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Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is a common issue that could occur due to various causes.

Most shoulder problems only affect a small area and should last a relatively short time. But sometimes the problem in your shoulder could be part of a wider, long-term condition such as, osteoarthritis or polymyalgia rheumatica. It’s fairly common for people with rheumatoid arthritis to have pain and swelling in their shoulders. Osteoarthritis is less likely to affect your shoulders than other joints, unless you’ve injured them in the past. There are several other possible causes of shoulder pain, such as: inflammation, where your shoulder becomes hot, red, swollen and painful as a natural reaction to an infection or injury damage to the muscles and tendons around the shoulder tension in the muscles between the neck and shoulder – this is usually down to your posture in your upper back or neck, and is often linked the way you stand or sit when you’re using a computer or at work, inflammation in the bursa – a fluid-filled cushion which normally helps the muscles and tendons slide smoothly over the shoulder bones damage to the bones and cartilage, which can be caused by arthritis.

Are you Suffering from Shoulder Pain?

Causes of Shoulder Pain

There are various causes of shoulder pain including:

  • Disorders of the rotator cuff – This is the most prevalent cause of shoulder pain. A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint that helps keep the shoulder stable.
  • Frozen shoulder – This is a painful condition that reduces normal movement in the joint. Sometimes, this condition can result in the complete immobility of the shoulder. - Shoulder instability – In this condition, the shoulder is rather unstable and may have an abnormally long range of motion.
  • Fracture of the upper arm bone or collar bone
  • Osteoarthritis in the shoulder joints
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Poor posture

Shoulder pain could also be caused due to a problem in areas other than the shoulder such as neck or bicep.

Shoulder Pain Symptoms and Diagnosis

While diagnosing shoulder pain, your doctor will first conduct a thorough physical examination to:

  • Compare your shoulders - Check whether your joint is dislocated
  • Check for any bruising, redness or swelling
  • Check if any pressure applied to your joints and bones causes any pain
  • Check if any particular arm movements are causing pain

Depending on the results of this examination, your doctor may prescribe certain investigative tests
such as:

  • X-ray: An X-ray of your shoulder joint will help detect any problems with the bones. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – This test will help detect problems with soft tissues such as tendons and ligaments.
  • Ultrasound scan: This test can also help diagnose problems with ligaments, tendons and joints.
  • Blood tests:These tests will help identify if there is any underlying issue such as a cancerous tumor, diabetes or polymyalgia rheumatica causing the shoulder pain.

How to Treat Shoulder Pain?

To treat shoulder pain, your doctor may initially suggest some pain killers and ice packs to manage the pain and reduce the inflammation. You may also be asked to refrain from activities that aggravate your symptoms.

Depending on the severity and cause of shoulder pain, other treatments may be recommended such as physiotherapy, corticosteroids injections (medication containing hormones) and in extreme cases, surgery.

How can Shoulder Pain be prevented?

Practice simple shoulder exercises to help strengthen and stretch your rotator cuff tendons. Use ice after exercising if you have had issues with your shoulder previously.

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