Shoulder Pain Treatment

Shoulder Pain Treatment

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 7.5 million people in the United States visited a physician’s office in 2006 for shoulder related problems (1). If this is the number of people reported in a government survey you could bet that there are many more millions of unreported Americans that are seeking shoulder pain treatment.  With the large numbers of people suffering from shoulder pain, having an effective treatment program for conservative shoulder pain treatment is important.

As described in the previous article The Healing Potential and Mechanism of Action of Low Level Laser Therapy, low-level laser therapy has a proven ability to stimulate tissue healing and decrease pain. In practice low-level laser therapy has been very effective in getting efficient long lasting results with patients presenting with shoulder pain.

A 66-year-old female patient presented to me 3 months ago with a complaint of constant right shoulder pain that was 9 out of 10 and the inability to even lift a coffee cup to her mouth with her right arm. The shoulder pain had been persistent for 3 months before she visited the office. She reported not having any treatment or imaging for her problem prior to visiting my office. On observation she was unable to abduct her right shoulder past 40 degrees without pain and compensatory shoulder hiking.  After further examination she was diagnosed as having right rotator cuff syndrome involving the supraspinatus and deltoid muscles with suspected partial rotator cuff tear. The patient refused diagnostic imaging and wanted to proceed with conservative treatment. After one shoulder pain treatment using 5-10 minutes of low level laser therapy, percussion therapy to some local trigger points, and chiropractic adjusting the patient reported a 30% reduction in shoulder pain and exhibited the ability to abduct her right shoulder 60 degrees before feeling pain and hiking her shoulder. After continuing with the same shoulder pain treatment one time per week for 6 weeks the patient reported 95% shoulder pain reduction, could abduct her right shoulder 160 degrees, and most importantly she could once again drink coffee with her right arm. We have since been able to maintain this result and introduce some light exercise in the shoulder along with continued wellness visits (2).

Before introducing low-level laser therapy into practice similar shoulder pain treatment outcomes took about twice as long and getting the immediate first visit pain relief and increase function was not very common. Low level laser therapy is effective, safe, and so easy to implement that you could even train an assistant to administer the therapy prior to the doctor portion of the patient’s treatment. In part II of this article the method for identifying and implementing low level therapy for shoulder pain used in practice will be described.

Dr. Miller maintains an active practice in Avon, Colorado near Beaver Creek ski resort and runs a health blog with a growing following. He can be contacted through his website:



1)   National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey 1998-2006. Data obtained from: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Center for Health Statistics.

2)   Clinical data from Dr. Sean Miller DC PLLC in Avon, CO


  1. this article was recently published in Chiropractic Economics, to read on their website follow this link:

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