The shoulder joint or shoulder girdle is a complex structure. The bones that create the shoulder girdle are the collarbone (clavicle), shoulder blade (scapula), and the upper arm bone (humerus). The clavicle is the only boney attachment the shoulder has to the body. Muscles attach the other two bones. The most famous are the rotator cuff muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. Nerves that exit from the neck combine to form the brachial plexus, which innervates all the muscles in the shoulder.
The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint and is able to rotate 360 degrees. Because of its unique structure and attachments to the axial skeleton, it is the most mobile joint in the body. Throwing a ball, playing tennis, and eating are all possible because of this mobility. There is very little stability that is associated with the shoulder joint so it dislocates more frequently than any other joint in the body.
Besides the most obvious causes of pain trauma, arthritis, or over use, pain in the shoulder may be due to injuries or dysfunctions in other areas of the body. Subluxation or muscular trigger points in the neck (cervical) or mid-back (thoracic), compression of a nerve exiting the neck or entrapment of a nerve that innervates the muscles, or even a problem with an organ such as the gallbladder or heart may be the root of a shoulder problem.
The majority of the population seeks medical help for a quick fix for pain relief. The medications that are prescribed help diminish the pain but do not treat the underlying cause of the dysfunction. The Doctor of Chiropractic looks for these causes.
The Chiropractor will perform an initial consultation and a detailed medical history. After the physical, orthopedic, and chiropractic examinations, radiographs of the area of chief complaint may be warranted for further diagnosis. Based on the findings the chiropractor gives a report of findings and a treatment plan, which will be discussed with the patient. Referrals to other practitioners are made if necessary.