Every time a person moves their head, uses their hands, lifts their arm, or rotates their body, they are most likely using their shoulders. The shoulders support a lot of other functions in the body. They are a vital body part and when the shoulders experience pain, it is difficult for a person to operate normally. Everyday life functions become extremely difficult and are much more frustrating. It is important to understand why you are suffering from shoulder pain and what can be done to treat many of the conditions that are common. In the process, the symptoms of shoulder pain will be relieved. Read on for the basics of shoulder pain causes and treatments.
Where It Starts And What It Feels Like
With pain in the shoulder, you can have trouble doing a lot of basic tasks. Even brushing teeth and getting dressed can become difficult if the pain is too bad or the shoulder is difficult to move because of discomfort and stiffness. Shoulder pain can be in one or both shoulders, and in the muscles, the joint, or both.
It can also be sharp and stabbing, dull and achy, or a grating type of pain when the shoulder is moved or rotated. It can be frustrating for someone with this type of pain, too, because he might not know what caused it and that makes it harder to treat.
List Of Common Causes And Conditions of Shoulder Pain
There are all kinds of causes of shoulder pain. Some people even associate pain in the shoulder, neck, arm, and/or jaw with a potential heart attack. However, most of the shoulder pain that people feel is relatively benign and it's something that can be handled at home or with the care of a doctor who specializes in sports injuries and other types of shoulder problems. These are some of the more common causes for pain in the shoulder:
• Arthritis – because arthritis can get into any joint – or, theoretically, all of them – it's quite possible to find it in the shoulder. It can cause pain and stiffness, and make things very uncomfortable. While not dangerous, certain types of it can get worse over time. When that happens it can become a very serious and debilitating situation, so it's much better to have it treated properly and quickly.
• Rotator Cuff Damage – the rotator cuff is the ball and socket joint of the shoulder itself. It the tendon there is damaged or torn, the shoulder can be very painful. It can also be difficult to move, make popping or clicking noises, or become very difficult to raise the arm over the head.
• A sports injury – injuries to the shoulder can be very common, especially in people who play sports. Not all injuries to the shoulder damage the rotator cuff. Some of them simply aggravate the other muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder and help it to move. Straining or overworking these other muscles and connectors can make the shoulder sore.
• Frozen shoulder – this is also known as adhesive capsuliitis. It is a condition that leads to stiffness of the joint. It is vital that individuals utilize physical therapy and stretch their joints to treat this shoulder pain problem.
• Calcific Tendonitis – this occurs when calcium deposits happen within the tendon, usually the rotator cuff tendons.
• Shoulder instability – this occurs because of a loose joint. It might occur because of dislocation from an injury.
• Dislocation – this occurs when the top of the arm bone is disconnected from the scapula.
• Shoulder separation – this is also called AC separation. This type of injury results in injury of the acromioclavicular joint.
• Labral Tear – there are several patterns of a torn labrum all of which cause shoulder pain.
• SLAP Lesion – this is a type of labral tear usually caused when someone falls onto an outstretched hand.
• Arthritis – some people with arthritis may require joint replacement surgery in their shoulders.
• Biceps Tendon Rupture – a proximal biceps tendon rupture happens when the bicep ruptures near the joint of the shoulder
List Of Common Treatment Options
Treating the cause of shoulder pain can require anything from rest to surgery, depending on how severe the injury is. However, there are some common treatments for shoulder pain.
• Medications – over-the-counter and prescription medications work very well for pain when you have arthritis in the shoulder or when there's been a sports injury. They can also work for rotator cuff injuries that are not overly severe.
• Rest – it's common to rest the shoulder if it's been injured, although that can be hard to do because people use their arms and hands so much in daily life. It's also common to use heat and ice in an alternating pattern in order to help reduce swelling and pain when a shoulder injury occurs. Pain that gets worse or doesn't go away should be a sign to consult a doctor.
• Physical therapy is obviously a great option. It will definitely aid in the recovery for patients that are suffering from shoulder pain. It is common for many people to go to a physical therapist for help with their shoulder pain.
In addition, there are other treatment options that many individuals may prefer. These treatment options are more natural and many people feel that they actually help treat the pain that is common in the shoulders. Individuals that try these holistic approaches often experience positive results.
• Acupuncture is very popular among individuals that struggle with shoulder pain. Statistics indicate that patients that suffer from shoulder pain often have positive results when they try acupuncture. It can be extremely effective for treating pain in the neck area and the side effects are minimal.
• Chiropractors are also very beneficial in fighting shoulder pain. They can help individuals that are struggling with problems in their spine that lead to neck pain.
• Capsaicin cream is a great herbal remedy. It is the ingredient that makes chili peppers so hot. Ironically it can also relieve pain. This temporarily natural remedy is great for shoulder pain.
• Devil’s claw is a natural remedy that comes from South Africa. People have used it to treat fevers, arthritis, and gastrointestinal problems. However, today people treat it for inflammation problems that cause their pain.
• White Willow Bark is another great herb. It actually led to the development of aspirin. It is very helpful in reducing inflammation.
• Massages are also great. A lot of shoulder pain is a result of stress. Therefore, a massage will reduce the stress and help relieve tension in the next area.
• Yoga and pilates are also great options to increase strength in the body and promote a better posture. This in effect helps minimize shoulder pain. However, any activities that place too much stress on the shoulders should be avoided.
When To See The Doctor for Shoulder Pain
Given the wide variety of shoulder injuries and shoulder pain, there are certain circumstances where individuals should call a doctor sooner than later. It is important to use good judgment and evaluate each situation. However, here are some guidelines to help.
• Call the doctor if shoulder pain makes carrying an object impossible or takes away the use of the arm.
• Call the doctor if the shoulder injury causes deformity to the shoulder joint.
• Call the doctor if shoulder pain increases during the nighttime or while resting.
• Call the doctor if shoulder pain does not get better after a few days.
• Call the doctor if the arm will not raise.
• Call the doctor if there is swelling or significant bruising around the joint or arm.
• Call the doctor if there are signs of infection, such as fever, redness, and/or warmth.
• Call the doctor if there are any unusual shoulder pains associated with the shoulder pain.
Managing Shoulder Pain
Managing the pain is an important part of the entire process. Not all aspects of shoulder pain are easy to cope with so it is important that you avoid activities that will cause your shoulders to hurt. In addition, make sure you are relieving your shoulder pain as much as possible. Take medications for the pain. Use heat to relieve the pain. Whatever is necessary should be done to help recover from this persistent problem.
Lastly, listen to the advice of the doctor. Healing from a shoulder injury will take time. It will only take longer if you complicate the process by not heeding your doctor's advice. He or she will be the best source for pain management. If help is needed from others, ask for it. You may struggle to do normal activities because of your pain. Seek help from others to prevent injury and relieve the stress in the shoulder.
I regularly add more detailed strategies I use to combat living with pain. Managing pain is more than one page of advice. I hope my strategies for managing my pain will help you too.