What is shoulder pain? Its Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, and Exercises
What is shoulder pain?
Shoulder pain might be a common problem for many people. It is an irritating pain that can cause disturbances in your daily life. It becomes difficult to lift objects and do small tasks that involve your shoulder and arm.
The shoulder (glenohumeral) is a ball and socket joint. Our arm consists of the ball that fits into the shoulder blade. This joint allows 360-degree movement in any direction, unlike any other joint in the body.
The muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder form a capsule, but this is also the reason why shoulders tend to dislocate or get damaged. You might be raising your arm, lifting, throwing, or using it in full range, which causes tears and nerve damage.
Here is everything you need to know about shoulder pain and how to overcome in quickly!
How does shoulder pain occur?
Most shoulder pain is a small term occurrence. It lasts for a few days or weeks until it gets better on its own with some light treatment like medication or a hot and cold press. However, other times, it can affect a person for longer periods.
There is also a possibility that shoulder pain occurs when it is a part of another deep-rooted condition. This could include conditions like osteoarthritis or polymyalgia rheumatica. People with arthritis have swelling and pain in most of their joints, which can also include their shoulders.
Injury and Trauma
Another reason why your shoulder might be hurting is due to a fall or injury. People who are parts of contact sports like basketball, hockey, rugby, or football are using their entire bodies in high-risk sports where it is very possible to get injured during training and practice.
Moreover, high-risk activities like rafting and skiing also increase the risk of developing shoulder pain over time. These activities can cause damage to the muscles by tearing them that can develop pain and problems in movement.
A lot of the time, the reason why most people experience pain in the shoulder, is due to their posture. Often times, people have an incorrect posture for the upper back and neck. This can happen during your day to day activities.
You’re probably using the computers walking or sitting this can lead to shoulder and back pain very often especially in middle age People who have decreased activity in their daily lives
Damage to the bones
Shoulder pain can occur after a fracture in the bone or even damaged nerves in the shoulder region. Bone damage is also a common symptom for those who have arthritis, and it can further lead to pain and tightness in the shoulder.
There are many times where your body becomes inflamed in as a national natural reaction to an infection you will be visibly able to tell whether your shoulder is inflamed swollen hot red horse itchy doctors might put you on a course of antibiotics to cure the problem
The Bursa is the area where which is filled with fluid, and it cushions the muscles, tendons and the ball and socket join in our shoulder. If there is inflammation in the Bursa, it tightens around the socket and might cause pain and discomfort when moving your arm. It can restrict your range of motion
Problems in other parts of the body
Sometimes you might be getting shoulder pain just because you have pain in another part of your body such as your spine or neck. This is also called radiated or referred pain where you feel a tingling sensation in your arm and shoulder.
Is it the right time to visit a doctor?
If your shoulder pain has occurred you due to a serious injury or has lasted over a long period, then it is time to visit your doctor. You can try treating your shoulder pain up to a few days or a maximum of 2 weeks until you should opt for seeing a physiotherapist or a Doctor.
A doctor can prescribe the proper medication, exercises, or a treatment plan fit to your needs. If you start developing fever have pain all over your body, including neck and spine, then you should get it checked out.
Severe pain in both of your shoulders that often is not manageable with medication is also a sign that you visit your physician as soon as possible. Certain symptoms indicate deep-rooted problems like polymyalgia rheumatica and developing arthritis which need prompt treatment.
Getting a Proper Diagnosis
Getting a proper diagnosis essential to start treatment situations make sure you visit your physician and explain your symptoms properly whether you feel pain fever or ache around the body your doctor will prescribe you medications according to your condition.
The first thing they recommend getting a confirmed diagnosis is imaging tests. This includes X-rays which are good for inspecting the bone. X-rays are especially useful when the shoulder pain is due to a damaged bone or a patient with has experienced an injury or fall.
The only con, however, is that while X Rays can study the bone properly, they cannot show soft tissues like muscles and tendons that surround the area. This might not show the full picture and eliminate other possibilities of pain.
This is also why some doctors might recommend an ultrasound! An ultrasound is done for both of the shoulders. Later their images are compared for any abnormalities and differences. It can show the soft tissues in much more detail as compared to an X-ray.
The last option a doctor might recommend is Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This technology scans your body in complete detail. It shows both bones, and soft tissues like muscles and tendons/ Oftentimes doctors recommend injecting dye to get an even clearer picture of what might be wrong with the patient.
