Health Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Can a Chiropractor Help With My Shoulder Pain?

Explore the effectiveness of chiropractic care for shoulder pain, including treatment methods and FAQs. Get insights for relief at Cavanaugh Chiropractic.
Can a chiropractor help with shoulder pain

Can a Chiropractor Help With Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain is a widespread issue, affecting people of all ages and walks of life. Whether it’s due to overuse, injury, or age-related wear and tear, the complexity of the shoulder joint makes it particularly vulnerable to a range of problems. As a key pivot point for many of our daily activities, from lifting groceries to swinging a tennis racket, it’s no wonder that shoulder issues rank among the most frequently reported musculoskeletal complaints.

In addressing this prevalent concern, many wonder about the role of chiropractic care. Can chiropractors work on shoulders? The answer is a resounding yes!

Contrary to the common belief that chiropractors only focus on the spine, their expertise extends far beyond. In fact, chiropractors are well-equipped to diagnose, treat, and help prevent a wide array of shoulder problems. Utilizing a blend of manual therapy, targeted exercises, and holistic care, they offer a non-invasive and effective approach to shoulder health. In this post, we’ll dive into the intricacies of shoulder anatomy, explore various chiropractic treatments for shoulder pain, and share real-life success stories that highlight the benefits of this often-overlooked option for shoulder care.

What does the Shoulder joint consist of?

The shoulder is one of the most complex and mobile joints in the human body, thanks to its intricate anatomy. It consists of three main bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). These bones form two main joints: the acromioclavicular joint (where the clavicle meets the scapula) and the glenohumeral joint (where the head of the humerus fits into a rounded socket in the scapula).

Surrounding these bones is a network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that provide stability and mobility. The most notable are the rotator cuff muscles and tendons, which encompass the shoulder joint, allowing for a wide range of motion while also keeping the arm bone centered in the shoulder socket. Other important muscles include the deltoids, trapezius, and biceps, which assist in various movements and support.

Ligaments in the shoulder connect the bones and help stabilize the joint. The joint capsule, a thick tissue, envelops the glenohumeral joint, further adding to its stability.

This anatomy allows the shoulder an impressive range of motion, including flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and internal and external rotation. However, this mobility comes at a cost. The shoulder’s complexity and reliance on muscular and ligamentous support rather than bony congruence make it susceptible to injuries and conditions like a shoulder dislocation, rotator cuff injuries, shoulder bursitis, tendinitis, and other shoulder conditions.

Furthermore, due to its wide range of movement, the shoulder is often subject to overuse, especially in activities that involve repetitive or overhead motions. This can lead to wear and tear over time, resulting in various forms of shoulder injury and dysfunction.

How Does a Chiropractor Treat Shoulder Pain

Chiropractic Adjustments:

Chiropractors will perform a history and physical exam to determine your initial pain. They will use adjustments to restore joint function and reduce pain. In the context of shoulder pain, these adjustments can realign the shoulder joint, improve mobility, and alleviate discomfort. By correcting misalignments, chiropractic adjustments help to relieve pressure on nerves and muscles around the shoulder, which can be a source of pain.

Massage Therapy or Myofascial Release:

Massage therapy and Myofascial release are integral parts of chiropractic care for shoulder pain. It involves manipulating the soft tissues around the shoulder to decrease pain, improve circulation, and loosen tight connective tissues. Massage and/or Myofascial release can be particularly beneficial for those with tight muscles or chronic pain, helping to relax the muscles, treat pain, decrease stiffness, and reduce inflammation.

Soft Tissue Techniques: Gua Sha and Graston:

These techniques involve using specialized tools to gently scrape or rub the skin over a painful area. Gua Sha and Graston are used to break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions, promote blood flow, and reduce inflammation in the shoulder area. They are often effective in treating conditions like tendinitis or muscle strains.

Dry Needling:

Dry needling targets trigger points or tight muscles with thin, sterile needles. This stimulates the tissue, relieves muscle tension, and can relieve pain in the shoulder joint. It’s particularly effective for chronic shoulder pain, improving range of motion and reducing muscle tightness.


Cupping therapy involves placing cups on the skin to create suction, which can help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, and relaxation. It’s beneficial for shoulder pain as it helps to increase circulation and promote healing in the affected area.

