Can A Chiropractor Help with Shoulder Popping?

Can A Chiropractor Help with Shoulder Popping

If you’re someone who frequently experiences a popping or clicking sensation in the shoulder, you might be wondering if it’s a cause for concern. While this symptom can feel alarming, it’s relatively common and doesn’t always indicate a severe problem. However, in some cases, it can be a sign of underlying issues that need professional attention. But, can a chiropractor help with shoulder popping? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the phenomenon of shoulder popping, its potential causes, and how chiropractic care can assist in managing and potentially alleviating this condition.

What Causes Shoulder Popping?

Shoulder popping, also known as crepitus, refers to a clicking, grinding, or snapping sensation that occurs in the shoulder joint. It can be experienced both audibly and physically, with some individuals feeling a popping sensation when moving their arms. This condition can occur in one or both shoulders and is often associated with shoulder blade pain or discomfort.

What Causes Shoulder Popping

The shoulder is a complicated joint with bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. If any of these parts get hurt or don’t work right, it can make your shoulder pop.

Some common causes include:

  • Rotator cuff injuries: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help stabilize the shoulder joint. Injuries to this area can cause shoulder popping, along with other symptoms such as weakness and pain.
  • Bursitis: Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that help cushion the joint. When these become inflamed, it can lead to crepitus in the shoulder.
  • Osteoarthritis: Arthritis in the shoulder can affect the cartilage in the shoulder joint, leading to friction and popping sounds.
  • Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder can cause a clicking sensation when moving the arm.

Can A Chiropractor Help with Shoulder Popping?

Yes, a chiropractor can indeed help with shoulder popping. They utilize a variety of techniques, such as adjustments, manipulations, and physical therapy exercises to address the underlying causes of this condition. These treatments can improve the alignment and function of the shoulder joint, reducing inflammation, increasing mobility, and easing discomfort.

Moreover, a shoulder adjustment chiropractor can provide specific exercises and stretches for patients to perform at home, further assisting in the healing process. Every treatment plan is individualized to cater to the patient’s specific condition and needs. Therefore, if you’re experiencing persistent shoulder popping, it may be beneficial to consult a chiropractor.

How Can a Chiropractor Help with Shoulder Popping?

chiropractor helping patient with shoulder popping

A chiropractor will first perform a thorough examination to determine the root cause of your shoulder popping. This examination may involve utilizing diagnostic tools such as X-rays to gain a thorough understanding of your condition. Once the underlying issue is identified, they will develop a personalized treatment plan that may include the following:

Spinal Adjustments for Improving Shoulder Mechanics

Chiropractors use spinal adjustments to correct misalignments in the spine, which can impact the function of the nervous system and subsequently, the shoulder mechanics.

The technique involves chiropractor pressure point therapy, which helps to improve their range of motion and reduce pain or discomfort.

These spinal adjustments can help increase the communication between the brain and the rest of the body, thereby improving overall body function, including the shoulder’s mechanics.

Soft Tissue Techniques for Pain Relief and Improved Range of Motion

Chiropractors employ a variety of soft tissue techniques to alleviate pain and enhance the range of motion in patients. These techniques target the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in and around the shoulder joint, which often contribute to the popping sensation.

Techniques such as Active Release Therapy (ART) and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) can be used to break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions, promoting better mobility and reducing pain and inflammation.

Corrective Exercises to Strengthen Supporting Muscles

Along with spinal adjustments and soft tissue techniques, chiropractors often prescribe specific corrective exercises for patients to perform at home. These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles that support and stabilize the shoulder joint.

Strong and efficient muscles can help reduce the frequency of shoulder popping by ensuring the joint functions correctly. In addition, these exercises can help improve flexibility, further reducing the risk of future injuries and discomfort.

Benefits of Seeing a Chiropractor for Shoulder Popping

Chiropractic care offers a myriad of benefits for those experiencing shoulder popping:

  1. Non-Invasive: One of the major benefits of seeing a chiropractor for shoulder popping is that the methods used are non-invasive, reducing the risk of complications associated with surgery.
  2. Effective Pain Management: Chiropractors can help manage and reduce pain associated with shoulder popping. Through spinal adjustments and soft tissue techniques, they can alleviate discomfort and enhance mobility.
  3. Personalized Care: Chiropractic treatment plans are tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient, ensuring a more effective and targeted treatment.
  4. Cost-Effective: When compared to surgeries and lengthy physical therapy sessions, chiropractor costs can be significantly lower, providing an affordable yet effective treatment option.
  5. Whole-Body Health: While primarily addressing your shoulder popping issue, a chiropractor also takes a holistic approach to health care. This means they can help improve your overall health, not just the specific issue at hand.

When to Seek Medical Attention Instead?

While chiropractic care can be beneficial for shoulder popping, some cases may require medical attention. You should seek medical help if:

  • Your shoulder popping is accompanied by severe pain or discomfort that does not improve with chiropractic treatment.
  • Your shoulder popping is a result of an acute injury, such as a fall or accident.
  • You experience swelling or bruising in the affected area, which may be indicative of a more serious underlying issue.
  • You have difficulty moving your arm or performing daily tasks due to shoulder popping and pain.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options for your specific condition. In some cases, they may work alongside a chiropractor to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that can offer the best possible outcome for your shoulder health.

Techniques Used by a Chiropractor for Shoulder Popping

Chiropractor applying Technique for Shoulder Popping

When it comes to treating shoulder popping, chiropractors employ a variety of techniques tailored to the individual patient’s needs and situation.

