Dee Why Chiropractor Treatments

Chronic shoulder instability

Chronic shoulder instability describes the condition where there is repeated dislocation of the shoulder. After every dislocation, another dislocation is more likely.Overtime, the shoulder becomes more and more loose. This places extra tension and stress on the shoulder joint structures such as rotator cuff tendons, bursae and accessory joint structures.

Symptoms of chronic shoulder instability

Complete shoulder dislocation is very obvious, in that the shoulder is ‘popped’ out and needs to be put back in. Partial dislocations in chronic shoulder instability may not be so obvious. A partial dislocation is called a subluxation. The most common symptoms associated with this condition would be:

  • Multiple shoulder dislocations (full or partial)
  • Persistent shoulder pain
  • Associated shoulder injury such as tendons, ligaments and muscles
  • Constant feeling of a loose joint, or the shoulder not sitting well

Causes of chronic shoulder instability

The causes of chronic shoulder instability will relate to one large injury where there is gross dislocation or multiple repetitive stress injuries that overtime makes the shoulder joint loose. Summarised here:

  • Injury: A large injury causing full dislocation and instability
  • Repetitive stress: Smaller injuries that are frequent and loosen tissues (overhead sports)
  • Multidirectional instability: Genetic looseness (laxity) in joints (double jointed)

Chronic shoulder instability will produce a shoulder that is painful and unstable.

Treatment of chronic shoulder instability

At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) treating shoulder injuries is a large clinical focus at both our Balmain and Dee Why clinics. Non-surgical treatment of chronic shoulder instability is preferred, however with persistent instability our chiropractors and physiotherapists may need to send you for a surgical opinion. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists take an evidence-based approach to the treatment of chronic shoulder instability that is classified as a ‘UPS’ a unstable painful shoulder. There is a large clinical focus on pain reduction and functional restoration through both hands on chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments and exercises to improve muscle qualities such as endurance, strength and power.

Please read these articles on common shoulder problems for greater understanding


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