One of the most common things that this Comox Valley Chiropractor sees in my practice is rotator cuff tendonitis. I’ll treat at least 2-3 per day, sometimes as a primary complaint but usually as an add-on to other complaints. Most often, the problem with be chronic and will have been around for many months. Most people believe that since the pain is not too bad, it will go away on its own. Sadly, it often doesn’t, but progressively gets worse as time goes on.

The rotator cuff of your shoulder is a group of small muscles which help to co-ordinate the movement of your arm bone in your shoulder socket. When they aren’t functioning properly, the head of the arm bone doesn’t rotate smoothly in the socket and you will get clicking, clunking and pinching of the tendon of one of the muscles. This will result in pain with certain arm movements such as lifting it up to the side, putting on your coat or opening the door. Often it will be accompanied by night pain, resulting from sleeping on the sore side.

Rotator cuff problems are fairly straightforward to diagnose with a proper orthopedic examination. Once diagnosed, the goal of therapy should be to restore proper functioning of the rotator cuff and the shoulder joint. In our Comox Valley Chiropractic office, this entails active release therapy for the muscles, joint mobilization and manipulation, kinesiotaping and many home stretching and strengthening exercises. Once the shoulder has regained a full and painless range of motion, it is imperative that the muscles are strengthened in order to prevent the problem from coming back.

Another option which works well, especially for chronic and stubborn cases, is low intensity laser therapy. Although current research has variable results, I have had great success with laser therapy in my practice. Once specific case involved complete resolution of left-sided shoulder pain in two treatments, and no further recurrence in the last 6 months. What makes this case more remarkable is that the patient had previously had rotator cuff surgery on the other shoulder, and was slated to follow the same course for the left side.

The most important thing to remember about rotator cuff problems is that the sooner they are diagnosed and treated, the faster they get better. Leaving a rotator cuff for too long can make recovery a longer process, and can increase your chances of developing frozen shoulder syndrome which has a recovery time measured in years. If you have any questions about rotator cuff pain, feel free to contact your Comox Valley Chiropractor.