A case series published on July 31, 2014, in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research documented chiropractic care helping patients with chronic shoulder problems. The authors note how common shoulder problems are accounting for 16% of all musculoskeletal complaints with a yearly incidence of 15 new episodes per 1,000 patients seeking primary care.
This case series documented the care of two male patients with chronic shoulder problems. The first patient was a 55-year-old man who went to a chiropractor with a chief complaint of right shoulder pain. Seven months earlier, the man had fallen off a 10-foot ladder and landed on his left shoulder, which was not the one he was suffering with at the time of his visit to the chiropractor. His examination showed restricted range of motion for his right shoulder. A chiropractic examination showed areas of sensitivity in the man’s neck along with postural imbalances of the spine. From the findings, it was determined that subluxations in the neck were present.
The second patient was a 60-year-old man who had pain in both shoulders for one year before coming to the chiropractor. He did not have a history of an accident or trauma before his problem started. His examination showed range of motion reductions in his shoulders and his neck. It was also determined that this patient had a subluxation of his neck.
Specific chiropractic adjustments were given to both patients according to their chiropractic analysis. The study reported that the results of the chiropractic care for both men were very positive. The 55-year-old man with pain in his right shoulder showed a complete return to normal shoulder movement within a few visits. The recovery was such that the man went on vacation shortly after his chiropractic care.
The second man with pain in both his shoulders had a complete return to normal motion in both his shoulders after his first chiropractic adjustment. Additionally, his pain was reduced to minimal after the first visit.
The authors noted that although both patients had issues with their shoulders, the chiropractic care given was exclusively to the upper neck. Both patients were mainly concerned with their ability to move their shoulders, and both regained total range of motion as a result of their chiropractic care. In their conclusion, the authors wrote, “This case series provides support on the use of chiropractic adjustments directed to the upper cervical spine in patients with subluxation, shoulder pain and dysfunction.”