Should I See a Chiropractor for Shoulder Pain?

woman seeing a chiropractor for shoulder pain

Shoulder pain can be a real inconvenience, hindering everyday activities and reducing your quality of life. It can strike when you least expect it, whether you’re in the middle of a workout, carrying heavy groceries, or simply sitting at your desk. But who should you turn to for relief? One question people often ask is should I see a chiropractor for shoulder pain? In this blog post, we will explore chiropractic care to help you figure out if seeing a chiropractor for shoulder pain is a good and helpful choice.

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Before we dive into the role of chiropractic care, let’s first understand what causes shoulder pain. The shoulder is a complex joint that allows for a wide range of motion, making it susceptible to injury and discomfort.

Some common causes of shoulder pain include:

1. Rotator Cuff Injuries

Pain and decreased mobility can result from damage to the shoulder joint’s surrounding muscles and tendons, known as the rotator cuff, due to repetitive overhead movements or sudden traumatic incidents.

2. Arthritis

This is a common cause of shoulder pain. Arthritis in the shoulder and other inflammatory conditions can lead to stiffness, swelling, and pain in the shoulder joint.

3. Tendonitis

This condition occurs when the tendons in the shoulder become inflamed, usually due to overuse. It’s common in individuals who perform repetitive motions, like athletes or manual laborers.

4. Frozen Shoulder

Also known as adhesive capsulitis, this condition is characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint that limits your range of motion.

5. Bursitis

The shoulder joint contains small, fluid-filled sacs called bursae that reduce friction between the bones. Overuse or injury of the shoulder can cause these bursae to become inflamed, resulting in shoulder bursitis.

6. Fractures

Broken bones in the shoulder, such as the collarbone or upper arm bone, can cause severe shoulder pain.

Can a Chiropractor Help with Shoulder Pain?

chiropractor helping patient with shoulder pain

Yes, a chiropractor can help with shoulder pain. Chiropractors focus on the muscles and bones and know a lot about how our bodies work. They use gentle methods like adjustments and manipulations to improve movement, ease pain, and relax muscles. They also do soft tissue therapy and specific exercises to target shoulder issues.

Chiropractors often combine their treatments with other methods like heat therapy or electrical stimulation for a complete approach. It’s vital to recognize that everyone’s situation is unique. When you see the chiropractor, they’ll carefully examine you and might use some special tests to figure out why your shoulder is bothering you. After that, they’ll come up with a personalized plan just for you to help ease your discomfort and make you feel better.

While chiropractic care is often good for shoulder blade pain, it’s always smart to talk to a healthcare professional about your unique situation.

When to See a Chiropractor for Shoulder Pain?

If you’re experiencing persistent shoulder pain that doesn’t improve with rest, it may be a good idea to seek help from a shoulder adjustment chiropractor. Other signs that indicate you should see a chiropractor include:

  • Difficulty moving your arm or shoulder
  • Pain that radiates down your arm
  • Swelling, tenderness, or redness around the shoulder joint
  • Shoulder pain that interferes with your daily activities and impacts your quality of life
  • Pain that persists for more than a week or becomes increasingly severe

It’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek professional care if you’re unsure about the cause of your shoulder pain. Remember, early detection and treatment can prevent further complications and improve your chances of recovery.

Why You Should See a Chiropractor for Shoulder Pain?

There are several reasons why you should consider turning to a chiropractor for shoulder pain relief, including:

  1. Non-invasive Treatment: Chiropractors use hands-on techniques, avoiding invasive procedures and medications.
  2. Personalized Care: Chiropractic care is highly individualized, ensuring the treatment matches your specific needs and health goals.
  3. Holistic Approach: A chiropractor takes care of the whole person, not just the symptoms. This usually helps improve your overall health.
  4. Improvement of Posture: Chiropractic adjustments can help fix uneven shoulders, a common cause of shoulder pain.
  5. Pain Relief: Chiropractic adjustments can effectively reduce shoulder pain, providing immediate relief in many cases.
  6. Restoration of Mobility: Chiropractic care can help to restore mobility to the shoulder joint, improving your range of motion.
  7. Prevention of Future Injuries: Regular chiropractic care can strengthen your shoulder, making it less susceptible to shoulder impingement.
  8. Complementary Treatment: Chiropractic treatment can complement other therapies, providing a comprehensive approach to shoulder health.

How Can a Chiropractor Help with Shoulder Pain?

chiropractor applying technique for shoulder pain

Chiropractors employ a range of techniques to alleviate shoulder pain, each designed to address specific issues within the musculoskeletal system. Here are some of the most commonly used chiropractic techniques for shoulder pain:

1. Adjustments

This is the cornerstone of chiropractic care. Adjustments involve the chiropractor using their hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled force to a joint of the body, realigning the musculoskeletal structure to improve function and promote healing. Chiropractic adjustments can help to fix frozen shoulder pain by correcting misalignments that may be causing discomfort.

2. Soft Tissue Therapy

This therapy aims to treat muscle-related pain. The chiropractor uses specific hand techniques to apply pressure to the soft tissues – muscles, ligaments, and tendons – reducing tension and muscle tightness around the shoulder. This can alleviate pain, improve mobility, and prevent further injury.

