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Raise your hand if you struggle with shoulder pain!  Well, at least, raise it as high as you can.

Shoulder pain is one of the most frequently hurt and injured extremities in the body.  If you were to survey 10 of your friends, how many of them would report a shoulder issue?  Seriously think about this for a minute.  While the research can vary greatly with incident rates of shoulder pain, you can expect on average 2-5 to report shoulder pain and problems!  That is an incredible stat right there!

When you look into the mechanics of the shoulder, it is no wonder why pain is so often found there.  The shoulder joint consists of 3 bones, creating 4 joints.  13 muscles are involved in the movement of the shoulder which is responsible for almost 360 degrees of motion.

While there are many different kinds of problems associated with the shoulder (dislocations, fractures, etc), most complications arise from overuse, or repetitive strain injuries over time.  Shoulder pain may start up overnight, but it took weeks, months, even years to get to the point of pain.  Manual labors and athletes alike are no stranger to shoulder pain.

In cases of shoulder pain where overuse, repetitive strain, or previous injuries are present, the shoulder pain is almost always due to a lengthening issue.  The joints have become stiff and the muscles have become tight.  The most frequent cause of this stiffness is from adhesion.

Adhesion is a build up of scar tissue through repetitive motion, prolonged position, or as a result of previous trauma or injury.  Think of adhesion as glue on a muscle.  It binds things together and prevents the muscles from moving correctly.  When the joints and muscle get stiff and tight, it creates friction, pressure, and tension in the area.  This then creates decreased blood flow and sometimes swelling, which promotes the body to lay down scar tissue, or adhesion, to help stabilize the problem area.  Adhesion is one of the most common problems in the human body and fortunately one of the most easily reversible with the right care!

To see if your shoulder pain could be caused from adhesion at-home, there is a very simple test you can do at home.

Stand upright, with your arms and hands to your side.  Raise your arms up to your ears by moving your shoulders in an arc similar to that of a jumping jack.  The bicep should be able to freely touch the ear without any increased tension or pain.  Anything short of this, adhesion is a strong possibility, and may be playing a large part of your shoulder pain.  Regardless of previous injuries, or even surgeries, adhesion needs to be removed.

Stretching and exercises do not correct adhesion unfortunately.  When adhesion is present, it only gets worse without proper treatment, and could lead to bigger issues down the road.

If you are struggling with shoulder pain, try the test right now.  Look in the mirror if you can’t get your arms up to your ears and see how restricted it is.  The further away from the ear you are the more likely you are to suffer a serious injury down the road.

If you are in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area and struggling with shoulder pain, call our office today at 319-423-0925 or fill out the appointment request on this page.  If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me at dr.cody@thrivespineandsport.com.

Thanks for reading!

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