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Acupuncture and shoulder pain

Q: I've wrenched a muscle in the top of my right arm pushing something? I get pain when I lift my arm shoulder height.  I have no pain below or above, just at shoulder height?

A: As you may be well aware, the shoulder can be affected in some very specific ways from injury which restrict movement in one direction only while leaving everything else unaffected. The glenoid cavity in which the head of the humerus sits is a very 'open' socket, and its stability comes from several groups of muscles whose tendons insert in and around the joint. The main issue for you is whether there has been a tendon strain or actual tendon damage.

 You do not mention whether you have seen your GP, but we would advise that it is probably a good idea to follow this route anyway in order to line up a consultant if need be. Our experience has been that if there are tears in the tendons these do not always heal spontaneously, mainly because it is very difficult to immobilise the joint. If there is a need for microsurgery, then you would be well advised to find out sooner rather than later.

 If it is a tendon or muscle strain, it would not take the practitioner very long to determine which groups of muscles and tendons are involved. Although we are committed to treating the individual, not simply the problem with which they attend, some problems are what they are. There may be a background against which one could anticipate that tendon tears were more likely (some people have their muscles at straining point for much of the time) but in the average case attending to the problem directly can be a viable option. This will very often involved needles where the problem is located and along the channels with which these areas connect.

 We tend to take the view that it may be necessary to supplement acupuncture treatment with exercises, and a considerable number of our members are trained in treating sports injuries. We don't keep separate listings of these, but it is usually fairly easy to track down a BAcC member who is suitably trained.

 The best option, and one which we invariably recommend, is to contact a BAcC member local to you and seek an informal face to face assessment. Most members are happy to give up a little time without charge to prospective patients to determine whether acupuncture is the best option. It might also be in your case a way of locating someone known to the local network as a 'go to'person for musculo-skeletal problems. It also has the advantage that you can meet the practitioner and see where they work before committing to treatment.

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