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Problems of Upper Arm and Shoulder

shoulderProblems of Upper Arm and Shoulder

Shoulder pain is extremely common (it is the third most common problem after back and knees).  It  is characterized by symptoms in the various joints, muscles, tendons, and bursa involved with shoulder motion.  The shoulder is a miraculously dynamic joint, capable of moving in any direction and supporting a great deal of weight.  However, it is also vulnerable to injury.  Fortunately, we have great deal of experience treating shoulder injuries and the results are usually very positive.  Some of the common problems people experience include:

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis – Repetitive overhead arm motion from sports, working, or cleaning can result in soft tissue inflammation.  The most common problem is with the supraspinatus, a small muscle that allows you to lift your arm to the side.  Symptoms include pain during arm-overhead activities, pain in the shoulder while lying down, and a popping or cracking sound while moving the shoulder.  Other times the infraspinatus involved, especially in athletes involved in throwing or swimming.  Acupuncture can be used to treat this injury and can also be used preventively with people who use their shoulder frequently.

Biceps Brachii Muscle Strain/Tendinitis – This is a very common sports injury, usually caused by weightlifting, swimming, or basketball.  It is characterized by a pain in the front part of the shoulder and arm.  This can happen on it’s own or be a complication of rotator cuff problems.  Acupuncture can be very useful for recovery.

Shoulder Impingement – Symptoms include pain during sleep, while reaching back, or raising the arm into the air. We have treated this and rotator cuff tendonitis, many, many times. Acupuncture is extremely helpful for this kind of problem.

Shoulder Bursitis – Associated with rotator cuff tear, impingement syndrome, or soft tissue inflammation. The bursa is a cushioning tissue that can become irritated and inflamed through over use. Acupuncture can be very useful for this situation.

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) – Frozen shoulder is caused by scar tissue accumulation in the shoulder joint. The symptoms are a dull aching pain and extreme difficulty in lifting the arm. Some cases are self-limiting and spontaneously resolve after several months to a year. Acupuncture can be helpful but may be combined with physical therapy.

Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) – Over using the hand or elbow can cause this. Arthritis, rehumatism, or gout may also cause these symptoms. We have seen acupuncture be very effective for this, but the person must be careful not to strain the arm until it has healed.


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