Pain in the shoulder and upper extremities is common and can be due to either single or multiple pathological processes. The head, neck, and upper arms, all highly mobile, are regularly involved in complex movements. These structures are subjected to heavy weight-bearing and strong physical forces which lead to injury and extremity pain. Many disorders of the shoulder joint respond well to our treatments.
The shallow ball-and-socket (glenohumeral) joint is held stable by a group of tendons that become part of the capsule known as the rotator cuff. Wear of any rotator cuff component can create micro-tears and inflammation. The bursae help cushion the tendon from the bone. This fluid-filled space can become inflamed, leading to pain and limitation of motion in a non-capsular pattern. Most injuries are ligament and soft tissue. History and exam often give a precise diagnosis.
Chinese medicine perspective tells us that many shoulder pathologies come from disharmony and deficiency. So treatment is based on both a physical exam and a Chinese medicine diagnosis. Treatment may be local or distal and may include ear points. Electro-acupuncture, cupping, or manual therapy may be used based on progress.