I recently got a chance to see a patient who had been injured at work a few years prior. Her symptoms included neck pain, right shoulder pain and right arm pain. She had gone through treatment via the workers compensation system. This included, among other things, 6 weeks of physical therapy with little benefit. To be fair to the physical therapists involved, they were hamstrung by the fact that they only had authorization to work on the specified area of injury. For the purposes of the case, that was her right shoulder and nothing else. Even when she pointed to her neck area, they could not treat it. Finally, her case was closed and she was released with permanent residuals. Her treatment had not helped much. This is a case where the attempt to limit workers compensation costs by the carrier actually end up costing more in the long run with poor results for the injured worker.
Now that the case was closed, this freed me up to work on her whole body. I ascertained that her work injury in which her right arm had been sharply pulled had not only injured her right shoulder but her neck as well. The cervical injury was causing pinching of the nerves that ran down into her right arm. I also noticed that her pelvis was misaligned in such a way that it was unlevel when she stood. This had the effect of putting more stress on the whole spine including the cervical area. Although this was completely unrelated to the work injury, it was an additional stress on the already injured area. Interestingly, she mentioned that she had had pelvic pain ever since the birth of her child.
Adjusting the pelvis gave her great relief for that chronic area and helped straightened out her whole spine above it. Adjusting the neck, rib joints in the upper mid back and the right shoulder together reduced the pain significantly and unpinched the nerves that were radiating down her right arm. For the first time in years, she has no pain. The upshot? To get the best results, you have to look at the body as a whole.