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Your shoulder is the most flexible joint in your body, giving you the ability to move your arms in all directions. Unfortunately, this shoulder joint flexibility also makes it unstable and a common source of pain.

Shoulder pain can make simple activities like brushing your hair or putting on a shirt feel nearly impossible. Though treatment for shoulder pain varies depending on the cause, most people don’t need shoulder surgery.

At Douglas J. Abeles MD & Associates in Castro Valley, California, we have a team of caregivers from multiple specialties, so we can address any orthopedic condition — like shoulder pain — using many modalities, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, and physical therapy.

Here, we explain your noninvasive treatment options for shoulder pain.

Causes of shoulder pain

Your shoulder is a complex body part made up of three bones and three joints. A combination of ligaments, tendons, muscles, and cartilage keep your shoulder bones in place and mobile.

Any injury or disease that affects one or more of the parts of the shoulder may cause shoulder pain. Knowing the cause of your pain helps us determine the right treatment.

Common causes of shoulder pain include:

  • Bursitis — inflammation of the bursae sacs
  • Tendinitis — inflammation of the tendons
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Arthritis
  • Tendinosis — degeneration and inflammation of the tendons
  • Dislocation
  • Fracture
  • Frozen shoulder

These painful conditions may result from an acute injury, overuse, or degenerative changes that occur as you get older.

Noninvasive treatments for shoulder pain

Though you can develop shoulder pain from any number of causes, most improve without surgery. Some of the noninvasive treatments that can help your shoulder pain include:

Activity modification

Repetitive use of your shoulder joint is a common cause of pain, especially in athletes. We can help you modify your activities to give your joint a break and ease your pain.

Physical therapy

We know how hard it is to change your routine, even if it reduces your shoulder pain. That’s why we refer you to physical therapy to manage your shoulder.

A physical therapist teaches you how to make modifications to your daily routine to reduce stress on your shoulder joint so it has a chance to heal.

They also teach you stretching and strengthening exercises that improve your shoulder’s mobility and flexibility, while reducing pain.


For shoulder pain from arthritis or muscle strain, you may find acupuncture helpful. Placement of the acupuncture needles triggers your central nervous system to release chemicals that reduce pain, promote healing, and provide a general sense of well-being.

Chiropractic care

Chiropractic care is another noninvasive treatment for shoulder pain. Chiropractors use devices or hands-on techniques to manipulate your spine and joints, improving alignment, reducing pain, and restoring function.

When to consider surgery

Most causes of shoulder pain improve without surgery. In fact, we only consider shoulder surgery when our noninvasive treatments fail to get satisfactory results.

When performing shoulder surgery, we use cutting-edge, minimally invasive tools and techniques for a faster recovery.

Don’t ignore your shoulder pain. We can design a noninvasive treatment plan to alleviate your discomfort, improve joint health, and prevent or delay future problems. Call our office to request an appointment for your shoulder pain today.

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