The term “rotator cuff” refers to a group of four tendons that attach from the shoulder muscle to the upper arm bone.
There are degrees of injury to the rotator cuff. Sometimes there is a complete tear. When this happens, the entire tendon is severed from the bone. This cannot be treated with chiropractic. The tendon attachment must be surgically repaired.
The majority of rotator cuff injuries are partial tears or fraying of the rotator cuff. These are best treated with chiropractic.
The approach we take in our office is to first properly examine the patient and make sure they are a candidate for conservative care and not surgery. We take a two pronged approach to care. We treat the rotator cuff with procedures that increase it’s circulation, induce the body to remodel any scar tissue there, and realign the connective tissue fibers of the rotator cuff. We also direct our efforts to the underlying causes of the condition which are two: spinal subluxation and poor posture.
A spinal subluxation is a malpositioned or improperly moving vertebra. The vertebra either excites or compresses a nerve that exits the spine near it and causes pain, muscle imbalance, or disease.
Chiropractic adjustments are high velocity (very fast) low force thrusts to a joint. They are done by hand or with an instrument. Adjustments restore the proper motion and position to the vertebra which removes irritation to the nervous system and restores balance to the muscles and health to the organs.
Medical doctors and physical therapists are not taught to diagnose or treat spinal subluxations. Very often this is the missing link in the patient’s past care. Every patient with a rotator cuff injury (in 30 years of practice) we have seen, either has a subluxation in their neck or upper back. These areas have nerves which control the muscles of the rotator cuff and give them their normal tone. By resolving these subluxations, in addition to treating the injury itself at the shoulder, we help many people who have been to physical therapy and not gotten better. We have even helped cases that were scheduled for surgery. There was even one case where I told the patient I could not help him and sent him for a surgical consultation. He talked with the doctor, refused the surgery and said he wanted to try to get better with us. This man made a full recovery.
Very often a patient feels a difference in their shoulder right after their first treatment. We also address the other underlying cause of rotator cuff problems which is people’s posture. Too often in our society, people’s shoulders round forward. This puts a tremendous strain on the rotator cuff attachment which makes it vulnerable to injury. By adjusting subluxations and giving patients corrective postural exercises, we help the vast majority of patients we see with rotator cuff injuries.