top of page

Mysterious Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is a complaint we see frequently at Short Chiropractic. Job #1 for us is to find the cause of the pain - and that can be a mystery. Often, the pain is coming from something other than the shoulder joint. Pinched nerves in the cervical spine (neck) can cause pain to radiate through the shoulder or an inflamed joint in the cervical spine can cause pain to be referred to the shoulder. In a similar fashion, the gallbladder or heart can refer to pain in the shoulder region. Even the upper thoracic spine and upper ribs can generate pain through the back of the shoulder.

If the shoulder joint (3 bones, 4 articulations and numerous muscles and ligaments) is the source of the pain, then which specific tissue(s) is involved? Once that’s determined, we can peel back another layer and ask ourselves, why is that tissue painful? Are there underlying biomechanical issues causing tissue strain? For example, rounded shoulders is a very common postural deviation that we find with the majority of patients with shoulder muscle/tendon trouble. We want to work to find a solution to the issue that will give you the best results.

(Themes, 2016)

Shoulder surgery is absolutely necessary in some cases. I should know. I have 3 titanium anchors in my shoulder from tendon reattachment surgery. We routinely refer patients for MRI and surgical evaluation but the majority of the time we are able to help patients avoid surgery with treatment and home rehabilitative exercises.

Dr. Brett Short

Themes, U. F. O. (2016, December 5). Structure and function of the shoulder complex [Fig. 4-12]. Musculoskeletal Key. Retrieved February 22, 2022, from


bottom of page