Here are some of the most common methods utilized:

1. Spinal Manipulation or Adjustment

This is a key technique used by chiropractors. It involves applying a manual, controlled force to joints in the spine that have restricted movement.

This can help to improve the alignment of the body, reduce pain, and enhance the function of the nervous system, which in turn can positively affect shoulder mechanics.

2. Gonstead Technique

The Chiropractic Gonstead technique is another popular method used for treating shoulder popping.

This hands-on technique involves a detailed analysis of the patient’s spine using visualization, palpation, and X-rays to detect abnormalities.

The chiropractor then uses specific contact points and a lever system to deliver precise adjustments to the patient’s body, which can help to relieve shoulder popping.

3. Diversified Technique

This is a widely used chiropractic technique in which the chiropractor uses a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust to restore proper movement and alignment of the spine and extremities.

This method can be particularly beneficial for shoulder popping as it targets the cause of the issue rather than just the symptoms.

4. Soft Tissue Therapy

Soft tissue therapy, including techniques such as electrical stimulation, Active Release Therapy (ART), and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), can be used to treat shoulder popping. These techniques involve manipulating the soft tissues to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and improve range of motion.

5. Flexion-Distraction

This is a gentle, non-thrusting type of spinal manipulation that is often used to treat issues related to the lumbar spine. However, it can also be beneficial for shoulder popping as it helps to improve flexibility and alignment.

6. Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy targets specific points in the muscles that cause pain. By applying pressure to these points, chiropractors can help alleviate muscle tension and improve the fusion of the shoulder joint.

Each of these techniques can be used alone or in combination, depending on the patient’s specific condition and needs. It’s important to remember that while these techniques can be highly effective in treating shoulder popping, they should always be administered by a trained professional to ensure safety and efficacy.

What to Expect During a Chiropractic Appointment?

When you visit a chiropractor for shoulder popping, here’s what to expect during your appointment:

Initial Assessment and Diagnosis

During your first visit, the chiropractor will conduct a thorough assessment of your medical history and perform a physical examination.

They may also request X-rays or other imaging tests to get a better understanding of your shoulder’s condition.

This initial assessment is crucial in determining the underlying cause of your shoulder popping and developing an appropriate treatment plan.

Tailored Treatment Plan

Based on their findings, the chiropractor will develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and concerns.

This may include a combination of various techniques, as mentioned above, to alleviate pain and improve the function of your shoulder joint.

Ongoing Maintenance and Progress Checks

Chiropractic care is not a one-time fix, and you may need to attend multiple appointments to see the full benefits.

Your chiropractor will work with you to develop an ongoing maintenance plan that includes regular progress checks to monitor your improvement and make any necessary adjustments to your dislocated shoulder.

Regular chiropractic visits can also help to prevent future shoulder popping episodes and maintain overall shoulder health.

Tips for Preventing Shoulder Popping

In addition to seeking chiropractic treatment, there are also steps you can take to prevent shoulder popping and maintain healthy shoulders:

  • Practice good posture: Poor posture can cause strain on your shoulders and lead to popping. Be mindful of your posture when sitting, standing, and performing daily tasks.
  • Stretch regularly: Tight muscles in the chest, neck, and shoulders can contribute to shoulder impingement. Incorporate stretching into your daily routine to help improve flexibility and prevent tension build-up.
  • Strengthen the muscles around your shoulders: Weak muscles can make your shoulders more susceptible to injury and popping. Work on strengthening exercises, such as shoulder rolls and arm raises, to help support the joint.
  • Use proper form when exercising: Improper form while weightlifting or engaging in other physical activities can put unnecessary strain on your shoulders. Be sure to use proper form and technique to prevent injury.
  • Take breaks from repetitive motions: If you have a job or hobby that requires repetitive shoulder movements, take frequent breaks to prevent overuse and potential popping.

By following these tips and seeking regular chiropractic care, you can reduce the frequency of shoulder popping and maintain healthy, pain-free shoulders. Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment options.


1. Is chiropractic treatment safe for shoulder popping?

Yes, when administered by a trained and licensed chiropractor, chiropractic treatment is generally safe and effective for treating shoulder popping.

2. How many sessions will I need to see results?

The number of sessions needed can vary depending on the severity of your condition and your response to treatment. Your chiropractor will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan and may recommend ongoing maintenance appointments for optimal results.

3. How much does a chiropractic session typically cost?

The cost of a chiropractor can vary widely depending on your location, the chiropractor’s experience, the complexity of your condition, and whether or not you have insurance. On average, you can expect to pay between $60 and $200 per session.

4. Can I prevent shoulder popping?

While not all instances of shoulder popping can be prevented, practicing good posture, stretching regularly, and strengthening the muscles around your shoulders can help reduce the risk.

Bottom Line

All in all, a chiropractor can help you with shoulder popping. By understanding the underlying causes, seeking professional treatment, and taking preventative measures, you can reduce the frequency of shoulder popping episodes and maintain healthy shoulders for years to come. Don’t hesitate to consult with a chiropractor if you experience persistent or severe shoulder popping to get on the path to pain-free shoulders.

Remember, each individual is unique and so is their situation. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a tailored plan that suits your needs and helps address your specific problems effectively. If you found this information helpful and want to delve deeper into the topic, feel free to explore more by reading our other blog posts on chiropractic care.

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