Updated: Oct 2, 2022
The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket type of joint, similar to the hip joint. However, what makes the shoulder more prone to injury is that the socket is not very deep. It is quite shallow which allows for plenty of mobility and motion of the arm but is the culprit of decreased joint stability as well. That means that the shoulder relies on the soft tissue for much of its support. Because of this, shoulder problems are quite common. The most affected tendons in the shoulder are the 4 rotator cuff tendons and the long head of the bicep tendon.
The bicep tendons attach the bicep muscle to the shoulder blade. They are located in the front of the upper arm and continue into the front of the shoulder joint. Pain and weakness in the front of the shoulder that typically comes and goes and improves with rest could indicate tendonitis. Bicipital tendonitis translates to “inflammation of the bicep.” The cause of bicipital tendonitis is typically a lifetime of normal activities. In fact, by simply as holding your phone towards your face for a prolonged period of time causes the bicep tendon to become shortened and contracted. Microtrauma results from repetitive use of the arm particularly overhead but can also be a side effect of poor posture and spine/joint alignment problems. Sometimes bicipital tendonitis can be caused by a specific injury usually with the arm pulling a heavy object or reaching behind the back.
The cervical spine is a huge factor in shoulder function. The C5 nerve root, which exits the spine in the lower neck, is the nerve that controls the shoulder joint, muscles, and tendons. If the joints in your neck are not functioning properly it can impact the shoulder function over time. Secondly, repeated stress to the shoulder joint can damage the soft tissue over time.
We commonly see the shoulders round forward due to postural imbalances and this is frequently a precursor to tendonitis. The joint articulation determines the level of movement and strain on the surrounding soft tissue.
Only severe cases that do not respond to conservative treatment need surgery to repair. It is possible to have other diagnoses in addition to bicipital tendonitis. These may include shoulder impingement syndrome, labrum tear, or osteoarthritis. In most cases, there is inflammation, fraying, and swelling which can be alleviated by activity modifications and early management. Luckily, in our office, we offer chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, myofascial release techniques, and cupping to help most shoulder pain cases! Our techniques are used to help repair damage by speeding up the healing process, reducing pain, and restoring optimal joint function.
Tips to avoid shoulder pain:
Correct your posture and strengthen your neck muscles
Shoulder mobility stretches daily
Avoid sleeping with a hand above the shoulder
Pull your shoulders back and down while sitting and driving
Supplement with high-quality collagen