly responsive to chiropractic spinal adjustments designed to treat
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What can chiropractic do?
Your chiropractor will examine you and conduct
diagnostic tests to determine exactly what is causing your shoulder or arm pain.
Because the causes and the seriousness of different conditions are so varied, it
is important to pinpoint the cause and begin the most appropriate treatment. He
or she will discover if your problem is mild and transitory or
serious and likely
to trouble you for long time. A broken bone cannot be treated in the same manner
as bursitis or tendonitis. Arthritis and gout call for different care than pain
origination in nerves supplying the shoulder and arm. Your chiropractor will decide
which treatment will be best for you and if referral to a specialist will be necessary.
Chiropractic can be successfully employed
to deal with so-called frozen shoulder, a severe inflammation technically known
as adhesive capsulitis. Chiropractors are accustomed to relieving painful trigger
points between the spine and shoulder. Many chiropractors, especially those with
additional training in sports medicine, are experienced in the care and rehabilitation
of professional and amateur athletes who have injured their shoulders or arms. And
all chiropractors can help you modify your habits and lifestyle to protect yourself
from arm and shoulder injuries and ailments.