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Some Of The Most Common Causes Of Shoulder Pain

Some Of The Most Common Causes Of Shoulder Pain

27 November 2015 / Category: News
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Male Osteopath Treating Female Patient With Shoulder ProblemShoulder injuries are common and there are many causes of shoulder pain including rotator cuff injury, frozen shoulder, arthritis and so forth. It’s important to identify the cause of your shoulder pain in order to get the proper treatment.

Your shoulders carry the weight of the world and you use them for so many different things, in fact your shoulders are incredibly complex thanks to their wide range of motion.

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with three main bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the humerus (long arm bone), and the scapular (shoulder blade). These bones have a cushion of cartilage protecting them as well as two main joints, the acromioclavicular joint and the glenohumeral joint. The unique makeup of the shoulder makes it the most mobile joint in your body, largely thanks to the rotator cuff.

Shoulders can be injured in many ways, including sports, manual labor, or repetitive movement. Disease of the cervical spine, as well as heart disease and liver disease may also contribute to shoulder pain. Shoulder issues become more common with age, especially after 60 as the soft tissues that protect the shoulder begin to degrade.

We have outlined some of the most common causes of shoulder pain below.

Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is assigned with the task of giving your shoulder its vast range of motion. A key indicator that you have injury or inflammation of the rotator cuff is if you experience pain when lifting your arms overhead. The rotator cuff is made up of four key muscles and tendons that work together to stabilize the shoulder. Overuse, acute injury, or repetitive lifting can lead to rotator cuff strains. 

Signs of rotator cuff injury include:

  • Pain when sleeping on your shoulder.
  • Inability to achieve full range of motion in shoulders without pain.
  • Painful, tender shoulders, especially at night.
  • Weakening of the shoulders that continually worsen.
  • Avoiding activities you used to enjoy due to pain.

Another common issue that may cause rotator cuff pain is tendinitis. Tendinitis causes inflammation of your tendons. In most cases this can be treated allowing you to return to a normal life with full range of motion in shoulders.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

The thoracic outlet is the small space located between your first rib and your collarbone. This area has a number of blood vessels, muscles and nerves that pass through, and if the thoracic outlet is not large enough all of these working parts become painfully compressed. If there is too much pressure on blood vessels or nerves you will experience shoulder pain as a result. It is also common to experience numbness or tingling that reaches down to your hands. The thoracic outlet can become too small for a few reasons, including the presence of an extra rib, obesity, poor posture, overuse, and injury.

Symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome include:

  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness of hands or fingers.
  • Pain in your shoulders, neck or arms.
  • Swelling or redness of your arm.
  • Cold hands or arms.
  • Hands and arms quickly become fatigued.
  • Difficult to lift anything heavy over your heard.
  • Limited range of motion in shoulders and arms.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis, but regardless what it’s called it limits shoulder range of motion. Due to thickening of tissues in the shoulder joint scar tissue gets in the way of your shoulder’s ability to properly rotate. This condition is most common in people between 40 and 60-years of age.

Causes of frozen shoulder include long periods of inactivity due to surgery, illness or injury, as well as hormonal imbalance, diabetes, or a weakened immune system. Generally it takes between 2 and 9 months to develop frozen shoulder.

Symptoms of frozen shoulder include:

  • Pain in the shoulder that causes limited range of motion.
  • Inability to reach for something above your head without experiencing pain.
  • Swelling and stiffness in your shoulder.

Other Causes Of Shoulder Pain

There are many other causes of shoulder pain than what is detailed above. Some other common causes include:

  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Bone spurs
  • Tendinitis
  • Ripped cartilage
  • Pinched nerves
  • Broken shoulder bone
  • Broken arm
  • Shoulder separation—this is caused when the ligaments responsible for holding the collarbone and shoulder blade together become torn forcing the collarbone out of place.
  • Dislocated shoulder—this occurs when the ball of the humerus is dislocated from the shoulder socket.
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Heart attack

Treatment For Shoulder Pain

If you are experiencing pain in your shoulders you need to rest for at least several days, avoiding all activities and movements that contribute to pain. You may also take over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce inflammation and discomfort. Using an elastic bandage to compress the sore area may also help reduce swelling.

If shoulder pain persists after a few days you should visit your local Urgent Medical Center. Our attentive, compassionate and highly qualified staff will identify the source of your pain and get you on the road to recovery. (Reference)

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