Shoulder pain is prevalent, and it can be gradual or abrupt. If something terrible happens to your shoulder, it may cause excruciating pain limiting movement.
If you are experiencing shoulder pain, our specialists at New Medical Center will diagnose and treat all types of shoulder pain.
What to Do When the Shoulder Hurts
Shoulder pain occurs for various reasons. It may be due to an accident, fall, age, or an underlying medical condition like arthritis or disc herniation. It can also stem from problems in other parts of the body, known as radiating pain.
When experiencing immense pain, swelling, bleeding, redness, or tenderness and warmth around the joint, seek medical attention immediately to get a diagnosis.
For mild shoulder pain, modify your daily activities, do light stretches, and take anti-inflammatory medication to alleviate pain. Resting and applying ice packs relieve the pain. However, if the pain persists for a few days or weeks, seek medical attention.
For shoulder pain that is sudden or not connected to an injury, call 911 immediately because it may be a heart attack symptom. Other symptoms include dizziness, sweating profusely, neck/jaw pain, chest tightening, and difficulty in breathing.
Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
Pain that exceeds two weeks needs treatment. The following are some causes of shoulder pain:
Different types of trauma can cause shoulder pain, such as falling on the side of the arm or a stretched-out arm. Motorbike or car accidents and falling from a bicycle can lead to sudden injury to the shoulder. This can lead to bone breaks, injury to the tendons, and dislocation leading to pain.
2. Repetitive Overhead Activity
The space between the shoulder blade and shoulder tendon decreases when reaching overhead. This leads to tendon pinching beneath the bony part of the shoulder blade, causing painful impingement syndrome.
Prolonged, repetitive, or awkward movements in the shoulder may lead to chronic pain referred to as repetitive strain injury (RSI) or cumulative trauma disorder. People whose working conditions involve keeping their arms above the shoulder level are common, like teachers, athletes, carpenters, painters, and homemakers.
Repetitive strain to one group of muscles (rotator cuff) and tendons in the shoulder makes them fray leading to tearing. Shoulder pain occurs mainly at night when trying to lift or move things around, causing a crackling sound during movement.
3. Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a condition that limits the range of motion. Shoulder freezing occurs due to long periods of inactivity because of surgery, pain, or illness leading to inflammation and adhesions (bands of stiff tissues). Scar tissue develops in severe cases leading to limited joint movement.
Symptoms include swelling, stiffness, and pain. Typically, it takes two to nine months for the condition to develop.
4. Medical Conditions
Various medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, and hypothyroidism are prone to shoulder joint afflictions. These conditions may cause inflammatory issues, frozen shoulders, pain, and stiffness of the shoulder joint.
5. Poor Posture
Poor posture when standing, sitting, or exercising can cause shoulder pain. People with rounded shoulder postures may experience pinching of the shoulders’ bursa, tendons, and muscles.
Hunching or slouching creates stress and pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Poor posture if left untreated, may lead to chronic pain, fatigue, and difficulty in breathing.
Improving posture increases energy levels and improves breathing. To understand a good posture, stand against a wall and ensure contact with the upper back, hips, and head.
Prevention and Treatment
Treatment options depend on the severity and cause of shoulder pain. Surgery, occupational therapy, and pain medications are some standard treatment options. For example, shoulder dislocations, fractures, and separations require assistance from a doctor to put the shoulder back in place. A sling holds the shoulder in place for proper healing.
Follow the doctors’ advice carefully, especially if you have had surgery.
Minor shoulder pain can be alleviated using home remedies. Placing ice packs or heat pads relieves shoulder pain. Taking over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or paracetamols and rubbing creams or gels on the shoulder also ease the pain.
Treatment plans for shoulder pain may also include light exercises to stretch and strengthen the shoulder joint. Performing shoulder exercises for six to eight weeks helps prevent the reoccurrence of pain. A physiotherapist offers guidance on the best exercises for rehabilitation.
Prevention is better than cure. Here is how you can prevent shoulder pain:
- Always Warm-up and exercise properly.
- Avoid straining when reaching out for something -use a step stool.
- Listen to your body by not ignoring pain or soreness after performing any activity.
- Use good posture when sitting or standing.
- Consume a healthy diet, and exercise frequently.
You don’t have to live with shoulder pain. Contact New Medical Center today to find out how we can help you.