What causes Shoulder Pain?
The shoulder is prone to injury due its structure and function. As a ball and socket joint, there is more mobility, therefore more chance for injury.
Key structures around the shoulder include the biceps tendon, and the rotator cuff muscles (the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Subscapularis) which help to move and stabilize the shoulder.
Some of the conditions I treat in my acupuncture clinic include:
These are all conditions that are more chronic in nature and illustrate a change in function of the shoulder joint. The shoulder just doesn’t work like it should.
Most of these conditions are the result of inflammation of the soft tissue structures of the shoulder girdle: the ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Frozen shoulder results when pain causes a lack of use, and the reduction in mobility ‘freezes’ the shoulder joint.
Shoulder Pain Treatments
Conventional treatment of shoulder pain includes: NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories), ice/heat, rest, physical therapy, cortisone injection and, in some cases, surgery.
Unfortunately, there are limitations with all of these options. Rest, ice/heat are the first line of defense but only provide temporary relief. NSAIDS should only be taken for about 10 days because they can have a negative impact on the stomach- potentially causing ulcers, bleeding, and GERD.
Cortisone injections reduce pain by reducing inflammation. They are not considered pain relievers. Cortisone injections may provide quick relief but the results are mixed. Repeated cortisone injections to the same area may weaken cartilage, ligament and tendons.
Acupuncture Treatment for Shoulder Pain
Acupuncture treatment focuses on reducing inflammation, improving blood flow and decreasing pain. Acupuncture excels at treating the chronic, nagging type injuries that don’t respond well to conventional treatment.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, pre-sterilized needles in various areas of the body to elicit a response. Acupuncture stimulates the release of the opiods (pain killing chemicals) as well as adenosine- a natural pain killer with anti-inflammatory properties.
Unlike a cortisone injection, which is given directly in the injured area, acupuncture needles do not have to be placed in an already injured area. By using a style of acupunture that focuses on distal treatments (ie-away from painful areas), we can achieve results without causing any additional discomfort.
Several studies have reported that acupuncture can successfully treat frozen shoulder. A new study compared the use of acupuncture (along with exercise) to exercise alone in a small group of frozen shoulder patients. The study, published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal, found that patients treated with acupuncture and exercise demonstrated “significantly greater improvement” on shoulder assessment tests than those using just exercise, and suggests that acupuncture could be useful in cases where more conventional therapies have been unsuccessful.
Acupuncture is a safe, natural, effective way to treat shoulder problems.
” I have regular treatments with Colette, acupuncture helps relax my neck and shoulders” H.S. Plumber, London
” i am so pleased i discovered Acupuncture, it has really helped my shoulder pain” M.S. Care worker, Hendon
Colette Assor LicAcMBAcC graduated in degree level TCM acupuncture in 1999 and has 16 years experience of successfully treating patients. Colette is a member of the British Acupuncture Council, the UK,s leading regulatory body of Acupuncturists in the UK. Colette practises from North West London physiotherapy Centre in Hendon and in her private practise in Finchley, N12.