Enhancing Mobility and Comfort – Chiropractic for the Extremities

Our joints – shoulders, hips, knees, and elbows – play a crucial role in maintaining our mobility and enabling us to participate actively in life’s adventures. But what transpires when these joints begin to voice their discomfort, impeding our movement? While conventional medicine often suggests pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, or even surgery in severe cases, chiropractic care can also be worth a try!


Chiropractic – not just for the back!

Chiropractic care is renowned for its ability to address back and neck pain, often where other approaches have failed, yet its benefits for other joint-related issues are often not discussed. Whether stemming from injuries, arthritis, or the natural wear and tear of life, chiropractic care offers a non-invasive, drug-free avenue for alleviating distress in shoulders, hips, knees, and elbows. Of course, there are many other valuable approaches, such as massage and sports therapy which can also be highly effective for these kinds of issues, but today let’s look at some common issues for which chiropractic could be part of the solution.


Shoulder Pain

The shoulder is a remarkably versatile and mobile joint – is supported by four pivotal muscles and their corresponding tendons, collectively known as the rotator cuff. Should inflammation or impingement occur, you might instinctively avoid using your arm in an attempt to aid healing. Surprisingly, however, while immobilization can be a good first step (to avoid further injury) long-term immobility can exacerbate pain and even lead to a frozen shoulder. Controlled movement, counterintuitively, fosters healing.

Tendon-related issues are the primary culprits behind shoulder discomfort. Tendons, connecting shoulder muscles to bones, can get trapped, causing impingement. Inflammation leads to conditions like tendinitis or bursitis, while tears give rise to rotator cuff injuries.

Three of the most prevalent causes of shoulder pain include:

Shoulder Bursitis – Repetitive motions can cause inflammation in the fluid sac cushioning the shoulder, leading to bursitis.

Shoulder Impingement – Overhead lifting and repetitive motions might pinch tendons between or under shoulder bones, resulting in impingement, characterized by swelling and pain.

Rotator Cuff Tear –  Overuse, injury, or aging can damage the rotator cuff, causing pain during lifting and audible popping sounds.

One often overlooked aspect of shoulder problems are their link to the spine – as we’ve often said, good spinal health is the foundation for good overall health. Postural irregularities, for example, can significantly influence the likelihood of shoulder pain development. Maintaining an optimal range of motion in the shoulder and spinal joints can minimize the chances of discomfort.


Hip vs. SI Joint Pain

Distinguishing between hip and sacroiliac (SI) joint pain can be perplexing. However, pinpointing the source is critical for effective relief. The SI joint links the sacrum and pelvis, offering limited movement, whereas the hip, enabling multi-planar leg motion, is less stable. Despite structural differences, hip and SI joint pain often exhibit similar patterns, complicating diagnosis. SI joint pain can mimic low back pain, while hip pain is often provoked by walking or knee-to-chest movements.

A chiropractic evaluation is more than just a look at the spine – since we’re interested in the way your whole body moves and functions, we’re very much concerned with the root cause of the issue. Therefore, a chiropractic consultation can often recognise the telltale signs of an SI issue vs a hip problem.


Knee Pain

Do your knees ache? You’re not alone. Chronic knee pain affects about a quarter of adults, curtailing mobility and quality of life. The knee, a hinge joint primarily enabling back-and-forth and rotational movement, bears the brunt of daily activity, making trauma, misalignment, and degeneration likely culprits.

While knee pain might not be entirely preventable, adopting certain measures can optimize knee health. Weight management tops the list; each excess pound translates to four pounds of knee stress during movement, but there’s lots more we can do to help you avoid and manage knee pain.

We’ll often advise those with knee pain to spend time stretching the quads and hamstrings pre- and post-exercise and to invest in proper footwear, with enough support to prevent knee strain from foot impacts when walking.  Of course, being able to maintain a full range of motion allows the knee to work as efficiently as possible so that maintaining spine and hip mobility is also pivotal for knee health.

Striking a balance between strength and flexibility across joints is paramount. Back issues can exacerbate knee pain; swift action and proactive measures can thwart knee issues. To tackle knee discomfort and limited motion, consult our experts promptly.


Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow isn’t confined to athletes. Lateral epicondylitis, characterized by inflamed and overloaded elbow tendons due to repetitive motion, is actually much more common than you might realise. Although its moniker suggests a connection to tennis, anyone with occupation-induced repetitive arm actions faces risks – it’s not usual to see the condition in those who work in manual jobs or perhaps in construction.

Tennis elbow’s implications can also extend beyond pain, resulting in weakness that impedes daily activities. Because it’s an injury caused by repetitive motion, finding ways to decrease the inflammation and improve your biomechanics is critical.

Three natural ways to help reduce the pain associated with tennis elbow include:

Rest – Giving your arm time to rest is important to stop the cascade of inflammation and pain

Ice –  Icing a few times per hour is a smart strategy to reduce pain and inflammation.

Technique –  Be mindful of how you are moving your arm, use proper ergonomics, and use a brace for a short time if necessary

Tennis elbow is usually not a condition that will go away on its own. However, we’ve found two key strategies for reducing the pain associated with tennis below. First, begin an at-home exercise routine to strengthen your supporting muscles. The second is receiving adjustments, when necessary, to improve the motion and movement of your elbow joints. If you or someone you know has struggled with tennis elbow, call us so we can provide you with a plan to find relief.


Not just for the spine!

In conclusion, chiropractic care, while not always thought of as such, can be a great approach to treating common issues affecting the extremities. If you’re struggling with pain or lack of motion in your limbs, don’t let it keep you from the activities you love. Reach out today! We’re committed to helping you move better, feel better, and live a more fulfilling life.



Blog by / August 15, 2023 / Blog

Dr. Paul Irvine is a doctor of chiropractic who graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and in 1996, attained his Master of Chiropractic degree from Macquarie University in Australia. He practised in North Sydney for 5 years before he left Australia to travel and practise in the UK. He joined Complete Chiropractic in 2003 (est 1999) and took over the clinic in 2007