3. Joint Mobilization

In this technique, the chiropractor gently moves the joint in a specific direction to increase the range of motion. For shoulder pain, the chiropractor may mobilize the shoulder joint or other related areas, like the neck or upper back, depending on the source of the pain.

4. Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

Chiropractors often recommend specific exercises to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder and improve flexibility. These exercises can reduce pain, prevent future injuries, and improve function and movement over time.

5. Therapeutic Ultrasound

This therapy uses sound waves to create deep heat therapy that is applied to the soft tissues and joints. The heat can help reduce inflammation, pain, and muscle knots in the shoulder, promoting healing.

6. Graston Technique

Graston Technique is a type of manual therapy referred to as soft-tissue instrument-assisted mobilization. It belongs to a category of manual therapy methods employing specialized instruments designed for gentle scraping and massaging of the skin.

7. Kinesio Taping

This technique involves applying a special type of tape to the skin to support the muscles and joints. In cases of shoulder pain, Kinesio taping can help provide support, alleviate pain, reduce swelling, and improve your overall mobility.

Each technique has its unique benefits and can be used independently or in combination with others, depending on the patient’s specific condition and needs. As with any treatment, the effectiveness of these techniques can vary from person to person.

How to Choose a Chiropractor for Shoulder Pain?

professional chiropractor for shoulder

When choosing a chiropractor for shoulder pain, it’s essential to do your research and find someone who is qualified and has experience in treating similar conditions.

Here are a few suggestions to guide you in choosing the appropriate chiropractor for your needs:

  1. Check Credentials: Seek a chiropractic professional with a valid license and registration from the chiropractic board in their respective state. This confirms that they have fulfilled their practice’s essential educational and training criteria.
  2. Read Reviews: Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from family and friends who have received chiropractic care. This can help you get an idea of the quality of care provided by a particular chiropractor.
  3. Consider Specializations: Some chiropractors may specialize in certain areas, such as sports injuries or pediatric care. If you have a specific condition or need, look for a chiropractor who has experience in treating it.
  4. Schedule a Consultation: Many chiropractors offer free consultations where you can discuss your condition and treatment options before committing to care. This is an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you may have and get a feel for the chiropractor’s approach.
  5. Trust Your Gut: Lastly, trust your intuition and choose a chiropractor who makes you feel comfortable and confident in your abilities. Building a good rapport with your chiropractor is important for successful treatment.

Risks Associated with Chiropractic Care for Shoulder Pain

While chiropractic care is generally safe, there are some risks associated with any kind of medical treatment. Some potential risks of chiropractic care for shoulder pain include:

  1. Soreness and Discomfort: It’s normal to experience some soreness or discomfort after a chiropractic adjustment or soft tissue therapy session.
  2. Headaches: In rare cases, some patients may experience headaches after a chiropractic adjustment.
  3. Nerve Damage: Although extremely rare, there have been a few reported cases of nerve damage resulting from chiropractic adjustments. This can happen if the chiropractor applies too much force or pressure during the adjustment.

It’s crucial to discuss any potential risks with your chiropractor before starting treatment, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions. Your chiropractor should also perform a thorough assessment to determine if chiropractic care is appropriate for your specific condition.

Alternatives to Chiropractic Care for Shoulder Pain

While chiropractic care can be an effective treatment option for shoulder pain, it may not be suitable for everyone. Below are a few alternative treatments you might want to explore:

  1. Physical Therapy: Physical therapists can provide targeted exercises to improve shoulder strength and flexibility, reducing pain and improving function.
  2. Acupuncture: This traditional Chinese medicine technique can help reduce shoulder pain by stimulating certain points in the body to promote healing.
  3. Massage Therapy: Massage can help reduce muscle tension and stiffness associated with shoulder popping, promoting relaxation and relief.
  4. Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications can help manage shoulder pain.
  5. Surgery: In severe cases, when conservative treatments are not effective, surgery may be required to repair the underlying cause of the shoulder pain.


1. Should you see a chiropractor for shoulder pain?

Yes, you should see a chiropractor for shoulder pain. Chiropractic care can provide effective relief for shoulder pain by addressing the root cause of the issue. It employs non-invasive techniques to improve mobility, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain.

2. How much does a chiropractor cost for shoulder pain?

The cost of a chiropractor for shoulder pain can vary depending on factors such as the chiropractor’s experience, location, and treatment plan. It’s best to discuss fees and potential payment options with your chosen chiropractor before starting treatment.

3. Does insurance cover the cost of a chiropractor for shoulder pain?

Some insurance plans may cover chiropractic care for shoulder pain, but it’s essential to check with your insurance provider beforehand. You may also need a referral from your primary care physician before insurance will cover the cost of chiropractic treatment.

4. Is chiropractic care safe for pregnant women with shoulder pain?

Yes, chiropractic care can be safe for pregnant women with shoulder pain. However, it’s crucial to discuss any potential risks with your chiropractor and inform them of your pregnancy before starting treatment.

Bottom Line

In summary, chiropractic care can be a highly effective non-invasive method to address shoulder pain. With a range of techniques available, a qualified chiropractor can customize a treatment plan to suit your unique needs and condition. It’s also important to remember that other alternatives may be necessary in some cases, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, medication, or even surgery.

Don’t forget to discuss all options and potential risks with a healthcare professional to make the most informed decision. If you found this information valuable, we invite you to read our other blogs on chiropractic care for more insights and helpful tips.

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