Shoulder pain while can heal on its own with some medication, some cases take much longer to heal. Here are some options you can opt for during treatment.
Physical therapy is essential for people with shoulder aches and problems. It strengthens the muscles and improves your stability and flexibility. Your doctor may recommend certain massage techniques, stretching exercises, and therapy that can help your range of movement.
It is also recommended that older people who have weakened muscles. It can help improve their coordination and posture overtime. Exercises also prevent any kind of stiffness you might be having in the joint and further improves its function. Massaging and manipulation can significantly make a difference for many patients.
2. Wearing a shoulder brace
Often times, doctors might recommend a shoulder brace. A shoulder brace provides you with extra support. It can take the burden off your shoulders and improve your range of motion. Certain shoulder braces help improve posture and sleeping position as well. You can wear a shoulder brace along with an exercise regime to improve your pain over time.
Doctors might also recommend steroid injections to those with severe pain that is not manageable otherwise. The injection can help control discomfort, inflammation, and pain. It also frees up your range of movement and helps put patients at ease for a certain time period.
Although injections are aimed towards treating the symptoms instead of the cause of the problem itself. It can provide the patient with temporary comfort but cannot cure the ailment.
Surgery is also an option doctors opt for in cases that have elongated periods of pain.
· Non-invasive Surgery
If you have continuously long periods of shoulder pain that are not manageable with medication, not injections, the doctors might recommend keyhole surgery. These surgeries are not invasive and also help you recover from pain much more quickly.
There are many types of surgeries that doctors can perform depending on your condition. Subacromial decompression is when the bone and the tissue on top of the shoulder is trimmed. It allows for easier movement and eliminates tightness.
Doctors can also use surgery to repair nerve damage and rotator cuff tears. They can help a frozen shoulder by releasing the capsule that tends to tighten around the joint. Although surgery is a rare option for most shoulder pains.
· Invasive surgery and shoulder replacement techniques.
In more invasive surgery techniques, a doctor might opt for a shoulder replacement. This is a viable option for athletes who have had severe damage to the bone and tissue of the shoulder region or after certain injuries or falls.
5. Pain killers and Medication
Pain killers are the first method that doctors recommend as soon as you complain about shoulder pain. This can also include anti-inflammatory drugs or simple painkiller searches paracetamol. Another option is ibuprofen tablets and gels, which are also recommended to control swelling and discomfort.
6. Hot and cold press
Heat and cooling therapy are a great way to get rid of swelling and pain. You can use a bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a towel or a reusable hot pack for therapy.
They tend to ease muscles that are tense and sore. You can get hot water packs and cooling pads from your local chemist or pharmacy. They are cheap and effective methods of relieving you of your pain.
Can shoulder pain be prevented?
Shoulder pain can be difficult to deal with it restricts your range of motion and results in difficulties in doing day-to-day tasks. Here are some ways you can prevent pain in the future!
Correct your Posture
A lot of the time, people experience shoulder pain due to incorrect posture. Start working on your posture like slouching at your desk and correcting your working habits. Here are some tips that will help you correct your posture:
- Stop leaning on your shoulders and slouching down during work. This can very easily tense up your neck.
- Make sure you keep changing your sitting position often or take a walk every hour or so.
- Try to sit in an upright position. You could also use a chair with lumbar support or a cushion that can help maintain your posture.
- Keep using mirrors and practice holding your shoulder blades together. Imagine keeping your chest in a still position while you pull the blades downwards in backward towards each other.
In addition to this, you can also correct your position while sleeping. Try to lie down on your good side. For this, you can use proper neck pillows and back support. Using a folded pillow can also help support your arm and shoulder.
Try to make your sleeping experience as comfortable as you want. You can make use of two pillows a make sure you aren’t having incorrect posture during the night, which can affect your joints in the long run.
Reduce the strain on your body
Try not to overdo your daily activities. If you are working long hours and overworking your body, this can lead to muscle weakness, weight loss, and overall increases your risk of getting shoulder pain. It can cause people a lot of discomfort, which is why working within your physical limits is extremely necessary. Especially as you start to age and your repair mechanism grows weaker.
Shoulder pain exercises include stretches and light weightlifting. It can help improve your muscle strength and overall flexibility. You are less likely to stretch a nerve or damage them during your day to day activities.
It also helps keep you in tip-top shape, in addition to your muscles healing at a much more quicker pace then they would on average.