Want to get your killer serve back, but can’t get your arms to go up?
Acupuncture helps shoulder the burden, and get you back to moving freely!
Shoulder pain is the third most common specific reason U.S. patients seek acupuncture treatment. Our tendons are one of the body’s weakest links. Although muscle and bone heal well after injury, the fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone has a relatively poor blood supply, and for that reason, it recovers slowly.
Overuse of a tendon (repetitive strain injury) is the most common cause of tendonitis.
Swelling of the bursa and thickening of the rotator cuff can push the tendon up into the bony arch of the scapular acromion, creating a vicious cycle of tendon injury that can eventually lead to complete tears of the rotator cuff and degeneration of the tendon.
Rotator cuff tears are common and people over the age of 50 have a 25% chance of having a tear.
Athletes who make repetitive throws like pitchers, cricketers and tennis players are also at risk, as well as body builders, and golfers. The average Joe (or Joanne) also at risk? People who do repetitive lifting or overhead activities are also at risk for rotator cuff tears. Painters, carpenters, and others who do overhead work also have a greater chance for tears.
Common Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Gradual onset of pain, swelling and weakness at the side and front of the shoulder and upper arm, made worse by overhead motions such as reaching and throwing.
- Pain at night when resting on the affected side.
- Sharp twinges and painful catches in the shoulder during arm elevation.
Acupuncture has been shown to be very helpful for rotator cuff issues, and there has been a number of successful trials that give proof. A study compared superficial to deep-insertion acupuncture in 44 participants with shoulder pain and also found relative benefits, which lasted for at least 3 months. In another study, 117 people with rotator cuff injury (including tendonitis) were randomized to receive corticosteroid injections plus exercise or 10 acupuncture treatments plus exercise. Both groups experienced similar improvements in shoulder function and pain.
Finally, in a sizable randomized trial, 425 patients receiving physical therapy for their persistent shoulder pain were divided into two groups: one received single-point acupuncture while the other received a sham treatment (mock transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) for three weeks.
The acupuncture group showed significant improvement over the control group one week after treatment.
Acupuncture works for rotator cuff issues, arthritis, and sprains and strains of all kinds. How can it help you?
Sources: Ceecherelli F, Bordin M, Gagliardi G, et al. Comparison between superficial and deep acupuncture in the treatment of the shoulder’s myofascial pain: a randomized and controlled study. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2001;26:229-238.
Johansson K, Bergström A, Schröder K, Foldevi M. Subacromial corticosteroid injection or acupuncture with home exercises when treating patients with subacromial impingement in primary care—a randomized clinical trial. Fam Pract. 2011;28(4):355-365.
Vas J, Ortega C, Olmo V, et al. Single-point acupuncture and physiotherapy for the treatment of painful shoulder: a multicentre randomized controlled trial. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2008 Apr 10.
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