Are you suffering from shoulder pain? You are not alone. Millions of people worldwide suffer from shoulder pain at some point in their lives. If you are suffering from shoulder pain, the experts at Axon Health Associates are here to help. We offer various comprehensive treatment options for shoulder pain to enable you to return to the activities you enjoy.
What Is Shoulder Pain?
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint that allows a range of versatile movements. It has muscles and tendons called the rotator cuff, which gives the shoulder its range of motion. The tendons keep the shoulder stable, and the muscles allow the shoulder to rotate.
Shoulder pain is any level of discomfort in and around the shoulder joint. Shoulders suffer from injuries, sprains, strains, and stiffness called frozen shoulders. Feelings of pain may happen only when you move the shoulder. Pain sometimes is temporal, but other times, it may require diagnosis and treatment as it affects one’s daily activities and quality of life. Though one can treat the pain at home, there are cases when you need to visit medical clinics for further diagnosis and treatment.
The shoulder has various bones, such as the clavicle (collar bone), humerus (arm bone) a scapula (shoulder blades). The tendons and the muscles hold them together and cushion the joints like the rotator cuff. It also has nerves running to the arm, hands, and fluid-filled sacs that also cushion the shoulder. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, making forward and backward movements, moving the arms in a circular motion and up and away from the body. These motions are from the rotator cuff, which comprises muscles.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain is a common problem that is caused by several factors such as:
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid arthritis(RA)
- Bone spurs
- Pinched nerve
- Swollen bursa sacs/bursitis
- Frozen shoulder
- Dislocated shoulder
- Spinal cord injury
- Overuse /repetitive use
- Heart attack
- Fractures in the collar or upper arm bone
- Pregnancy (The weight and fluid gain can cause a pinched nerve)
- Overweight and obesity
- Poor posture
Symptoms of Shoulder Pain
Common symptoms may include:
- Numbness and tingling sensation
- Total loss of feelings in the shoulder area
- Muscle weakness and stiffness
- Heaviness in the arm
- Cold /warmth in the area
- Pain, aches, tenderness, and swelling
- Neck, back, or arm pain
- Redness or blue color of skin in the shoulder area
- Clicking, popping, or grinding sensation
- Limited range of motion
- Unreduced dislocation
- Loss of weight
When to See the Doctor
Seek immediate medical assistance if you experience the following symptoms:
- When you feel the heat around the joint
- Lack of shoulder mobility
- Severe pain and swelling
- Chest breathing
- Fever and redness
- Neck pain
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain beyond weeks of home treatment
- Sudden pain that is not from an injury
- Excessive sweating
- After any severe injury with a painful shoulder
- Excessive bleeding
- Unidentified ‘red flag’ trauma and weakness
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
The following risk factors may cause shoulder pain:
- Having a history of spine injury, heart, and gallbladder diseases
- Engaging in repetitive arm activities
- Sports may contribute to injury
- Age; especially after 60 years, there may be tissue degeneration
- Exposure to vibration by machines and tools
- Psychological and social factors like job pressure, stress, social support
- Occupations like cashiers, welding, secretaries, and painters
Shoulder Pain Diagnosis
To diagnose the underlying condition of your shoulder pain, your doctor will ask for your medical history and conduct a physical examination for swelling, bruising, tenderness, and check your range of motion.
You may also be asked questions to determine the cause of the pain, like; where it is located, how it began, whether it moves to other areas, and whether it is a sharp or dull pain. Additionally, you may be asked about the condition of pain at night, what makes it worse or better, and the state of the painful area.
Your doctor may order additional tests such as X-rays, MRI, CT scans, and blood tests.
Shoulder Pain Treatment
Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the shoulder pain.
Minor shoulder pains can be treated by:
- Activity modification
- Icing the shoulder (5-20 minutes) 3-4 times daily, with an ice bag /wrap ice
- Resting and limiting movements and slow return to normal activities
- Over-the-counter drugs such as nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medications for pain relief like ibuprofen
- Steroid drugs and injections in the joints and spine
- Warm compressions on the shoulder, upper arm, or neck
- Regular stretches of the neck, shoulder and back
- Physical therapy (movements, exercises, stretches, arm raising, shoulder muscle exercises)
- Wear a brace or sling for support and immobilization
- Practice good posture to keep muscles and tendons in their right place
Surgery is recommended for fracture repair, or rotator cuff tendon repair
Recovery depends on the underlying cause and overall health. Age, recurrent or prolonged symptoms, associated with the shoulder have a slow outcome.
To prevent shoulder pain, you may:
- Go for mild exercises to stretch and strengthen muscle and rotator cuff tendons
- Do simple range of motion exercises
- Listen to the body signals and stop what hurts
- Use ice to prevent future injuries
- Have a proper diet and manage weight
- Warm up before activities
- Use proper ergonomics at work
- Avoid repetitive activities.
You no longer have to suffer from shoulder pain. Call Axon Health Associates today for a customized treatment plan.