A Shoulder Issue

We have heard a lot about this body part. If you aren’t enamoured with someone, you possibly give them the ‘cold shoulder’. It is where we carry around things of a serious nature, i.e., ‘shouldering our responsibilities’. We are asked to put in our best effort by putting ‘the shoulder to the wheel’.

The shoulder is one of the body’s most complex anatomical arrays of connective tissue. This allows for a high range of motion, being one of the most freely moveable joints, but comes at the expense of decreased stability of the joint. As such, it is prone to dislocation and injury.

In bygone days I am thinking Chinese physicians must have seen a lot of problems involving this joint; enough for them to coin a phrase: ‘fifty-year shoulder’. Indeed, in clinic I see a lot of shoulder problems in clients aged between 45 and 65. Usually there are a number of factors at play, including genetics, occupational pressures, stress, long term postural effects,  ‘ego-related behaviours’, (e.g.,  overdoing it, whilst working, or performing at a sport as if one was still 25) and wear-and-tear from the good old ageing process.


Possible degeneration can result in: calcification, tendinitis, connective tissue tears, bursitis, arthritis, and what is more generally termed, ‘rotator cuff injury’. The rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. The more complex injuries to the shoulder can require surgical intervention.

I have developed an approach that sees the shoulder in the context of an entire area, comprising upper arm, shoulder, neck and upper back. Treatment is aimed at reorganising a large zone of musculature and no one joint specifically, even though the shoulder is certainly central and a focal point.

Chinese medicine provides an array of stimuli that can be applied to a shoulder problem. These include, acupuncture needling, which is often focused on compensating and balancing the dysfunctional shoulder area, via needling into channels (meridians) that are distant to the shoulder itself.  Other tools include: suction cupping; acupressure; electro-acupuncture devices (like a TENS machine) and the use of adhesive plasters.

If you have found this article useful to your health-sustaining ef please feel free to send it on to anyone you know who might require assistance in dealing with a chronic musculoskeletal condition.

To your excellent health.

Michael is at Bardon Counselling and Therapy Centre from 9am to 6pm

  • Monday
  • Wednesday
  • Friday

To make an appointment, call Michael on 0411 537394, or the Bardon Centre on 07-3368 1300.

Be aware that Michael also offers a free 30-minute Assessment Consultation to anyone considering treatment, who wishes to ask questions before committing to a course of treatment.

Gift Vouchers are always available for special occasions, or for your workmates, friends or family members who may be struggling with a health condition.

Acupuncture treatments can be claimed on your Private Health Cover.





Acupuncture effective for shoulder Pain 2004 Dec;112(3):289-298.   doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2004.08.030.

Distal  Acupressure benefits Neck and Shoulder Muscles
Evidenced Based Complement Alternate Med. 2014;2014:283010).   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24696701
Electro-acupuncture hastens pain relief for frozen shoulder: The effect of electroacupuncture merged with rehabilitation for frozen shoulder syndrome: A single-blind randomized sham-acupuncture controlled study.
J Formos Med Assoc. 2019 May 13. pii: S0929-6646(18)30923-9
·  [Electro-acupuncture promotes repair of rotator cuff injury in rats].
Song W, Han X, Li K, Chen C, Wang H, Zheng X. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2020 Oct 30;40(10):1513-1517. doi: 10.12122/j.issn.1673-4254.2020.10.19. PMID: 33118514 Free PMC article. Chinese.
Treatments for shoulder impingement syndrome: a PRISMA systematic review and network meta-analysis

Wei Dong  1 Hans GoostXiang-Bo LinChristof BurgerChristian PaulZeng-Li WangTian-Yi ZhangZhi-Chao JiangKristian WelleKoroush Kabir Affiliations PMID: 25761173  PMCID: PMC4602475 DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000000510
German Randomized Acupuncture Trial for chronic shoulder pain (GRASP) – a pragmatic, controlled, patient-blinded, multi-centre trial in an outpatient care environment  Albrecht F Molsberger  1 Thomas SchneiderHermann GotthardtAttyla Drabik  Affiliations PMID: 20655660 DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.06.036
Chinese acupuncture for chronic shoulder pain: 65% response rate at 6 weeks compared with 24% with sham acupuncture and 37% with standard conservative orthopaedic treatment.  Ernst E. Evid Based Med. 2011 Jun;16(3):79-80. doi: 10.1136/ebm1181. Epub 2011 Jan 12.



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