The True Cause of Most People’s Shoulder Pain

As many as 25% of Americans suffer from shoulder pain, which makes it one of the most common types of pain. Because arm and shoulder movements are involved in so many aspects of our work and our daily lives, pain and restriction of movement of the shoulder can really have a serious impact. We may not be able to carry out the functions of our jobs. We can’t pick up our kids or grandkids if our shoulders hurt. We may not even be able to make the bed or groom ourselves without pain.

That’s why I work hard to help my patients recover from shoulder pain. When a patient tells me they are suffering from shoulder pain, I will start listening to exactly what they say and ask them questions about how it feels. I might ask “Is it a deep ache in your arm?” and many will say that yes, that actually describes it. They tell me it’s an ache deep down into the bone.

The other situation that might show up is a frozen shoulder. When I ask a few questions about that problem, the patient might tell me that the pain goes right back up to their neck.

In both cases, I find that the source of the problem is a pinched nerve in their necks. That’s a problem that chiropractic is great at resolving.


Why a Pinched Nerve in the Neck Can Result in Shoulder Pain

This shoulder pain develops when the nerve in the neck has been pinched for so long that an abnormal mobility of the shoulder has developed. The muscles in the shoulder have started to freeze up. They’ve lost their normal tone and so they lose their normal ability to move the shoulder. That situation cascades into further damage.

Once the shoulder loses its ability to move normally, the neck begins to be stressed in abnormal ways. There can be a problem of muscle atrophy when this problem has existed for years. First the neck hurt, then the shoulder muscle atrophied and now there’s a frozen shoulder. But the problem started in the neck.

By this time, a person may be suffering from signs like these:

  • Decreased range of motion in the neck
  • Inability to reach backwards
  • Inability to reach overhead
  • Popping or clicking in the shoulder
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness


Could the Shoulder Pain Be from a Rotator Cuff Injury?

Many patients with shoulder pain will ask me if they have torn their rotator cuffs, the group of muscles that surrounds the shoulder joint. Athletes in sports that require overhand moves like baseball, tennis, basketball, golf, and swimming often suffer rotator cuff injuries that require surgical repair. So of course my patients are concerned that they might need surgery when they have shoulder pain or a frozen shoulder.

In so many of these cases, we are able to restore their full range of movement and relieve their pain with chiropractic care. When the nerves in the neck are no longer pinched, many patients recover the ability to move their arms and shoulders normally and they can then regain strength in those muscles. It’s wonderful to see how relieved they are when they realize that no surgery is needed.


Chiropractic and Pressure Point Therapy Are Great for Shoulder Pain

We often assist our patients’ recovery by adding Pressure Point Therapy to chiropractic. This therapy targets tight, painful knots embedded in the muscles that block the flow of nerves in the area. With just the right pressure on that spot, we can restore the correct nerve flow, relax the muscles and relieve the pain. I am the only chiropractor in the Greater St. Louis area to offer this therapy.

Come try out a complimentary Pressure Point Therapy session for shoulder pain or any pain. Give my office a call at 314-310-8359 to schedule a time to experience the relief.


About Dr. Dustan Mattingly: Dr. Dusty discovered chiropractic after it helped him recover from an injury he suffered while in the military. Chiropractic eliminated his neck pain, sparing him the ill effects of painkillers and surgery. He graduated from the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa and then went on to study additional chiropractic techniques, the specialized treatment of sports and accident injuries and nutrition. He also mastered the art of Pressure Point Therapy to improve patients’ response to treatment. With this specialized technique, he found he could provide increased relief from pain and muscle dysfunction and help a patient recover more quickly from the effects of stress or injuries.

By Dustan Mattingly, December 25, 2023