Shoulder Pain | Abq

Sports Chiropractic & Massage | Placitas, NM

Dr. Smith takes a dynamic approach to treating Shoulder Pain.  It may be related to a rotator cuff injury, impingement syndrome, frozen shoulder, or originate in the neck.  Dr. Smith will craft a custom plan to address your needs.If you are seeking treatment for Shoulder Pain in Placitas or the surrounding areas of Bernalillo, Rio Rancho, Abq, or Santa Fe call or schedule online.

Treating Shoulder Pain | Abq

Shoulder Structure

In general, the greater mobility that a structure has the less stable it will be.  This is especially true of the shoulder.  It moves in wide sweeping arcs, often only limited by the body itself.  Both excessive and limited mobility are often associated with pain in the shoulder.

The only joint connecting the shoulder to the rest of the skeleton is the small sternoclavicular joint at the top of the sternum.  Otherwise, the shoulder hangs from the body supported by muscular and ligamentous attachments. 

Because of that, many of the painful conditions that affect the shoulder are muscular or ligamentous in origin. You may have torn a muscle, damaged cartilage internal to she shoulder, or have aggravated a bursa.

Being that there are so many pain sensitive structures in the shoulder.  We begin every shoulder treatment with a targeted orthopedic exam to assess exactly what the problem is. 

Based on these findings, we incorporate chiropractic adjustments, sports massage, functional exercises, stretching, estim/ultrasound, and kinesio taping to address the aggravated structures.  

Common Causes

Pain in the Shoulder can be related to overuse, a fall, a sports injury, or it may seemingly come out of nowhere. Below is a list of common causes.

Shoulder pain is often related to poor work and lifting posture. Sitting at a computer all day often results in both tightness in the chest and weakness in the back. This imbalance is another common cause of shoulder discomfort.

Dry Needling for Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is a common complaint, plaguing athletes, desk jockeys, and everyone in between. While the cause can vary from rotator cuff injuries to arthritis, one increasingly popular treatment option is dry needling. But what exactly is it, and can it really help your aching shoulder?

Dry Needling 101

Dry needling involves inserting thin, solid needles into trigger points – taut knots in your muscles that are often the source of pain. Unlike acupuncture, which focuses on traditional Chinese medicine meridians, dry needling targets specific muscle tissue.

How it Works

The exact mechanism of action is still being researched, but several theories explain dry needling’s pain-relieving effects:

  • Local Twitch Response: The needle insertion may trigger a brief involuntary muscle twitch, helping to release tension and improve blood flow.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Dry needling is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and decrease inflammatory chemicals.
  • Improved Range of Motion: By relaxing trigger points and reducing muscle tightness, dry needling can help you move your shoulder more freely.

Is it Right for You?

If you’re struggling with shoulder pain that hasn’t responded to other treatments like rest, ice, and pain medication, dry needling might be worth exploring. It’s generally considered safe for most people, although there are some contraindications, such as pregnancy, bleeding disorders, and open wounds.

What to Expect

During your first appointment, Dr. Smith will assess your shoulder and determine if dry needling is appropriate. The treatment itself usually takes about 15-30 minutes. You may feel a slight pinch as the needles are inserted, and some people experience a twitch or temporary soreness afterward. If dry needling is not appropriate, there are many other approaches such as cupping, gua sha, and myofascial release that we can employ.

The Verdict

Research suggests that dry needling can be an effective treatment for shoulder pain, often leading to improvements in pain, range of motion, and function. While it’s not a magic bullet, it can be a valuable tool in your pain management toolbox.