While medication like Panadol and Ibuprofen are common treatments for shoulder pain, they don’t lead to full recovery. Chiropractic can help with your shoulder pain without drugs or surgery. Chiropractors are musculoskeletal healthcare experts trained to diagnose and provide treatment for painful shoulder conditions like rotator cuff tear, frozen shoulder, and even aches from a postural strain. Do you know 42% of Singaporeans suffer from shoulder pain (Singapore General Hospital) and musculoskeletal disorders alone cost the Singapore economy $3.5 billion a year?
There has been a lot of media coverage questioning common, standard medical procedures. The issue in concern is that these procedures’ effectiveness are not supported by research data.
Tendon pathology is a widely researched and discussed topic, and a quick google search can end up taking you down a deep dark rabbit hole of conflicting research, opinion, and debate.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
The shoulder is a complex joint. The shoulder blade alone has 17 muscles attached to it! These are some of the common conditions that could lead to shoulder pain:
- Frozen Shoulder
- Chronic Upper Trapezius Hypertonicity
- Postural Strain
- Subacromial Pain Syndrome / Subacromial Impingement Syndrome
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Cervical Slipped Disc
- Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy or Dysfunction
- Repetitive Stress Injury
When to see a Chiropractor For Shoulder Pain?
We think you should see a chiropractor when your shoulder pain is starting to affect your daily life. Are you having problems lifting a bag or groceries? Is your shoulder pain starting to affect your weekly tennis game? Square One works on a different approach to shoulder pain recovery. We work with your goals and your desires because we want you to go back to living a full, functional, and happy life.
As a rule of thumb, you should see a good chiropractor when your shoulder pain persists for over six weeks. If it only lasts for a few days but keeps coming back, you may also want to seek professional help. Regardless of who you choose to see, your shoulder pain management should be largely exercise-based.
Shoulder Pain Treatment Options
There are multiple treatment options for shoulder pain. It can range from chiropractic adjustments to exercise or even surgery. If you are considering surgery but have not tried exercise therapy, we do ask that you reconsider. In the past few years, we have seen more and more research recommending against surgery. A study published just earlier this year in the prestigious medical journal, The British Medical Journal, reported that surgery did not provide improvements in pain, function, or quality of life when compared to fake surgery.
Research-Based Shoulder Pain Solution
Only a few month ago, the British Journal of Sports Medicine published: What does best practice care for musculoskeletal pain look like? Eleven consistent recommendations from high-quality clinical practice guidelines.
Chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, IASTM all did not meet the list. Does that surprise you? We live in a society where most information about shoulder pain recovery available are driven by for-profit companies. The difference between us and our competitors is that we only deliver treatments that are supported by the latest research. We even provide the references or links so you can check them out for yourself.
Their recommendations? Educate the patients and provide management addressing physical activity and/or exercise. Also to apply manual therapy only as an adjunct (i.e. supplementary treatment).
We do exactly just that at Square One! To read the full eleven recommendations, check out our blog post here.
Shoulder Pain Recovery Program
Yes, research supports the use of exercise when it comes to managing musculoskeletal pain. A study published in 2019 looking specifically at neck and shoulder pain in computer users found a five-week eccentric training program to be effective at helping with shoulder pain. The participants in the study reported improvements in both pain and disability with reduced sensitisation. This could be you.
You may have the misconception that you need to be fit and active to be eligible for exercise therapy. This is not true. As seen in the study above, sedentary workers respond just as well to exercise therapy. If you have been suffering from neck or shoulder pain due to long hours working at the desk, you should give exercise therapy a shot. We think we can make your pain go away. Over 80% of our clients get results within four to seven visits. It is worth a shot.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON SHOULDER PAIN
I have a complete (100%) rotator cuff tear on my right shoulder. Do I need surgery?
No, you do not need surgery. A study published earlier this year found that 75% of patients are successfully treated with non-operative care (without surgery)!
According to the study, there is no statistical difference between patients who were treated without going surgery and those who opted to go under the knife.
Reference: What Happens to Patients When We Do Not Repair Their Cuff Tears? Five-year Rotator Cuff Quality-Of-Life Index Outcomes Following Nonoperative Treatment of Patients With Full-Thickness Rotator Cuff Tears in Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Does Dry Needling help with shoulder pain?
The short answer is no.
Dry needling on its own is unlikely to be your long-term pain solution. There is limited evidence to support that manual therapy or passive care on their own is enough to help with your shoulder pain. At Square One, we utilise mainly exercise therapy to help our clients get back to pain-free living. Check out our blog post Why We Choose Exercise to learn more about how we fight pain with exercise.
Is there evidence support dry needling?
Yes. A 2017 study looking at effects of dry needling on the upper trapezius muscle (the muscle that sits between your neck and shoulder) myofacial trigger points found that a single session of needling may improve symptoms by “deactivating” those trigger points. However, the study methodology is considered of low quality.
Reference: Therapeutic effects of dry needling in patients with upper trapezius myofascial trigger points in Acupuncture in Medicine (British Medical Acupuncture Society)
What does clinical guideline says?
The latest musculoskeletal pain clinical guidelines recommend that passive therapy (including dry needling) be used as an adjunctive treatment. Exercise is the first-choice therapy for shoulder pain.