The Top Shelf

Many adults begin to develop shoulder pain, even though they may not have sustained a specific injury. It's important to pay attention to such shoulder issues, as a healthy shoulder joint is the key to full function of the upper extremities. We all know at least one person whose ability to perform normal activities of daily living has been significantly compromised by chronic shoulder pain. Conservative treatment may be of benefit, but the key, as always, is to prevent these problems before they occur. The primary prophylactic intervention, as is the case for most musculoskeletal conditions, is exercise.

We all agree that the human body's design is magnificent. Every component has a purpose, down to the smallest cell. Every system is deeply interconnected with every other. Miraculously, the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. And yet, there are a few "gotchas" built-in to this ingenious design. With respect to the shoulder, the "gotcha" relates to the shoulder joint's extraordinary mobility. The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion of all the joints in your body. But this extreme mobility comes at a price, that is, the shoulder joint is not a particularly stable joint. For example, shoulder dislocations comprise approximately 50% of all such injuries.

Shoulder pain in the absence of a specific injury often represents damage to the rotator cuff. Again, the design of the shoulder joint and surrounding soft tissues is implicated in these rotator cuff problems. The blood supply to the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the shoulder is consistently compromised during normal motion of the shoulder above 90º, as in placing an object on or taking an object down from the top shelf in a kitchen cabinet. If much of your day is spent with your arm elevated above 90º to the front or to the side, over time you may develop nagging shoulder pain. Worse, with persistent repetitive motion above 90º, nagging shoulder pain may become chronic pain that restricts activities.

The best approach to shoulder problems is to become aware of the rotator cuff's well-known tendency to develop degenerative changes. We can be proactive by doing strength-training exercises for the shoulder and incorporating these exercises in our weekly exercise program as soon as possible.1,2 Beginning such exercises in the teenage years would be ideal. For those of us who are older, the right time to begin shoulder strength training is now. Shoulder exercises stimulate growth of new muscle fibers, increase the size of muscle fibers already in existence, and stimulate growth of nerve fibers bringing information to and from all shoulder girdle structures.

Shoulder exercises should be done once or twice a week as part of your overall fitness program. As with all exercise that's new to you, start slowly and gradually increase the level of difficulty over time.3 The result of all this activity is a dramatically improved blood supply to the shoulder region and a dramatically reduced tendency for rotator cuff degeneration and injury.

1Choi SH, Lee BH: Clinical Usefulness of Shoulder Stability Exercises for Middle-aged Women. J Phys Ther Sci 25(10):1243-1246, 2013
2Saltychev M, et al: Conservative treatment or surgery for shoulder impingement: systematic review and meta-analysis. Disabil Rehabil 37(1):1-8, 2015
Another example of a common issues
3Daenen L, et al: Exercise, not to exercise, or how to exercise in patients with chronic pain? Applying science to practice. Clin J Pain 31(2):108-114, 2015

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Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Life would not be the same without Dr. Jayne! In addition to being the loveliest and most caring person, she's an extraordinary chiropractor. She truly has healing hands, an incredible knowledge of the body (MY body!), an uncanny gift for knowing exactly what the issue is right away, and then correcting it effectively. I always know I can rely on her to correct my neck and back issues when they arise, sometimes just after one visit. And Dr. Lou and Jayne's staff are wonderful - kind and patient, and always extremely helpful. I wouldn't go anywhere else."
    Beth B
  • "Dr Jayne and Dr Lou are both amazing! They offer not just great care, but a warm, welcoming atmosphere— truly family friendly! They go above and beyond and truly care about the whole patient, well beyond chiropractic care. Dr Jayne has offered amazing support and solace through my journey as a new mom and I will always be grateful!"
    Katherine G.
  • "Absolutely amazing ! First, the staff was very friendly. I am 8 months pregnant and I've had a lot of back/shoulder pain, and the doctor Jayne was very friendly and professional. You can tell she know what she's doing. She did an amazing job, when I got up from the chair I felt like I was 10 years old again ! My pain was completely gone. I am so happy I have found that place !"
    Manon J S.
  • "I've seen a whole bunch of chiropractors and Lou and Jayne are the best, by far. They're also two of the sweetest people I know."
    Scott C.
  • "I have no words to express my gratitude for Dr. Jayne. I was looking for a Webster Technique chiropractor during my pregnancy and I am so happy I found her. Thanks to her treatments we were able to turn the baby in optimal position and avoid any kind of medical interventions during delivery. But most of all, I valued her precious advice and physical and emotional support during before and after my baby was born. The most beautiful moment of all was giving my son his very first adjustment when he was only couple of days old. I definitely recommend her and her team!"
    Marija R.
  • "Dr Lou and Dr Jayne are fantastic. They've put my spine back in line and are always the nicest people to work with."
    Gerry G
  • "Friendly and welcoming. I enjoy my visits here as they are short and sweet, and really contribute overall health. Twice a week was all I needed and it has changed my world."
    Carlos C
  • "Dr. Lou has taken care of me for close to 20 years. ALWAYS spot on and just an amazing staff. Thank you for all you do."
    Marc W
  • "For two days I have been dealing with that ache in my bicep and having to stretch my hand and it constantly cracking...within minutes of leaving your office from my adjustment my ache is gone and no need to stretch the hand and when I did no cracking. Magic Hands I tell ya!!"
    Janice Bowman
  • "I highly recommend Family Chiropractors for all you health needs ..... From a tune up to a serious issue they will bring you back to the road of recovery ..... They are knowledgable and listen to your needs and concerns ..... I have gone to Dr Lou for over 10 years and I will tell you as a runnner and a yogi you can not find someone better or more caring ... Give them a try ... I believe you will be glad you did and so will your body."
    Thomas Randazzo
  • "It's miraculous how they make me feel better so quickly!"
    Richard Reiter
  • "Drs. Lou and Jayne are the best. Wonderful with even the very youngest children and babies, all the way to folks in later life. Friendly, personable, and strong at what they do -- each with his or her own style. Great to have appointments with both of them! They also have things like a water massage table, which is a wonderfully relaxing mini-escape, and laser treatments for things like carpal tunnel. They are also a gay-friendly business, which encourages me to refer more folks to them."
    Elizabeth Schroeder
  • "Love that place"
    Joe V