Treating Shoulder Pain with Acupuncture (2)
The causes of shoulder pain:
Pain is one of the most common reasons people visit an acupuncturist. Shoulder pain arises when one of the above mentioned tissues is either directly damaged (torn or strained) or is experiencing abnormal stresses (i.e. it is being pinched, pulled, stretched or twisted beyond normal, to a point that may lead to damage).
In the first instance (direct damage), pain is the body’s way of telling it to protect the injured tissue so that it may heal. In the second instance (abnormal stresses), pain is the body’s way of telling us to change our behaviour to avoid any future damage.
If your pain came on suddenly, then it is most likely the result of direct tissue damage such as a tear or strain. An example would be falling over and taking the weight of the fall on your shoulder or out-stretched hand.
If your pain came on slowly, it is more likely that one or more of the soft-tissue structures in the shoulder is experiencing abnormal stresses.
Direct damage and abnormal stresses to structures of the shoulder may occur alone or in combination.
Common shoulder conditions:
Some of the more common shoulder injuries include tendonitis, bursitis, impingement syndrome and rotator cuff tears. These conditions are closely related and may occur alone or in combination. If the rotator cuff and bursa are irritated, inflamed, and swollen, they may become squeezed between the head of the humerus and the acromion. Repeated motion involving the arms, or the aging process involving shoulder motion over many years, may also irritate and wear down the tendons, muscles, and surrounding structures.
Tendinitis is inflammation (redness, soreness, and swelling) of a tendon. In tendinitis of the shoulder, the rotator cuff and/or biceps tendon become inflamed, usually as a result of being pinched by surrounding structures. The injury may vary from mild inflammation to involvement of most of the rotator cuff. When the rotator cuff tendon becomes inflamed and thickened, it may get trapped under the acromion. Squeezing of the rotator cuff is called impingement syndrome.
An inflamed bursa is called bursitis. Tendinitis and impingement syndrome are often accompanied by inflammation of the bursa sacs that protect the shoulder. Inflammation caused by a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis may cause rotator cuff tendinitis and bursitis.