Now that summer is here, I have been seeing more and more patients with shoulder pain and injuries. Whether it is from golfing, biking, hiking, climbing, baseball, arthritis, tendonitis, etc., acupuncture can be a very safe and effective treatment for shoulder pain.
The shoulder is a complex joint and can be easily injured or inflamed. It has multiple muscles, tendons and ligaments that originate form the back, neck and arm. It is a highly mobile joint thus prone to injury, inflammation and arthritis. Some of the conditions that I treat using acupuncture are:
· frozen shoulder
· bicep tendonitis
· rheumatoid arthritis
· cervical radiculopathy
· thoracic outlet syndrome
· impingement syndromes
Convention treatments for shoulder injuries or pain include rest, ice/heat, NSAIDS, physical therapy, injections (cortisone) and possible surgery. Most my patients have found that these treatments have not provided any long term relief. NSAIDS should only be taken for less than 10 days or they can damage the stomach and cause heartburn (aka GERD). Cortisone injections can work acutely but tend to cause more long term problems with the tendons, ligament, cartilage and bones. Most my patients want to avoid surgery all together or have found that surgery did not improve their pain and mobility.
Acupuncture works for shoulder pain by reducing inflammation, improving blood flow, decreasing pain and improving range of motion. Acupuncture can work very well for conditions that haven't responded well to conventional treatments. Usually treatments consist of acupuncture sessions once or twice a week for 4 to 6 weeks depending on length and severity of problem. Each session usually consist of acupuncture, cupping, electro acupuncture and some soft tissue work.
Acupuncture works by inserting single use sterile hair thin needles into local and distal points. The body then releases its own pain killing and anti-inflammatory chemicals to relieve the pain and return the shoulder to normal function. Acupuncture has even been shown to be twice as effective as conventional orthopedic treatment when it comes to chronic shoulder pain. (1)
So if you have a nagging pain in your shoulder that you keep waiting to go away and it doesn’t or if you have arthritis in your shoulders from years of abuse and overuse, give us a call and get some relief from the pain so that you can get back to living
1)Pain. 2010 Oct;151(1):146-54. Epub 2010 Jul 23. German Randomized Acupuncture Trial for chronic shoulder pain (GRASP) – a pragmatic, controlled, patient-blinded, multi-centre trial in an outpatient care environment. Molsberger AF, Schneider T, Gotthardt H, Drabik A.