The holidays often mean cleaning and decorating chores that can have a negative effect on our bodies. Not to mention sleeping on uncomfortable guest beds and the travel itself! Add in cold weather that hurts arthritic joints, and you have a recipe for a painful after-holiday body. If visions of shoulder pain dance in your head while trying to sleep, contact your local chiropractor. Dr. George Olar and Dr. Stefanie Olar, who own 360 Chiropractic in Lacey, talk about shoulder injuries and how they can help relieve the pain so you can live a more comfortable life.

3D illustration, shoulder painful skeleton x-ray, medical concept.
If you have shoulder pain, a chiropractor may be able to help relieve the pain so you can live a better life. Photo courtesy: 360 Chiropractic

Acute and Chronic Shoulder Injury Help in Lacey

“We see many kinds of shoulder injuries this time of year,” shares Dr. George Olar “Raking leaves that never seem to end, holiday decorations, shopping and carrying gifts or boxes of food in from the grocery store, cooking, cleaning, traveling to see our loved ones and sleeping arrangements that the shoulder isn’t used to, can all predispose the shoulder to injury.”

“The cold damp weather doesn’t help if you have arthritis too,” adds. Dr. Stefanie.

Shoulder injuries can be acute, from traumas such as falls, sudden overloads, or motor vehicle accidents. Or chronic, building up from everyday things including occupational overuse or misuse, such as poor ergonomics or poor postures. “All can cause degenerative changes,” shares Dr. Stefanie, “and referred pain to the shoulder can come from cervical disc lesions or other underlining medical conditions.”

The four joints in the shoulder – the sternoclavicular (SC), acromioclavicular (AC), and scapulothoracic joints, and glenohumeral joint – are not supported by bone. “What I think makes the joint unique is that there is no bone propping the shoulder up, it is all done by soft tissue,” explains Dr. George. That also makes it easy to injure. The shoulder girdle is composed of the clavicle and the scapula, which move with the proximal humerus of the upper limb. The largest joint is the glenohumeral joint, which is known as the ball and socket joint. It relies on those soft tissues and ligaments to stay in place and pain-free.

Something as simple as lifting a heaving bag of groceries wrong or stretching up to hang a string of lights can cause a shoulder to seize up. A fall from a ladder while trimming the tree can cause that joint to pop out of place. That rock-hard bed at the motel can even be too much. It doesn’t take much!

Common Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder joints can be strained, sprained and dislocated. Dr. George explains that the shoulder joint is one of the most injured in the body due to the shallowness of the glenoid fossa that holds the two connecting bones together.

“Muscles of the joint are responsible for preserving the anatomical and functional integrity of the joint,” explains Dr. Stefanie. “The most common muscles injured in the shoulder are the rotator cuff muscles, most specifically the supraspinatus being number one.”

Rotator Cuff

Many of us are familiar with a rotator cuff injury. That big glenohumeral joint can become unstable due to chronic or acute misuse of the rotator cuff. “Rotator cuff tendons are wide and flat, so are subject to degenerative changes caused by compression during work involving high resistance,” shares Dr. George.

These soft tissue injuries have a big effect on stability and mobility – including reduced or altered range of motion – not to mention the pain! Things as simple as getting dressed, driving, cooking or cleaning can not only cause an injury, but can make it worse if you continue to do these things without treatment.
“95% of the time the shoulder is drooping down and towards the sternum, causing limited usability and tight/spastic pectoral muscles,” explains Dr. George.

illustration showing shoulder on a person and  skeleton.
When the inflamed joint capsule fills with a fluid rich in protein, frozen shoulder syndrome can occur, causing the shoulder to become fixated. Photo courtesy: 360 Chiropractic

Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

When the inflamed joint capsule fills with a fluid rich in protein, frozen shoulder syndrome can occur, causing the shoulder to become fixated. Affected joints can include the acromioclavicular, scapulothoracic bursitis, and second rib fixation. “A deep pain will occur with any abduction or rotation,” explains Dr. Stefanie. “Activities like raising the arm above the shoulder level will cause pain.”

Subacromial Bursitis

Another common shoulder complaint is subacromial bursitis, where you have loss of muscle tone, coordination and stability in the shoulder. The soft tissues degrade and lead to misalignment and impingement. Chronic and repetitive injuries can cause this, as well as an acute injury to the rotator cuff.

Myofascial Pain Disorder

With myofascial pain disorder, pain occurs at trigger points. “Pain becomes over-amplified and trigger points develop in the bellies and at the musculotendinous junctions of hypertonic muscles,” shares Dr. George.

It can cause an unnatural position or movement to the shoulder area, such as keeping the shoulder high or your head tilted. “Increases in hypertonicity are also associated with myofascial pain disorder, which can be a cascading effect with areas around the neck, upper back (Trapezius muscle), and chest (Pectoralis muscles),” shares Dr. Stefanie.

360 Chiropractic in Lacey Has Help for Shoulder Pain

No one wants to live in pain. Maybe you went to the ER, had tests and followed their orders, but still have lingering issues. Often this happens because our body is interconnected, and that shoulder injury probably caused other parts of your body to become misaligned. That’s where 360 Chiropractic’s expertise comes in. “We test for misalignments in the shoulders, upper back (thoracic spine and ribs), and neck (cervical spine region),” shares Dr. George. “And then an individualized treatment plan is recommended. Adjustments help make sure the nervous system can communicate with the muscles that stabilize the shoulder, and that there is no interference in that communication.”

woman sitting in a chair getting cold laser treatment on her shoulder
360 Chiropractic in Lacey offers Low Level Laser Therapy. This painless treatment can help relieve shoulder or other body pain. Photo courtesy: 360 Chiropractic

With a belief in treating the whole body through multiple facets, Drs. Stefanie and George also have cold laser (Low Level Laser Therapy), massage therapy, yoga and natural supplements in their arsenal to help you feel your best. “We have FDA-approved protocols with Low-Level Laser Therapy to treat frozen shoulder syndrome and other shoulder ailments,” shares Dr. Stefanie. “With advanced testing with cold laser therapy, we can make sure that the rotator cuff muscles are working at optimal levels, which will increase range of motion, increase joint stability and strength, and inhibit prolonged inflammation.”

“Massage therapy also helps to decrease hypertonic muscles, and trigger points to accelerate healing,” adds Dr. George. Gloria Burkenbine is 360 Chiropractic’s massage therapist who specializes in headache, back, shoulder and neck pain, along with motor vehicle injury treatment.

To join their new patient waitlist, call 360 Chiropractic today at 360.923.0360. Visit the 360 Chiropractic website for more information.

360 Chiropractic
5101 Lacey Boulevard SE, Lacey


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