Main causes of shoulder pain and how to treat it

Main causes of shoulder pain and how to treat it

Shoulder pain is a common issue that can affect people of all ages and activity levels. Whether you’re an athlete, a desk worker, or someone who engages in physical labor, shoulder pain can significantly impact your daily life. Understanding the main causes of shoulder pain and knowing how to treat it can help you get back to your regular activities and prevent future discomfort.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

Rotator Cuff Injuries:
Description: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Injuries can range from inflammation (tendinitis) to partial or complete tears.
Symptoms: Pain and weakness when lifting or rotating the arm, and difficulty sleeping on the affected side.

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis):
Description: A condition characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint due to inflammation and thickening of the shoulder capsule.
Symptoms: Gradual onset of pain and stiffness, leading to a limited range of motion.

Shoulder Impingement:
Description: Occurs when the shoulder blade puts pressure on the underlying soft tissues when the arm is lifted.
Symptoms: Pain when lifting the arm, especially above the head, and a sensation of weakness.

Description: Inflammation of the shoulder joint, often due to osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms: Joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.

Description: Inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between bones and other moving parts.
Symptoms: Pain and swelling in the shoulder, especially when moving or pressing on the area.

Description: When the upper arm bone pops out of the shoulder socket, often due to trauma or a fall.
Symptoms: Intense pain, swelling, inability to move the shoulder, and a visible deformity.

shoulder pain
shoulder pain ice pack

Treating Shoulder Pain

Rest and Activity Modification:
Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain and give your shoulder time to heal. Modify your daily activities to minimize strain on the shoulder.

Ice and Heat Therapy:
Apply ice packs to reduce inflammation and numb the pain for the first 48 hours after injury. After that, use heat packs to relax and loosen tissues and to stimulate blood flow.

Pain Relief Medications:
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage pain and reduce inflammation.

Physical Therapy:
A physiotherapist can design a specific exercise program to strengthen the shoulder muscles, improve flexibility, and restore range of motion. Exercises may include stretching, strengthening, and stabilizing activities.

Corticosteroid Injections:
For more severe pain and inflammation, corticosteroid injections can provide relief by reducing inflammation.

In cases of severe injury such as complete rotator cuff tears, chronic shoulder instability, or persistent pain that does not respond to other treatments, surgical intervention may be necessary.

Preventing Shoulder Pain

Maintain Good Posture:
Practice good posture, especially when sitting at a desk or working on a computer. Keep your back straight and shoulders back.
Regular Exercise:
Engage in regular exercise to keep your shoulder muscles strong and flexible. Focus on exercises that target the rotator cuff and shoulder stabilizers.
Proper Technique:
Use proper technique when lifting heavy objects or engaging in sports to avoid undue stress on your shoulders.
Warm-Up and Cool-Down:
Always warm up before exercising and cool down afterward to prepare your muscles and joints for activity and reduce the risk of injury.
Ergonomic Adjustments:
Adjust your workspace to promote good posture and reduce strain on your shoulders. Ensure your workstation is set up to allow your arms to rest comfortably at your sides.

shoulder pain stretching
shoulder pain physio

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If your shoulder pain persists for more than a few days, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms like swelling, redness, or a visible deformity, it’s important to seek professional help. A healthcare provider can diagnose the underlying cause of your shoulder pain and recommend appropriate treatment.

Shoulder pain can be a debilitating condition, but with proper understanding, prevention, and treatment, you can manage your symptoms and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to our clinic for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan.

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