Shoulder pain is perhaps the most pervasive pain condition that I treat. In fact, it is so common that many people brush it off, or don't seek out real treatment thinking it's just a fact of life. I often hear patients saying, "that's just where I carry my stress." And true enough, what with driving, sitting in traffic, typing on the computer, using the mouse, or playing with our many electronic entertainment devices, this 21st century lifestyle can take its toll on our bodies.
But persistent pain, no matter how common, is still not normal, and should be treated, lest it turn into something more serious. So what are the kinds of repercussions from untreated shoulder pain? For one, it can start to radiate into other parts of the body. Pain is most often caused by inflammation, and inflammation is an insidious force that can travel from the site of origin to the next major body part. Shoulder pain can often turn into neck pain, or even arm and hand pain.
Left untreated, persistent shoulder pain can turn into chronic pain and even arthritis. I always think about inflammation as a sort of “dirty” process. Because it tends to leave behind certain toxic byproducts that may cause even more problems for the body. So when inflammation is always present in the joint, as in the case of arthritis, over time the joint may swell and deform permanently, leading to even more pain, discomfort, and loss of mobility.
Eventually, it can also become something called Frozen Shoulder (aka adhesive capsulitis), where in addition to intense pain, there is also a dramatic decrease in the range of motion, as if the shoulder were "frozen" and unable to move. Frozen Shoulder can be very difficult to treat. Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatories, opioid pain killers, or even a steroid (cortisone) shot. But all of these pharmaceuticals offer only temporary relief of symptoms. If pain comes back, surgery may often seem like the only option left.
In my opinion, before resorting to something so invasive, or even before taking medication that may cause a flurry of harmful side-effects, you can always try alternative healing first when it comes to musculoskeletal pain disorders. Here at Simple Health, a combination of Acupuncture, Chiropractic, and Massage can dramatically improve the pain intensity, range of motion, and overall outcome of shoulder pain. Acupuncture can improve circulation to the joint, reducing swelling and inflammation, while Chiropractic and Massage therapy can facilitate the rehab of surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tendons, allowing range of motion and stability to return.
In some cases, shoulder pain does heal with time and rest. But it can take as long as 1-2 years for this to happen naturally. With the right treatment, you may recover within a few short months! So if you suffer from shoulder pain, don't just live with it! Get the help you need in an all natural way, and go back to living life that way you want to, instead of being limited by your body!