Shoulder Pain: Surgery is the Exception, Not the Rule

When you stop and think about it, the shoulder is an amazing part of the body. It enables us to do everything from throwing a baseball, to washing our hair in the shower, to giving our kids a place to sit during a parade. Our shoulders also play a role in keeping us balanced and steady as we walk, run and sit.

The shoulder is a very movable joint with a wide range of motion that allows you to move your arms frontward, backward, up, down and around in circles. With this mobility and range of motion comes a greater vulnerability to injury, so we need to maintain our shoulders with regular stretching and exercise as well as proper bio-mechanics in daily life.

Performing the stretches illustrated in the photos below on a regular basis will help you maintain flexibility and range of motion in your shoulder. If you have a chronic shoulder condition or recently suffered an injury in the shoulder area, please consult your physician before performing these or any exercises.

shoulder collage

Stretches performed by Dr. Justin of West End Physical therapy

Whether you feel shoulder pain when watering plants or swinging a tennis racket, one of the biggest mistakes we can make is refusing to get shoulder pain checked out because we’re afraid we might need surgery. An even bigger mistake is having surgery for a condition that can be treated through non-surgical means.

Unless there is a tear in a muscle, tendon or cartilage in the shoulder area, most painful conditions of the shoulder – like tendonitis, bursitis, myalgia, joint restriction and capsulitis – can be treated conservatively without surgery. It’s possible that you simply need to rest your shoulder and let inflammation subside.

If you notice numbness, stiffness, tingling, burning, pain while sleeping, or consistent pain that just won’t go away, you should definitely  let us take a look at your shoulder. That’s your body’s way of telling you something isn’t quite right.

At Natural Healthare Center, we can diagnose the cause of your shoulder pain through a comprehensive physical exam, and  x-ray or MRI (if necessary). Non-surgical treatment could include chiropractic care, physical therapy, stretching and resistance exercises, acupuncture, massage and bracing. We may prescribe home therapies, including ice and heat, and kinesio taping, which helps to both heal and stabilize the shoulder.

If we determine that you do need shoulder surgery, whether it’s rotator cuff repair or repair of a torn labrum, we can refer you to the right surgeons. Then, you can come back to us for post-surgical physical therapy and rehabilitation to help you regain strength, range of motion and stability in the muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder.

Again, don’t make the mistake of letting shoulder pain go unexamined, and make sure you realize surgery is a last resort, not the first option. This is the year of the family. The first step to taking your health back – and living pain-free – is to answer your body when it says something is wrong, and shoulder pain is no exception.

What types of activities have caused you to experience shoulder pain, and what have you done about it?

Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Prood­ian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.


About Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician, health educator, and professional public speaker who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise is in identifying clinical imbalances and restoring the body to health and functionality. Contact: or (732) 222‑2219.

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