Irvine Spine and Sport
1110 Roosevelt, Suite 130, Irvine, CA 92620
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Addressing the scar-tissue adhesions (the “stickiness”) underneath the shoulder blade is the only effective long-term solution for returning coordination back to the shoulder rhythm.

Shoulder Pain Related to Disrupted Shoulder Rhythm

The shoulder is a complex structure made up of 4 different joints and over a dozen separate muscles that must all work together perfectly. This section will discuss one of the more common sources of shoulder pain – a breakdown in the “teamwork” of these joints and muscles.

Every time you raise an arm over your head a series of specific actions must take place in the correct order and with perfect timing. This coordinated motion of all the joints and muscles is called “scapulo-humeral rhythm” – scapulo refers to the shoulder blade (scapula) and humeral refers to the large bone of the arm (humerus).

Dysfunction of the shoulder’s healthy rhythm can create many different symptoms and problems. These include:

  • Achy pain between the shoulder blades
  • Sharp pain at the “point” of the shoulder
  • Numbness, tingling or sharp pain down the arms – see Rotator Cuff Impingement
  • Chronic inflammation of the shoulder capsule – see Adhesive Capsulitis
  • Nearly complete loss of shoulder motion – see Frozen Shoulder

A common problem associated with poor shoulder rhythm is a “sticking” of the shoulder blade to the rib cage beneath. This can be caused by many everyday activities. These activities include traumatic events (e.g. fall on an outstretched arm, “yanking” of the arm), repetitive motions (e.g. throwing a ball, weightlifting, swimming) and chronic, improper postures (e.g. operating a computer, driving).

When the shoulder blade is no longer participating in the team effort to move the arm, increased strain is placed on the other joints and muscles forcing them to become overworked, inflamed and painful. Therefore, treating the area of pain will likely produce lackluster results. Addressing the scar-tissue adhesions (the “stickiness”) underneath the shoulder blade is the only effective long-term solution for returning coordination back to the shoulder rhythm.

Treatment for Disrupted Shoulder Rhythm

Restoring the shoulder rhythm requires a combined approach that addresses both the joint mechanics AND the muscles that support joint function. Joint mechanics are best addressed with corrective chiropractic adjustments. Active Release muscle therapy is effective at reducing the scar-tissue “stickiness” underneath the shoulder blade and restoring balance to the muscles involved in shoulder movement and support.

Dr. Ken Erickson can identify the proper areas involved and provide the necessary treatment based on your specific needs.

(Note: Don’t settle for a meaningless diagnosis. A diagnosis with –itis on the end indicates inflammation, but not the CAUSE. Correcting the cause is the only sound, long-term approach to treating any condition. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – the doctor is there to serve you and not the other way around!)

A thorough examination should determine which of the following structures would need to be treated:

  • The Joints of the Shoulder
  • Sternoclavicular Joint
  • Acromioclavicular Joint
  • Glenohumeral Joint
  • Scapulothoracic Joint
  • The Muscles of the Shoulder
  • Rotator Cuff Muscles (four in total)
  • Serratus Anterior
  • Pectoralis Major and Minor
  • Rhomboids
  • Levator Scapulae
  • Deltoids
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Biceps
  • Triceps

“Chiropractic adjustment” describes hundreds of ways of using carefully directed and controlled pressure to restore joints to normal motion and position. It also alleviates strain on surrounding muscles that are overworked in their efforts to compensate for joint dysfunction.

Active Release is a patented, state-of-the-art soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, fascia and nerves) treatment system that was designed specifically to restore function to dysfunctional muscles – often by “breaking up” scar-tissue. The Active Release doctor uses precisely applied tension in combination with specific patient movements. Patients often notice improvement in their levels of pain, flexibility and strength within seconds following the treatment.

Contact Dr. Ken Erickson at (949) 857-1888 to arrange a free consultation on the phone or in person.