Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Introduction to Shoulder Conditions

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, April 23, 2009

Authored by: Dr. Josh Sonsiadek

To understand shoulder problems we need to look at what actually constitutes the shoulder. In actuality the shoulder is made up of 4 different joints: (1) Acromioclavicular joint (Aka AC joint); (2) Glenohumeral joint; (3) Sternoclavicular joint; (4) Scapulocostal Articulation (where the shoulder blade lies on top of ribs). There are also many muscles of the neck and upper back which aid in movements of the shoulder.

The shoulder case can be challenging at times due to the complexity and dependency on an intergrated, and alignment- dependent structure consisting of ligaments, muscles, and tendons. These structures need to work in a balanced and coordinated manner with a number of other joints in order to maintain stability.

When trauma occurs to the shoulder, soft tissue or bony injury is usually observed by physical findings or X-ray. The majority of challenging shoulder cases come when trauma is not obvious or evident. This makes it difficult to isolate a specific structure or cause to the patient’s shoulder complaint.

For the most part, many shoulder issues are referred to as multi-faceted (caused by many things not working right at the same time) problems.

The shoulder is a joint that allows for much mobility, but because of this increased mobility, it does not allow for lots of stability. Most of the instability of the shoulder comes from having the arm raised up and reaching back. So when patients have occupations or participate in activities in which the arm is in these positions most of the time, they are going to put increased demand on the tissues setting them up for what is referred to as an overuse or repetitive injury.

Shoulder issues are often seen in activities such as weight lifting, swimming, throwing, or jobs which require overhead reaching activities.

In the chiropractic setting, a patient will most frequently come in with neck, shoulder and arm pain. So it is extremely important to observe the connection between each of these structures and to isolate the primary verses secondary causes to these complaints in order to have the patient return to their normal activities.


One Response to “Introduction to Shoulder Conditions”

  1. John Peak said

    Thanks for the information!

    Found some just like it here

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