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Shoulder Pain Causes & Treatments

Shoulder Pain Causes & Treatments

Although the shoulder is the most motile joint, it is also the most unstable joint and therefore subject to frequent and easy injury. The shoulder is stabilized by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Most shoulder problems and pain arise due to the disruption of these soft tissues. 

 

  • Shoulder pain is usually localized around the shoulder (in contrast to the shoulder blade that often has its origin in the neck region).

 

 

  • Treatment of shoulder pain depends on the injury and gravity of the injury. The shoulder joint is prone to frequent dislocation and is referred to as shoulder instability. 
  • Technically, shoulder dislocation is referred to as Luxation and partial dislocation as subluxation. Dislocation of the shoulder is treated by putting the head of the humerus back into the joint socket called the Glenoid Fossa of the scapula by manipulation and reduction (M&R) procedure followed by an X-ray study. The arm is then immobilized in a sling or a shoulder immobilizer device. Severe dislocation injures the surrounding tissues or nerves and is treated by surgery.
  • A shoulder separation occurs when ligaments that hold the Acromioclavicular joint together are partially or completely torn, allowing the outer end of the clavicle to slip out of place. A shoulder separation is usually treated by rest and a sling. However, in case of severe ligament tear, surgical repair is recommended. A severe Sternoclavicular separation is a rare but serious condition when the Sternum is separated from Clavicle at the Sternoclavicular Joint and usually treated by immediate surgery.
  • Tendinitis, Bursitis, Impingement syndrome, and Rotator cuff tears are common shoulder problems. Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. An inflamed bursa results in Bursitis. These conditions are first treated with anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin. Corticosteroids are also sometimes administered into the space under the Acromion. Arthroscopic and orthopedic surgery is done in severe cases.
  • The most commonly affected tendon in Rotator Cuff injury is the Supraspinatus muscle. The degree to which a tendon is treatable depends on the gravity of the injury. The important symptom of rotator cuff injury is difficulty in lifting the arm.
  • A shoulder bone fracture involves complete or partial crack of the clavicle, scapula or humerus. Clavicle fracture is treated with a strap and sling around the chest to keep the clavicle in place. Fracture of the neck of the humerus is usually treated with a sling or shoulder immobilizer.
  • Frozen Shoulder is a condition where the movement of the shoulder is severely restricted. This condition is also technically known as Adhesive Capsulitis and is frequently caused by injury. Progression of Rheumatic disease and shoulder surgery can also cause this condition.
  • Arthritis of the shoulder causes pain and loss of motion and use of the shoulder.  Arthritis of the shoulder at the early stages is managed with mild analgesics and gentle exercises. Purchase a keyboard tray to bring your keyboard to you instead of  you stretching to reach it.
While many shoulder injuries simply cannot be avoided, it is always wise to implement good ergonomic practices.  While sitting at a computer, the goal is to maintain a natural, relaxed sitting position. However, too often computer users unknowingly place their shoulders and entire bodies into awkward positions, leading to soreness and pain. Some of the most common causes include holding shoulders in a raised position; this occurs when a keyboard is too high. Another common position is slouching, which strains muscles throughout the back and neck. Overusing the shoulder, arm, and hand muscles will also cause discomfort and potential injury.