Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain occurs at the glenohumeral (ball and socket) joint, at the acromioclavicular joint, or the area surrounding the shoulder to include the muscles, ligaments, and bursa.


  • Glenohumeral Joint Pain (GH Joint)
    The shoulder socket joint is where the upper arm bone know as the humerus attaches to the upper torso at the glenoid fossa. It is known as the glenohumeral joint. It is the most mobile, least stable joint and the most commonly dislocated joint in the body1.Part of this joint is the labrum. The labrum is a tissue that helps keep the ball in the socket joint. Pain at the G-H joint can be caused by a torn labrum or a dislocation of the joint
  • Acromioclavicular Joint Pain (AC Joint)
    The joint between the acromion process of our scapula and the clavicle (aka collar bone). The most common conditions to occur at this joint are arthritis, fractures, and separations. Arthritis is usually caused by wear and tear/repetitive use over time. Fractures and separations are usually due to traumas/injuries.
  • Rotator Cuff Pain
    4 Muscles make up the rotator cuff muscles: Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Subscapularis, and the Teres Minor muscle. Tears in the muscles commonly occur from overuse and are seen more frequently in overhead athletes such as tennis, baseball, and swimming. Tendinitis is when the muscle gets inflamed from overuse and causes pain. It can cause shoulder pain when it occurs in the rotator cuff muscles, deltoid muscles, or biceps muscle. Bursitis is when the fluid filled sac that protects the rotator cuff (called the bursa) gets inflamed.
  • Shoulder Impingement
    Shoulder impingement occurs when the top of the shoulder blade (acromion) puts pressure on the underlying soft tissues when the arm is lifted away from the body. As the arm is lifted, the acromion rubs, or “impinges” on, the rotator cuff tendons and bursa. This can lead to bursitis and tendinitis, causing pain and limiting movement2.

Treatment Options

Shoulder adjustments can help restore proper balance to the shoulder joint and allow the proper healing to take place. Your chiropractor may also recommend certain stretches or exercises to help improve mobility and recover from injury. Physiotherapy combined with chiropractic adjustments will help restore the proper alignment AND muscle balance.

If the shoulder has a serious tear or dislocation, you will be referred out to a orthopedic doctor or surgeon for an evaluation.


  1. .Christopher C. Dodson, Frank A. Cordasco, Anterior Glenohumeral Joint Dislocations, Orthopedic Clinics of North America,2008:39(4), 507-518. Available from:

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