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What is commonly referred to as shoulder, is a combination of different joints which involves various muscles and tendons which allow us to take part in a wide range of motion. Shoulder pain can be classified in a broad spectrum, and even though some people have shoulder pain only, others may experience the pain radiating towards the neck and upper arm.
What are the symptoms of shoulder pain?
The four rotator cuff tendons are the most commonly affected tendons in the shoulder. Besides causing shoulder pain, it may also lead to tendon tears, impingement, and instability.
Impingement occurs when the top portion of the shoulder blade exerts pressure on the soft tissues underneath. As you try to lift the arm, the acromion starts to rub or impinge on the rotator cuff tendons and leads to tendinitis and bursitis. With the passage of time, it may cause rotator cuff tear.
On the other hand, instability of shoulder takes place when the top portion of the upper arm bone is compelled out of the shoulder socket. It may occur from a sudden injury or excessive use. It can be partial or complete in which the entire ball is dislocated.
How can shoulder pain be diagnosed?
The first thing that your doctor may recommend is a plain x-ray since it can detect any narrowing of space in between two spinal bones, tumors, slipped disks, arthritis and similar diseases, narrowing of the spinal canal, instability of spinal column and most importantly, fractures. Other diagnostic tests include mri, electrodiagnostic studies, and ct scanning.
Mri or magnetic resonance imaging is a non-invasive process which can reveal the neural elements along with the problems with ligaments and tendons. Ct scanning is often used as an alternative to mri. Electrodiagnostic studies, as well as nerve conduction velocity, are used for the diagnosis of neck and shoulder pain.
What are the treatments for shoulder pain?
The treatment of shoulder pain from soft tissue includes the use of anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and ibuprofen. Sometimes, doctors also recommend pain relievers like acetaminophen. But the drugs must be administered depending on the source of the pain and antidepressants and muscle relaxers may also be used.
Local application of ice and heat therapy can help in relieving the shoulder pain. Besides, your doctor may also recommend resting the affected area and limiting activities concerning the shoulders. When these treatments are not able to give positive results, then you may need to take corticosteroid injections along with some exercises.
When the spinal cord or nerve roots are involved in causing shoulder pain, surgical procedures can be the last resort. Your doctor can be your best guide in determining which course can be the most suitable in the treatment of shoulder pain.
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