Can a Chiropractor Help With Shoulder Pain?

Pain Treatment Chiropractic Therapy / November 5, 2019
can chiropractor help with shoulder pain

If you are looking for shoulder pain treatment, chiropractic care can help. Whether you’ve suffered a shoulder injury, have a chronic condition, or experience everyday aches and pains, there is treatment that can help alleviate your pain. ChiroCare of Florida utilizes a wide variety of methods to not only treat the immediate presenting pain but also to address the underlying issue, helping our patients to heal from the inside out.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can be caused by many things, from a sports injury to a car accident, or a chronic condition such as arthritis. Sometimes, you may not even know where the pain originates from, but you should still explore how chiropractic care can help. There are several common causes of shoulder pain.


A dislocated shoulder can happen in many ways. It occurs when your upper arm bone, which connects to the shoulder socket, comes out of place. Often, you’ll hear a loud popping noise when this occurs. Dislocated shoulders are a common sports injury, but they can happen on or off the field. Other causes of dislocated shoulders include slips and falls, repeated use that stretches your muscles such as manual labor, or biological disposition to instability in the shoulder socket.

Symptoms of a dislocated shoulder include localized pain, pain when holding your shoulder in a specific position, and arm weakness. You’ll most likely experience a very limited or painful range of motion and a decrease in flexibility. Activities that were once painless may now cause excruciating pain.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a layman’s term for a condition known as adhesive capsulitis. It’s a degenerative condition, meaning that it worsens over time as opposed to having a sudden onset, like a dislocation. The main symptoms of frozen shoulder are stiffness and pain at the joint and decreased range of motion.

It’s usually a secondary condition, meaning that it’s a result of a prior event. Frozen shoulder can result from a traumatic shoulder injury, a stroke, or recovery from other medical conditions that prohibit you from moving your shoulder for an extended time. This results in the scarring of the joint capsule, causing pain, but it can be treated over time.

Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder bursitis is a condition that results from inflammation in the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that acts as a barrier between your shoulder tendon and the bone. The bursa is meant to serve as a cushion, reducing erosion, friction, and abrasion between the muscle and bone. When the bursa becomes inflamed, it fails to do its job correctly and can result in the pain it is meant to prevent.

Like a frozen shoulder, shoulder bursitis generally has a slow onset. Symptoms include pain that spreads down the arm, sometimes all the way to the wrist, worsening when you lift your arm above into the air above your head. Pain may also occur when rotating your arm, and then lessens when you lay your arm at your side.


Arthritis is a common condition that affects more than 50 million adults in the United States alone. It’s another degenerative condition that worsens over time, with a slow onset. Unlike a shoulder dislocation, frozen shoulder, or shoulder bursitis, arthritis can affect any joint in the body. It’s caused by inflammation, and when it affects the shoulder joint causes pain or stiffness.

Poor Posture

As with so many chiropractic conditions, shoulder pain does not have to be the result of a severe injury or chronic condition, but can also be caused by something as simple as poor posture. Sleeping on your side, which causes extended periods of shoulder pressure, can be one of these common causes.

Others causes include poor posture when sitting, or hunching over a desk or laptop for long periods. This can lead not only to shoulder pain, but also to a misalignment in the spine and neck vertebra. Shoulder pain that results from poor posture can be easily treated with a chiropractic treatment plan.

How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help Shoulder Pain

No matter the cause of your shoulder pain, chances are that chiropractic treatment can help alleviate, or even solve, your symptoms. While some conditions, such as arthritis, cannot be cured, they can be effectively managed over time. A dislocation will take time to heal, but frequently people will make a full recovery. Even if full recovery takes some time, there are many chiropractic adjustment benefits that relieve some of the pain in the meantime.

If you are struggling with poor posture that is causing your shoulder pain, your chiropractor will likely recommend a spine adjustment in addition to offering corrective measures you can take to improve your posture over time. There are a variety of chiropractic treatment options for shoulder pain, depending on the cause.


Cryotherapy consists of exposing the body to extreme cold inside a special cryogenic chamber. Think of this as icing your shoulder, except much more intensely and for a much shorter period of time. The average length of time that a patient spends in a cryogenic chamber is just two to three minutes, but the results can be astounding. Cryotherapy is often used to treat sore joints and soft tissue. It can help treat conditions such as a dislocated shoulder, arthritis, and conditions that result from or come with inflammation.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy may help certain soft tissue conditions, such as should bursitis. It’s recommended that you see a specialist who has expertise in treating soft tissue issues, such as your chiropractor. An unskilled massage therapist may cause more damage to the area.

Frozen shoulder is another condition that can benefit from chiropractic massage therapy. Chiropractors are trained in the specific movements and manipulations that each soft tissue condition requires to heal and can bring relief to inflammation and soreness.

Joint Manipulation

Chiropractors are musculoskeletal experts and can help conditions that affect the shoulder through joint manipulation. This can be beneficial for patients who have arthritis and those with more general conditions such as pain caused by poor posture or sleeping incorrectly. Joint manipulation can help relieve pressure on the joints that are causing pain or interfering with nerves.

Electric Stimulation

Electric Stimulation, or E-Stim, is another treatment method that can help address problems with soft tissue in the shoulder. The process consists of small electrode pads that are attached to the skin that exert low-level currents, which reduces nerve pain. The process is painless and non-invasive, with little to no side effects.

At-Home Exercises

In addition to treatment at the office, your chiropractor may recommend a series of at-home exercises to help with shoulder pain. These are gentle exercises, and the routine should be developed with your chiropractor, so that you don’t aggravate the muscles and joints or cause further injury to yourself.

Exercises may include gentle rotations and stretches or self massage. Your chiropractor will let you know if you will experience any pain with these exercises as well as how much to expect. If at any point the pain seems severe, you should stop immediately.

Continuing Treatment

Chiropractic treatment for shoulder pain is an on-going process, and while you may experience some alleviation of pain after a single visit, a comprehensive plan is often necessary. Healing from an injury can be a long process. Your chiropractor will work with you each step of the way, adjusting your treatment plan as needed the more you progress.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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