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Case Study

The Treatment of Shoulder Pain using Sports Medicine Acupuncture

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Can Sports Medicine Acupuncture® treat shoulder pain?

Yes! Sports Medicine Acupuncture® can treat shoulder pain.

When I was following my mentor, Vasa Mik, he would start every day by asking me what I wanted to focus on. At first, I didn’t have a strong opinion. After a few months, however, I realized that one thing mattered above all else: proper diagnosis.

A comprehensive diagnosis instills confidence in the patient and serves as the foundation of effective treatment and accurate prognosis. Without strong diagnostic skills a practitioner is guessing and putting random needles in random points, hoping for a positive effect. It is called “acupuncture”, not “kind-of-sort-of-puncture”, after all.

With that in mind, the shoulder is one of my favorite joints to work on because it’s incredibly complex. The shoulder has more range of motion than any other joint in the body, making it a vulnerable joint to damage, whether from chronic overuse or from acute injury.

What are common shoulder injuries that we treat?

You’re in luck, we treat anything and everything related to the shoulder. 

At SD Sports Acupuncture, we have treated:

  • Elderly patients with frozen shoulder or rotator cuff tears caused by a fall

  • Circus performers and gymnasts who have labral tears from the trapeze or parallel bars

  • Powerlifters and bodybuilders with tight pecs leading to shoulder impingement and tendinitis in the biceps and/or supraspinatus (aka swimmer’s shoulder)

  • Office workers stuck in maladaptive postures all day long working on computers with general neck and shoulder tension, or tendinitis caused by chronic malposition

How do we treat shoulder injuries with Sports Medicine Acupuncture®?

Because the shoulder has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body, it’s very sensitive to a loss of range of motion. Shoulders will lose range of motion from improper training, poor posture, or overuse.

When there is pain and inflammation, the body, in all of its infinite wisdom, tends to cause the affected muscles to tighten up, which causes them to stop firing correctly. 

When we insert an acupuncture needle into a muscle motor point and stimulate the motor point it causes the tight muscle to relax, return to a neutral position, and to begin communicating its location with the brain again. 

A relaxed, neutral muscle is one that activates only when appropriate and can move through the full range of motion. To further enhance the action of the needling, we will often add soft tissue work, cupping, scraping, taping, or PNF stretching and repatterning, depending on what the patient’s body can tolerate and what makes the most sense for that particular day. 

Combined, these techniques work to “trick” the brain and the body to relax, open up, and give us some of that lost range of motion back. Once the shoulder is moving freely, I find pain in the shoulder reduces dramatically.

Before and After, Shoulder Pain, increased range of motion

The picture above is an example of what is commonly obtainable in one treatment when the patient’s condition is not too severe or chronic.

Let San Diego Sports Acupuncture Properly Diagnose and Treat Your Shoulder Pain

We are passionate about putting together the puzzle pieces that make up your unique shoulder injury or dysfunction so we can provide the right tools and treatment approach for you. If you’re dealing with shoulder pain, or poor posture in the upper body, hop on the schedule or drop us a line. We are here to help you.

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