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Shoulder Bursitis: A Chiropractic and Alternative Medicine Approach

Shoulder Bursitis 

It’s that awful pain in your shoulder that seems to have come out of nowhere.  You weren’t  really doing anything different or extra stressful, but now you have this  deep ache in your shoulder. It started by getting some of your attention because it just seemed to stay with you all day and it didn’t respond well to the usual over the counter NASAID drugs. Bursitis, at its minimal level may just leave within a few days just as insidiously as it arrived and that’s a good thing. Shoulder bursitis at its worst can morph into a frozen shoulder where the pain is super intense and you can’t lift your arm away from your body.

Insidious Onset or Traumatic? Either way it hurts.

The usual causes of shoulder bursitis are related to some kind of repetitive injury such as throwing or a trauma such as falling, but I have been seeing many cases where there is no apparent trauma or repetitive injury. What’s going on with these cases has more to do with body physiology then trauma. In either case my first question is, “what is the body pH?” This has to do with how acidic or alkaline your body is. An easy check is to take some pH paper and put it in your mouth with some spit, then check the color against a color chart that is provided on the pH paper container. If your salivary pH is under 7 you are slightly acidic and over 7 you are slightly alkaline. Shoulder bursitis thrives in the overly alkaline environment.

Out of control inflammation and tissue destruction.

The next issue has to do with inflammatory processes that are out of control. The bursa tissue provides a cushion between bony surfaces and it provides lubrication between these bony surfaces as well as cushioning and lubrication to tendons that cross over the joint. The lubricating fluid of the bursa is synovial fluid which contains a lot of white blood cells and a thin layer of capillary bed. This is important because this tissue takes a beating in normal day to day activities thus there is a lot of tissue cleanup that is constantly necessary. Because of the nature of this limited blood supply and abundance of white blood cells, it is the perfect medium for inflammation. If the body ph is too alkaline, fluid transfer is diminished and the passive metabolic waste products and nutrient transfer that keeps the tissue healthy becomes too sluggish. When this happens calcium can become imbedded into the bursal tissue and a hardening effect of the soft  cushioning bursa tissue can begin. This is the path to chronic bursitis. Also, when the circulation is impeded the inflammatory process begins as an attempt to engulf any damaged tissue by creating more white blood cell activity. The problem with this immuno/physiologic measure is an over excited immune response to dead and dying tissue. This results in the release of cytokines and histamine which leads to swelling and over-the-top shoulder pain and movement limitation.

Chiropractic, Reflexology, Nutritional, Herbal and Essential Oil Therapy Offers a Comprehensive Natural and Effective Approach and Long Term Relief.

What now!  Ok! Ok! I get it. You want relief and you want it now! Let’s start with a pH correction. I like to use a preparation of calcium chloride and ammonium chloride. These are substances that are found in the Standard Process product known as Cal Amo. Now let’s pull some of that calcium back out of the tissue and support a more balanced immune system with some vitamin D, not too much, and some essential fatty acids.   To deal with the inflammation let’s use an herbal complex of Boswellia, Ginger, Celery Seed and Turmeric.

I like the Medi-Herb product Boswellia Complex. I have also found that in chronic shoulder bursitis conditions there should be a consideration for capillary bed restoration, as it is often the case that the inflammatory process damages the circulatory bed. I use the herbal preparation Gotu Kola for restoration of capillary permeation into scared connective tissue. Studies also show improved capillary restoration in scared bony epiphyseal plate tissue.

Diet and water intake can not be ignored.

Of course diet is not to be ignored. If you are living on donuts and hamburgers and drinking Red Bull all day, you’re going to have to make some changes and get some real nutrition and hydration into your system at least 3X a day. Let’s start with lots of spring water, fruits and raw veggies like apple, celery and carrot and a couple of dark green leaf salads every day. Try some salmon and tuna instead of just pork and red meat or even better some raw nuts and seeds and don’t forget the lightly steamed beets and broccoli.

As an additional caveat to shoulder bursitis treatment we pay close attention to the nerve supply of this tissue so chiropractic is important. Upper cervical and mid cervical nerve system interferences from vertebral subluxation is the usual chiropractic culprit. We also start with passive range of motion therapy as well as ice and heat treatment directed at the ailing shoulder. Ultrasound is a wonderful modality to mobilize that calcified bursal tissue. At the Seaside Wellness Center we always use Reflexology with the Young Living Essential Oils as a way to promote balanced physiology and healing processes and open up the mind/body connection. Some of our go to Young Living essential oils would be Frankincense, PanAway and Valor.

Dr. John Weisberg and Daryl D. Weisberg, M.S.

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