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The shoulder is one of the most important joints in the body that uses a ball and socket to join the arm to the rest of the body. Any pain can make it difficult to carry out motion in a comfortable manner. The shoulder consists of the long arm bone called the humerus, the collarbone or the clavicle, as well as the shoulder blade called the scapula. A layer of cartilage provides essential padding to the bones in this area and its two main joints. There are a number of issues that can cause shoulder pain.
Let us get to know the six most common ones.
- Rotator Cuff Injury: This is the most common cause of shoulder pain and it occurs when the four muscles or the tendons are injured. These muscles and tendons usually control the movement of the arm. This injury can involve strains and tears which may also be caused by constant lifting of heavy objects.
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis: This condition affects the tendons and muscles that help in moving the arm freely. This usually happens due to inflammation in the tendons. It is commonly experienced by patients who are actively involved in sports and other heavy physical pursuits in their line of work.
- Frozen Shoulder: This is a debilitating condition that restricts the free movement of the arm and is also known as adhesive capsulitis. When the shoulder tissues become too thick, it leads to the growth of scar tissue that hinders proper movement and causes pain.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a condition that comes as part of aging bones that also become hollow and brittle over the passage of time, which leads to joint and bone pains in various parts of the body. It is a degenerative disease that is caused due to prolonged wear and tear as well as other factors including family history and sports injury.
- Bursitis: This condition is known to affect the fluid-filled sacs that lie in between the joints. These are known as bursae. When the bursae suffers from swelling, the effect usually shows up as pain in the joints.
- Tendon Sheath Inflammation: The fibrous tissue that connects the bones and the muscles is called a tendon. The presence of the tendon makes it possible to pursue activities like running, jumping, lifting, gripping and more. It is protected by a sheath known as synovium, which also lubricates the same. Any injury or tear to this sheath can cause shoulder pain.
Acute and persistent pain that does not abate and gets even worse should be treated with immediate medical intervention. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an orthopedist.
Treatment may Include the following:
1. Shoulder exercises: Regular, gentle exercise can help to keep the shoulder joint mobile. If your shoulder is very stiff, exercise may hurt, and it should only be carried out with the guidance of your doctor or physiotherapist. If you are able to, continue using your shoulder as normal saving' the shoulder can cause the muscle to waste and may make stiffness worse.
2. Painkillers: Over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or prescription-only drugs such as codeine may be taken to ease pain and you should discuss this with your general physician or pharmacist.
3. Anti-inflammatory painkillers: Such as ibuprofen and diclofenac, are often prescribed to ease pain and inflammation. Any medication that you take should be discussed with your general physician or pharmacist.
4. Steroid injections into or near the shoulder joint may be effective at relieving pain and inflammation for a few weeks. However, injections are not a cure, and symptoms may return.