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Chronic Rotator Cuff Injury- Getting over this injury and continuing with Crossfit

Kelsey was involved in Crossfit and was also an educator in the health industry. She had been having shoulder pain for years. She also was dealing with headaches, pain between her shoulders and low back pain. During her work day her shoulder would get "achy" while working and sitting at her desk. She heard about our clinic from a friend and was interested in the "natural" treatments we offer patients.

Kelsey was wondering if she should see an orthopedist for her shoulder since it has caused her issues for many years. We will address this conversation later in our story.

As a chiropractor that's certified in FAKTR and who frequently sees these conditions we conducted a comprehensive shoulder and full spine evaluation. We noticed the following findings in Kelsey's shoulder, upper back and neck exam. 

  • Pain and tenderness in the right rotator cuff muscle known as the supraspinatus.
  • Restricted spinal range of motion in the upper neck and between Kelsey's shoulder blades. 
  • No neurological findings or red flags associated with the disc injury.
  • No significant muscle strength decrease associated with a rotator cuff tear.
  • A history of hypermobility which correlated with the hypermobility testing completed in the clinic.

Here is a short video of Dr. Jeremy discussing shoulder pain.


After evaluating Kelsey, we discussed her condition and her prognosis. We discussed daily activities such as postural positions that can affect her shoulder and back. We discussed continuing to work out at Crossfit while she started treatment without slowing her progress. We discussed the different treatment options such as manual therapies completed in our clinic and cortisone injections.


Kelsey was condition is rotator cuff strain. She also has cervical and thoracic spine dysfunction. 

  • The primary function of the rotator cuff is to stabilize the shoulder while the larger muscles like the deltoid move it.
  • Rotator cuff strains can occur from one injury/insult, but more commonly 90% of these injuries occur due to multiple factors, including repetitive trauma or age related attrition.
  • Cervical/thoracic spine dysfunction occurs when there is altered joint function or motion in the spine.
  • Spinal dysfunction can lead to headaches known as "cervicogenic" headaches

I discussed with Kelsey our treatment plan. We could achieve the results she desired with a combination of Chiropractic and FAKTR soft tissue therapies and specific exercises for her condition. Since Kelsey was hypermobile we wanted to be specific with our adjustments. We want to get motion into the restricted segments without putting any extra force into the already hypermobile segments. I explained to Kelsey that we could obtain these results rather quickly with pain reduction over the course of 1 week and the ability to become more functional and stronger over the course of 3-4 weeks. I also explained that it may take longer to develop her strength back in her shoulder in which the shoulder has a decreased chance of future injuries. Most of this strength would be developed from a home exercise plan.

Here is the most important exercise I gave Kelsey to stretch and strengthen her shoulder. 


Following our treatment plan and completing her home exercises Kelsey noticed a decrease in her pain while sitting at work after the first visit. She was able to make it through the day pain free in 2 weeks. Kelsey has been able to continue Crossfit pain free and now comes in for treatment on an "as needed" basis to stay out of pain and maintain her overall high level of function.

Kelsey has been just one of many patients who has responded to our treatment of shoulder and back pain. If you are dealing with a similar issue feel free to start with the exercise provided. If these are not enough please reach out to our clinic. We are ready to help!

Thank You for taking the time to read Kelsey's story!

This patients name has been changed to protect privacy rights.

New Patient Special: $39 Consultation and Exam ($65 with Treatment)

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