Other Techniques: Exercises and Postural Advice:

Chiropractors also provide exercises tailored to strengthen and stabilize the shoulder joint, improving its function and reducing the risk of future injuries. Additionally, they offer postural advice to prevent shoulder pain and relieve pain, especially for those whose pain is related to poor posture or ergonomics in daily activities or work environments.

Frequently Asked Questions About about Treating Shoulder Pain

Q: Is it safe for chiropractors to treat shoulder pain? A: Yes, chiropractic care is generally considered safe for treating shoulder pain. Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions, including those affecting the shoulder. They use non-invasive techniques tailored to each individual’s needs.

Q: How quickly can I expect relief from shoulder pain with chiropractic treatment? A: The timeline for chiropractors to relieve shoulder pain varies depending on the individual’s condition and response to treatment. Some patients may experience relief after just a few sessions, while others with more complex issues might need longer-term treatment plans.

Q: Can chiropractic care help with all types of shoulder pain? A: Chiropractic care can be effective for many types of shoulder pain, including pain from injuries, overuse, arthritis, and muscle strains. However, it’s important to have a proper diagnosis first, as some conditions may require medical intervention or a different type of treatment.

Q: Will I need to continue chiropractic treatment indefinitely for shoulder pain? A: Not necessarily. The goal of chiropractic care is to treat the underlying cause of shoulder pain and improve overall shoulder function. Once your shoulder health improves, your chiropractor will work with you to develop a maintenance plan, which might include periodic check-ups or exercises to do at home.

Q: Are there any exercises I can do at home to complement chiropractic treatment for shoulder pain? A: Yes, chiropractors often recommend specific exercises to strengthen and stabilize the shoulder muscles. These exercises are tailored to your condition and are an important part of the recovery and prevention process.

Q: How does chiropractic care for shoulder pain differ from traditional medical treatment? A: Chiropractic care focuses on holistic, non-invasive treatment methods such as adjustments, manual therapy, and rehabilitative exercises, rather than medication or surgery. This approach aims to address the root cause of pain and promote long-term musculoskeletal health.

Female tennis player on the court touching her shoulder in pain, with a concerned expression, while her partner is in the background preparing for a serve

Can a Chiropractor Help With Shoulder Pain? Yes!

Chiropractic care offers a valuable and effective approach for those suffering from shoulder pain. With a focus on holistic, non-invasive treatments, chiropractors can address a wide range of shoulder issues, from acute injuries to chronic conditions. Techniques like chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, soft tissue techniques such as Gua Sha and Graston, dry needling, cupping, and rehabilitative exercises play a crucial role in not only alleviating pain but also in improving overall shoulder function and health.

The versatility of chiropractic care in treating shoulder pain lies in its personalized approach. Each treatment plan is tailored to the individual’s specific needs, ensuring a comprehensive strategy for pain relief and long-term wellness. Moreover, chiropractors provide valuable guidance on exercises and lifestyle changes, empowering patients to take an active role in their recovery and shoulder health maintenance.

For those struggling with shoulder pain, considering chiropractic care as a treatment option is a wise step. Not only does it offer immediate relief in many cases, but it also equips individuals with the tools and knowledge to prevent future injuries and maintain optimal shoulder health. Remember, it’s essential to consult with a qualified chiropractor who can accurately diagnose your condition and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Take the First Step Towards Relief from Shoulder Pain

Are you struggling with shoulder pain and looking for a solution? Don’t let pain hold you back any longer. At Cavanaugh Chiropractic, we specialize in providing effective, personalized chiropractic care to alleviate your shoulder discomfort and improve your overall quality of life.

If you’re in Lafayette, LA, and suffering from shoulder pain, we invite you to give us a call at (337) 984-5852. Our experienced team is ready to help you on your journey to better health and pain-free living.

For more information about how we can assist with shoulder pain in Lafayette, LA, contact us and let us be your partner in achieving better health and well-being!

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About Cavanaugh Chiropractic

With over 50 years of experience, Michael and his son, Dr. Matthew Cavanaugh are glad to offer their experience in treating patients with back pain and neck pain throughout the Acadiana area.

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