• Dr. Valerie Girard

A Chiropractor's view of shoulder surgery: Can you avoid it?

Updated: Nov 28, 2018


Think you may need shoulder surgery? If you have a clear diagnosis, such as a significant rotator cuff tear that requires a surgical procedure, then be sure to read Recover Quickly From Surgery to optimize and accelerate your healing process. Consult your doctor for the name of a reputable surgeon who can properly diagnose your condition and offer you information about surgery and its alternatives.


However, many shoulders heal well without surgery. Read below for clarity about the various shoulder injuries and conditions.


When is a shoulder injury not a shoulder injury? When it originates from the neck! Because nerves that innervate the shoulder originate in the cervical spine, many presumed shoulder issues are merely cervical neuralgias. Consider how much time people spend in front of a computer with their heads jutting forward, compressing their lower cervical nerves and you will understand why “shoulder” pain is the number two condition that I treat in my office.


These neuralgias can lead to bursitis and tendonitis. Bursitis (limited range of motion without pain) usually occurs as a result of inflammation in the body and tendonitis (pain on motion) usually occurs from an overuse of muscles that are poorly innervated. An injury or fall can cause a sprain to the shoulder ligaments or even cause an A/C separation. In addition to correcting the cervical and shoulder alignment, I often laser both the cervical nerve roots and the shoulder joint itself for excellent results. Home care can include specific stretches, ice and heat as well as topical analgesics.


In addition, stress and other factors such as sleeping or driving in the wrong position for many hours may cause shoulder alignment issues. These are easily corrected with non-force adjustments to both the bones and the muscles. Myofascial release therapy will correct muscles around the shoulder joint that are not functioning properly, allowing the shoulder to move freely and without pain. Athletic taping can be extremely helpful in the recovery of a sprained or strained shoulder joint.


There are specific exercises that will assist the shoulder in regaining its full function. Some of these are listed on here .


Diet may exacerbate bursitis or other arthritic conditions of the shoulder. I have created the Recover Quickly Anti-Inflammatory Diet, which you can find in Recover Quickly From Surgery. In addition, if inflammation is the underlying root, nutritional supplements may be extremely helpful in quelling inflammation and helping the joint to heal. These too are listed in Recover Quickly From Surgery.



Shoulder pain can be a limiting factor in life and yet, with the proper diagnosis and treatment, the symptoms of pain and limited mobility may be resolved. I hope this has been helpful in inspiring you to obtain treatment for any of these conditions.

Dr. Valerie Girard

Chiropractic Care, Cold Laser Therapy, Nutritional & Functional Medicine

1725 State Street B

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

805-687-1617 Office

805-682-1365 fax

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