Your arm connects to your torso through the shoulder, a complex structure
comprising of four joints and many different soft tissue components. The
shoulder allows for the wide range of motion possible for the arm through the
coordination of these four joints and multiple muscles. The shoulder joint
itself, known as the glenohumeral joint, is fairly unstable because the arm
bone lies in a shallow socket, and is attached at this joint exclusively by
soft tissue. This allows for the huge range of motion of the arm, but also
makes the shoulder prone to acute and overuse injuries.
Common shoulder injuries include rotator cuff or the biceps tendonitis,
impingement within the shoulder joint, tendon tears or ruptures, bursitis,
degenerative changes in the bone tissue, separation of a joint, and muscle
strains. The shoulder can be injured by an impact to the arm or shoulder,
repetitive motion and over use, over training, or an accident that pushes the
arm out of the normal range of motion for the shoulder.
When someone comes to me for acupuncture for their shoulder pain, we do a
comprehensive health history assessment and orthopedic physical exam. In my
exam, I am testing the shoulder to determine how it moves (or doesn’t move) and
what activities or movements replicates the pain. This helps me determine what
aspects of the shoulder are injured.
To treat shoulder injuries, I do a combination of acupuncture needling, trigger point needling, and motor point needling. All of these needling techniques effectively target the injured or affected shoulder tissues. Sometimes I will apply electro-stim to targeted areas of the shoulder. I use a combination of Gua sha and cupping as appropriate. Sometimes topical plasters or herbs are applied with heat. The combined effect of needling, gua sha, cupping, and herbal therapy
We coordinate care with physical therapists, massage therapists, and chiropractors. All of these providers bring a different set of tools for treating the shoulder and these modalities are an excellent complement to acupuncture. Some shoulder injuries do require surgical interventions, and as needed we will refer out to orthopedic physicians.
If you are experiencing pain or limited mobility in your shoulder, don’t
wait! Contact All and One Acupuncture for a shoulder treatment today.