Learn about your spine series- Part 4: C6 Cervical Vertebra 

painful shoulder
painful shoulder

If you’re reading this, then you know that shoulder pain is nothing to be sniffed at. To say that performing daily tasks will be difficult is an understatement. A painful shoulder can negatively affect your quality of life and compromise your ability to perform simple tasks like picking up objects, lifting up your arm or even brushing your teeth.
But, have you ever wondered what causes shoulder pain? Whether it happens gradually due to old age, or abruptly due to an injury or misuse, there are certain tissues involved in the problem that once corrected, can rapidly heal shoulder pain.
As usual, we at Philani approach the issue from the purview of spine health and this article is dedicated to exploring a part of the spine which has a direct effect on shoulder function and pain.

The connection between your spine and shoulder health

If you’ve been following our “Learn about your spine series” then you know that the human spine consists of four major curvatures, each with several bones within it. The C6 part of the spine is part of the cervical curvature and is responsible for ensuring the proper function of the shoulders, the neck, and even your tonsils.

shoulder pain
shoulder pain

Common types of shoulder pain

Shoulder pain manifests in different ways according to the cause. Generally, these are some of the most common types of shoulder pain and their causes:

– Calcific Tendinitis: This condition is characterized by a sudden sharp pain that tends to flare up particularly in the mornings. It’s very common among diabetes sufferers, as well as middle-aged individuals and the elderly.

Calcific tendinitis pain stems from calcium deposits that are found in the rotator cuff tendons, which is a fancy way of saying “the part between your arm and your shoulder.” According to experts, these calcium deposits develop when one is healing from an injury in this area and are caused by an inability to heal the problem properly. The most effective treatment for this condition is to take mild pain medication or herbs like Devil’s Claw and Capsaicin, in conjunction with physical therapy methods like such as Breuss Massage to help ease the deposits out of the way.

– Osteoarthritis: This has to be one of the most common conditions that we deal with here at Philani, and not just among the elderly but with middle-aged patients as well. While most people think that osteoarthritis only affects the hands and knees, it can also manifest in the shoulders as an incessant pain that flares up every time you try to move your arm or your shoulder.

This happens due to an erosion of the cartilage cushions that stand between the bones in your shoulder. Once this happens the bones rub up against each other and can cause a gnawing pain.
The most common osteoarthritis treatments include taking corticosteroid injections, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy. The latter can be quite excruciating, especially if you rely on conventional physical therapy methods. On the other hand, Dorn Method Therapy corrects the problem without clicking or cracking the joints into place, thus reducing the amount of pain you feel during treatment sessions.

– Adhesive Capsulitis: You might be familiar with this condition as “frozen shoulder” and it happens when the tissues around the shoulder joint stiffen. It’s mostly common among middle-aged individuals that suffer from medical conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes and thyroid disorders.

Frozen shoulder can also happen after a minor injury, a tendon tear or a rotator cuff impingement. This condition makes it difficult to move the shoulder and sufferers tend to avoid all movement as a result.
The good news is that you can completely heal from adhesive capsulitis by using nonoperative treatment methods such as manual therapy.


Also, performing simple stretches on a daily basis can fast-track the healing process for frozen shoulder as well as the other conditions mentioned in this article.

Performing these stretches two to three times a week can help to alleviate pain and increase muscle flexibility as well.