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Guest Column: Shoulder pain relief

February 9, 2011

By Dr. R.G. Hotchkiss
Center for Shoulder Pain

For many years in my practice, patients would complain of trouble with their shoulders and of shoulder pain. I would then perform diagnostic procedures, both clinical and by X-ray and other methods to determine the cause. On some occasions, the pain could be diagnosed as resulting from osteoarthritis, frozen shoulder, or torn rotator cuff. Such diagnosis would result in specific treatments and/or referrals to other specialists. It was amazing, though, that in most of the cases where the patient was complaining of shoulder pain, no specific cause could be identified. The discomfort and mobility problems that the patient was experiencing were real enough, but the cause was not specifically identifiable.

When such cases were found, standard chiropractic treatments were used in an attempt to alleviate the problem. Although these treatments tended to reduce or alleviate the symptoms, they would tend to reappear within one to seven days, which would require the patient to return for additional treatment in an attempt to re-establish the positive results of the first treatments.

Several years ago, I met Dr. Pat E. Belcher, a chiropractor from Atlanta. This doctor was the developer of a new technology called “Intracell.” That system is successfully used to treat several soft tissue disorders, including fibromyalgia syndrome, a disorder of generalized muscular pains, aches, soreness and stiffness. I initially became interested in that technology as a treatment for complaints of diffused muscular pains and symptoms. Some research into the technology reveals that it had been approved by the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy and had been abstracted by Florida State University in a study of muscular flexibility, power and strength. I also discovered that several athletic groups used this system, including athletes from Tour de France as well as Olympic bobsledding.

I, therefore, ordered the roller devices, which are used in this Intracell system, and started to use them in my practice as one general method of addressing muscular problems. In doing so, I established a study format where I used feedback from the patients to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. Initially, however, I was not using the Intracell specifically to address idiopathic (no known cause) shoulder girdle pain.

About four years ago, I had a male patient in his mid-50s complaining of long-term direct and referred pain in his shoulder area. This patient indicated to me that he had been to several doctors who had performed different diagnoses and X-rays, but that no cause or treatment for his problem could be found. I then decided to try Intracell on the patient’s shoulder. When I did so, he indicated that there were areas of the muscular soreness, but that he could feel the results of the Intracell in his fingers and arm on the same side as the shoulder complaint. The initial treatment resulted in a reduction of the shoulder pain, plus increased mobility. The initial treatment was so successful that the patient returned, and we set up a program to work with him over several visits. As a result, the symptoms were entirely relieved, and mobility returned to normal for an individual in his age group. That was four years ago, and the patient has not had a recurrence of that shoulder problem.

Having such a treatment regime work on just one patient could be anomaly. I, therefor, started to use the Intracell technology on every patient who presented with idiopathic shoulder pain. In the interim, I have used this system on several hundred patients with results very similar to those experienced by the first patient. I have found that, with the exception of torn rotator cuff, frozen shoulder and other systemic health problems such as diabetes or thyroid dysfunction, the treatment was effective in a very high percentage of the patients on whom it was used. It should be noted that many of the patients came to me by referral from other patients who had experienced relief as a result of my treatment. They were really last-resort type patients who had tried every other treatment and/or the use of pain killers and anodynes with no positive results. I found myself working with patients who came to me after several treatments had failed.

The experience of working with hundreds of patients has allowed me to develop and refine the techniques that I have used in this treatment for shoulder problems with the result that effectiveness of the treatment has been even better over time.

Dr. R.G. Hotchkiss has practiced chiropractic in Rochelle and Rockford for more than 30 years. He received his D.C.—Doctor of Chiropractic—degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, in 1974. Dr. Hotchkiss has completed advanced post-graduate studies for carpal tunnel syndrome and was an instructor for the Physician’s Academy in Dallas, for several years. He may be reached at (815) 980-3807.

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