Frozen Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Syndrome pain can be debilitating, often times the patient is unable to reach for a cup out of the cabinet, blow dry their hair, scratch their own back or lift their kids or grand kids.
Common statements heard from patients are “I feel a stabbing, throbbing, sharp pain in my shoulder”, ” I can’t lift my arm past here”, “this pain is so bad it wakes me up at night”, ” I can no longer play golf or tennis” and many more war stories.
The shoulder itself is a bit complicated, and it is important to understand a little bit of the anatomy. The shoulder is made up of a couple different joints: The glenohumeral joint(GH), acromioclavicular joint(AC), sternoclavicula joint(SC), and the scapulothoracic joint(ST). The shoulder also has 4 rotator cuff muscles which are: the subscapularis, (internal rotator), supraspinatus, (abductor and external rotator), infraspinatus, (external rotator), and teres minor, (external rotation).
The more complicated the joint,usually the more things can go wrong including shoulder bursitis, rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder, impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendinitis, AC dislocation, labral tears and more. Shoulder treatment and rehab can be as simple as 4-6 weeks or if it is something surgical it may take 6-8 months or longer to get fully recovered. Let’s go over some treatment options for shoulder problems and diagnoses mentioned above.
- GP or MD visits for shoulder pain usually involved prescribing muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory medicine for 6-8 weeks. The doctor might say come back if that does not work and we can try something else.
- Physical Therapy or Chiropractic treatment does not use any kind of medicine or pain shots of any kind. Both PT and chiropractic doctors work on reducing inflammation, balancing and strengthening the rotator cuff muscles, improving posture of the spine and shoulder, and realigning the joints of the spine and the shoulder.
- Pain management doctor- this involves oral pain medicine and at times pain shots with steroids. The idea here is to reduce the inflammation and promote healing by using medicine.
- Orthopedic doctor/Shoulder specialist– these doctors will usually order X-ray, MRI if warranted, and offer some of the different options mentioned above. If the shoulder problem is severe and needs surgery these are the doctor’s that would do this.
- Massage Therapy/ART/Arosti- there are a variety of different forms of deep tissue or muscle releasing techniques. The idea here is to balance out the rotator cuff muscles which often times have a couple that are very overactive and others that are shut off or under-active.
When determining what shoulder treatment is right, each patient must weight the pros, cons and potential outcome measures of each. Chiropractic Doctor Tyler Hamel, of Pinnacle Health and Wellness | Kingwood Back Pain Relief Chiropractic, recommends asking the PT, MD, Orthopedic doctor or chiropractor what are the typical results of doing the therapy, medicine or surgery. Ask lots of questions, he says, this is your shoulder and it is an important decision for what option or options you are going to choose to fix the problem. If the surgery is supposed to eliminate pain and improve range of motion in the shoulder is this happening 25%, 50%, or 80% of the time after the surgery. For chiropractic or physical therapy, how long does the doctor expect before seeing some improvement and also to get fixed or get back to normal. If the GP recommends taking prescription medicine how long will it take to feel better, will you be able to drive or go to work, are there any side effects to taking this type of prescription medicine?
Keep in mind that often times they will combine these services for shoulder treatment. They may combine pain management and chiropractic/PT. Every time after shoulder surgery the patient will have to do some kind of rehabilitation with a PT/Chiropractor and usually the patient is taking some kind of pain medicine at the same time.
Dr. Hamel lets all of his patients know that this is a serious decision for them to make, what do they want out of the treatment and what are the expecting to do afterwards. Communication is so key these days with your doctor says this chiropractor, if the patient wants to play golf 5 times a week when done with treatment that is very different than a patient who wants to be able to travel and play with their kids.
Dr. Hamel has been treating shoulder pain patients in the Kingwood, Texas and surrounding areas for over 20 years. He also has personally received chiropractic treatment, orthopedic treatments and done thousands of hours of rehab on his own shoulders, due to having 3 partial rotator cuff tears in each shoulder.
This Kingwood chiropractor and nutritionist is always available for questions so please reach out and learn more about what he does:
Pinnacle Health and Wellness | Kingwood Back Pain Relief Chiropractic
Dr. Tyler Hamel DC, ACN
Doctor Of Chiropractic, Advanced Clinical Nutrition Practitioner
3039 Woodland Hills Drive, Kingwood, TX 77339