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Shoulder treatments | what are your options

Shoulder treatments for your shoulder ailments will vary based on the problems you have. In this article we will describe shoulder treatments for the most common shoulder issues arising from rotator cuff problems; tendinitis, bursitis, frozen shoulder, and impingement syndrome.

Rotator cuff issues come about from an injury, poor anatomy, and/or muscle weakness. To understand the treatment options we have to understand the reasons that problems arise. Your shoulder joint is not the same ball and socket joint that it may appear to be. Unlike the hip, the bones of the shoulder joint do not fit into one another. Instead the muscles of the rotator cuff hold the bones (scapula and humerus) together as your arm moves through space. The advantage is that the shoulder has greater range of motion but it also creates greater risk for problems too. Lets look at these potential problems now.

Shoulder treatments | Weakened Tendons

shoulder treatmentsWhen the tendons of the rotator cuff become weekend, the bones will no longer fit together with the same affinity. As a result the joint will have more movement and the tendons can be frayed or cut as they pass through the shoulder. The result is inflammation, pain, and increased weakness in the effected tendons. The initial weakness can occur from a previous injury, poor anatomy, or muscle over development / underdevelopment on either side of the shoulder. The result is tendinitis, bursitis, frozen shoulder, and/or impingement syndrome.

Your shoulder treatments will vary depending on the severity of weakness present and the resulting problem. Conventional treatment will often start with a cortisone injection followed by physical therapy. If this approach fails to reach the desired effect surgery or chronic pain medication is commonly used. 

Two holistic treatment options for the same issues are acupuncture for shoulder pain and homeopathic shoulder injections. Both options treat the underlying damaged tissue and pain without the side effects. Physical therapy should always be part of the treatment plan with rotator cuff issues. However, cortisone injections should not be used in the same liberal manner. Cortisone can actually leave the tendons and ligaments of the shoulder more weakened and damaged as a result of the injection. The pain often goes away but the problem may come back even worse from the increased weakness in the tendons created by the cortisone. 

Shoulder treatments | Rotator cuff injury

Another problem that can occur to the rotator cuff is injury. This is a common occurrence with excess loads to the shoulder. By loads we are referring to heavy weight, heavy force, repetitive movements such as those in weight lifting, football, and baseball. 

Treatment will vary based on severity of the injury. If there is no tear in the rotator cuff tendons than the above treatment options will still apply. Often times with injures to the rotator cuff more emphasis needs to be placed on the physical therapy aspect of treatment. As with most treatment options, reducing the inflammation in the shoulder is tackled before the the physical therapy is started.

For this anti-inflammatory effect one of the best options is the homeopathic injections. Unlike anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections, these homeopathic injections act as modulators of inflammation. The difference is that the modulators allow for small amounts of inflammation so that damage repair can still take place. In healthy cases of inflammation, the inflammatory response is turned off after the damage is repaired. In chronic inflammation the signal to turn off inflammation is not sent creating ongoing pain and inflammation. The homeopathic injection helps turn off this chronic inflammatory response while maintaining the repair of damaged tissue.

Shoulder treatments | Poor anatomy

Poor anatomy can set your shoulder up for problems from the start. You won't know you have anatomy that is prone to injury until a problem arises, however. The rotator cuff tendons wrap around the humerus from the back side of the shoulder to the front of the shoulder. As they do this they lace through the acromion process. In some people the amount of space available for the rotator cuff tendons to pass through is narrowed because of their acromion process. Imaging will reveal this poor anatomy and surgery is likely the only option although less invasive options should always be attempted first.  Holistic and naturopathic treatments like acupuncture, nutritional therapy to address the inflammation, and trigger point injections could help improve the narrowed space just enough to prevent the need for surgery.

Whether you shoulder problems are bursitis, impingement syndrome, weak tendons, tendinitis, or frozen shoulder a combination of holistic treatments like acupuncture, homeopathic injections and physical therapy should be used first as conservative therapy as they are less invasive and very effective shoulder treatments.

To learn more about our shoulder treatments or other naturopathic treatments, click on the link below for a free consultation.

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