Shoulder Dysfunction and Neck Structure
One of the most complex joints in the body is the shoulder. It has a greater range of motion than any other joint in your body. There are multiple muscles groups constantly trying to stabilize and move the joint at the same time, to allow complicated movements.
Unfortunately, the shoulder is also one of the most common problem areas we see among patients that come to our office.
Some shoulder conditions can be managed with simple lifestyle modifications, stretches, or even a few sessions with a physical therapist. There are often times where even traditional chiropractic care can help manage the symptoms. In quite a few instances, shoulder pain and dysfunction doesn't go away quite that easily. Why is that?
The reason shoulder pain can fail to improve after therapy is because often times it's an undiagnosed neck issue that needs to be corrected.
The muscles of the shoulder and arm are controlled by a bundle of nerves that originate in the mid to lower portions of your neck. Nerves are essentially the electrical wiring of the body. If you have an obstruction to the electrical wiring of your home, you'll typically see issues like outlets not working, lights flickering, appliances not turning on to do scheduled tasks. When there are obstructions to the nerves that travel to the shoulder, we see things like weakness, pain, tingling, muscles spasm, lack of coordination, and in extreme cases, muscle atrophy.
What causes an obstruction of the nerves?
If we focus in on the structure of the spine, years of research have shown us that there is a range of what is considered normal regarding spinal alignment. If your spine has shifted outside of those normal ranges, the result is what we term a Structural Abnormality or Structural Shift. When it comes to the head and neck region, if your head shifts forward relative to the shoulders, regardless of the reason, it leads to a condition known as Anterior Head Syndrome.
Patients with Anterior Head Syndrome commonly report with secondary conditions such as shoulder pain, shoulder weakness, lower neck spasm, tingling in the arms, numbness and headaches. The head shifting forward causes excessive wear and tear on the discs, spinal bones and nerves in the mid to lower portion of the neck. After some time, the nerves are obstructed and the end result shows up as shoulder dysfunction. While there are many treatments that can provide temporary relief, it will continue to remain an issue if the actual structure isn't corrected.
In chiropractic, similar to dentistry and medicine, certain practices focus on certain areas. Just like not all doctors practice neurology or cardiology, not all chiropractors focus on structural correction of the spine.
The key to correcting the condition is not just in the intervention, but performing an in-depth analysis of the spine using multiple diagnostic tools. After a thorough analysis, structural corrective protocols are employed to make a lasting correction.