Chronic Shoulder Pain – A Case Study

Condition: Chronic Shoulder Pain

Symptoms: A 27 year old male small business owner presents with frequent sharp pain in the front and top portion of his left shoulder. This pain has been present for the last 3 months, and he rates this as an 8 out of 10 on the pain scale. He attributes this to a possible injury from working out using heavy weights multiple times a week. He states that he notices this pain when doing specific exercises such as pushups, bench presses, dips, and all overhead motions. When the pain happens, he reports that it is brief, but intense. He also reports that he is unable to sleep on his left shoulder at night because of the discomfort. This pain has made him stop working out completely for 3 weeks. In the past few months, he has been stretching his trapezius muscles, and using light exercise bands in an attempt to strengthen his smaller supporting muscles to reduce pain. He has seen some results, however little.

Findings: It is noted that this patient has been working out 5 days a week for about a year. He has a history of competitive sports, but this is the first episode of shoulder pain. During examination, it was found that he presented with postural abnormalities such as forward head, both shoulders rolled forward, left rib cage rotation, a slight right shift in his middle back causing his left shoulder to appear higher and his head tilted to the right. On his left side, it was also noted that his collar bone had a decreased range of motion. Muscle testing in the arm muscles revealed weakness in his left biceps and wrist extension muscles. On his right arm, muscle weakness was found in his biceps and triceps. When performing muscle testing on his left biceps and deltoid, these actions re-created the painful symptom in the left shoulder. These muscles work to perform activities such as lifting, carrying, and holding. Weakness in these muscles can cause compensations in nearby joints such as the shoulder. It was also found that there were misalignments in the spine at his 2nd, 4th, and 8th thoracic vertebrae (middle back). With these misalignments in conjunction with the postural abnormalities, rib cage shift, abnormal muscle firing can lead to improper biomechanics, compensations, tight muscles, and increased discomfort in surrounding joints.

Treatment: He began Chiropractic treatments to realign the bones in his spine, ribs, shoulder, and collar bone 2 times a week in conjunction with 1 sound wave therapy treatment a week for 6 weeks. Specific Chiropractic adjustments using quick, short thrusts with the hands and a Chiropractic drop table in the opposite direction of the misalignment was utilized to restore proper biomechanics to the extremities and spine. The sound wave technology is used to break up scar tissue at the cellular level and promote soft tissue healing. Along with the Chiropractic and sound wave treatments, muscle work to the shoulder girdle, muscles surrounding the neck and rib cage was also performed in order to break up scar tissue. Breaking up scar tissue aids in releasing short, tight muscles to restore proper biomechanics so the body will not continue in compensation patterns. After completing 10 Chiropractic visits and 5 sound wave treatments, he reported that his shoulder “felt awesome” and began to lift overhead again. He continues periodic care to maintain his results and further his healing process.


Does this sound familiar? Want to find out more about how Integrative Wellness Group can help? Call us at (732) 359-8263 to set up a free 15 minute consultation to learn more about sound wave therapy and full body chiropractic!