Shoulder Pain/Rotator Cuff Symptoms And Natural Treatments

It's so easy to take the shoulder for granted, especially if it works fine for you.  But the second, you injure your shoulder or rotator cuff, the pain and movement restrictions can cause havoc on your day to day activities such as getting dressed, taking a shower, sleeping comfortably or even brushing your teeth.  A shoulder problem, like frozen shoulder or a rotator cuff tear can make even the smallest arm or shoulder movement painful.

Interestingly, our shoulders are part of an intricate web of bones, joints, connective tissues, nerves and of course muscles that give the proper support to function normally.  The four muscles (called the SITS muscles) comprising the rotator cuff are the Supraspinatus mm, Infraspinatus mm., Teres Minor mm., and Subscapularis mm..  It's believed by shoulder experts, that our upper extremity can get into about 1,600 positions within a 3 dimensional space around the shoulder joint.  With a normal functioning shoulder, complicated activities like swimming, lifting weights, and throwing a ball seem easy. (1)

Shoulder/Rotator Cuff Pain Causes

  • Subacromial bursitis occurs when the bursa, small sac of fluid, is inflamed.  This bursa cushions the rotator cuff tendons from an adjacent bone called the acromion. (2)
  • Rotator cuff tear happen when the tendons tear.
  • Rotator cuff impingement is when the tendons are compressed between two bones, the acromion and the humerus
  • Frozen shoulder occurs when the humerus sticks or adheres to the shoulder blade causing acute pain and stiffness.

Symptoms of Shoulder Pain

  • Weakness when rotating or lifting your arm
  • Neck and Shoulder Pain when turning head
  • Pain when at night especially if lying on the injured shoulder
  • Restricted shoulder motion

Shoulder Pain/Rotator Cuff Stretches

1.  Neck Release – Sit up straight then slowly, gently bring your chin toward your chest until you feel the stretch in the back of your neck. Try leaning your head to the left to stretch your right shoulder or leaning your head to the right to stretch your left shoulder. Hold the stretches up to 20 seconds in each direction, breathing deeply as you concentrate on relaxing. Repeat 1-2 times.  The exhale of breathing is where you want to gently press into stretch but always listen to your body.  If anything feels tender or painful, stop immediately.

2.  Arm Across-Chest Stretch – Hold your right hand out in front of you, keeping it next to your waist. Reach your left hand behind your elbow, pulling your right arm to the left and across your chest. If you feel pain in your shoulder, release or lower your arm until the pain subsides. The goal is to be able to pull your right arm across your chest without feeling any pain. Hold for 10-20 seconds then relax and repeat with your left arm. Repeat 1-2 times.  Sometimes using a mirror can be helpful to maintain good form.

Natural Shoulder Pain Treatments 

  • Pragle Chiropractic And Massage Therapy offers gentle treatments of shoulder or rotator cuff injuries or shoulder pain with the AO Treatment plus medical massage therapy.  
  • Medical Massage Therapy is effective for releasing adhesions in the neck and shoulders while promoting healing and relaxation.  Massage is a great way to improve the range of motion for the shoulder.